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Gannets illustration

Seen from the Shore

During the first few months of this year, I spent quite a bit of time observing shorebirds along our little part of the coastline in

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Toco toucan illustration

Toucan Time

I was well into my forties before I got to see a wild toucan, but this first encounter wasn’t quite the thrilling ‘seek-pursue-and-find’ moment that quickens the

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Tanagers illustration

Tantalizing Tanagers

Paradise Tanagers (Tangara chilensis), Lower Manu Road, Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge, Peru. May, 2004. “To stand in bright morning sunshine before a tree laden with ripening berries

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Fiery-necked Nightjar illustration

Moon Music

Fiery-necked Nightjar Caprimulgus pectoralis, Vermont, S.W. Cape, South Africa. Of all birds, the nightjars are perhaps the least noticed. Being both nocturnal and cryptically plumaged,

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Owl illustration

Ginger Giant

Like butter in a hot pan, the mokoro slides effortlessly out from the inlet onto the still, coppery-bronze surface of the Okavango floodplain. The prow

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Brown-throated wattle eye illustration

Ladies First

The Brown-throated Wattle-eye (Platysteira cyanea) is a delightful warbler-sized bird of closed-canopy forest. More often than not, its clear, descending whistle call – or grating alarm notes – are heard before the bird

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White-fronted plover illustration

Beach Runners

Like other plovers, the White-fronted Plover (Charadrius marginatus) does not build a nest but lays its camouflaged eggs directly into a shallow scrape – above the high-tide

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White-tailed shrike illustration

Ground Batis

More often than not, the longer a quest takes, the more satisfying it is. I had seen the strange and monotypic Lanioturdus torquatus (aka ‘White-tailed Shrike’) once

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Alpine swift illustration

Alpine Airshow

Swifts are among the most overlooked of birds, as they tend to fly fairly high above the ground (typically much higher than swallows) and they

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Damara rock jumper illustration
warblers (Macrosphenidae)

Damara Rockrunner

I’d seen a Rockrunner before somewhere in Namibia, in the distance or in a blur – or both. I guess it might have been at

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Sunbird illustration

Sunbird Songpost

A rapid, scratchy whistle pierces the crisp morning air and I look outside to see him back on his favoured perch. This glorious male Malachite

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Resplendent Quetzal illustration

Resplendent Quetzal

There are many reasons to visit Costa Rica but seeing the largest member of the trogon family is high on the list. Sparkling in shades

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White-fronted plover illustration

Beach Patrol

Walk along any beach in Africa and – sooner or later – you’ll see a small, pale plover hurrying away from you. Typically, there will

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Trogon illustration

Kilmorna King

The temperate, evergreen forests of South Africa are home to a community of trees, plants, birds and other wildlife which occur in pockets from the

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Crowned eagle

Helmet Strike

African Crowned Eagle (Stephanoaetus coronatus) being mobbed by White-crested Helmet-Shrikes (Prionops plumatus), Southern Cross Estate, Nelspruit, South Africa While driving through the savanna landscape of

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Golden-Tailed Woodpecker illustration

Still Life (with woodpecker)

Deceased Golden-tailed Woodpecker (Campethera abingoni) – female – visited by Banded Blowfly (Chrysomya albiceps). October, 2013. As a birdwatcher, one inevitably comes across a dead

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Crimson rosella

Parrot Land

Twenty years ago to the day – 15 September 1993 – and I have left Africa for the first time (since arriving as a 13

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Heart spotted woodpeckers illustration

Heart Spotted

Heart-spotted Woodpeckers (Hemicircus canente), Khao Yai NP, Thailand © Duncan Butchart, 2013 Thailand is home to 35 species of woodpecker (more than any other country

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Lemon dove sitting on the grass

The Dove and the Parasol Tree

Lemon Dove (Aplopelia larvata), Turaco Wood, Nelspruit, South Africa  © Duncan Butchart, 2013. About 16 years ago, I planted a little Parasol Tree (Polyscias fulva)

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Grey hooded kingfisher illustration

Forever Young

Grey-hooded Kingfisher (Halcyon leucocephala). Kichwa Tembo, Maasai Mara, Kenya. © Duncan Butchart, 2012 Much has been written about why people watch birds. It all began

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