When the mighty Zambezi River overflows its banks, additional habitats with an abundant food supply are created for many bird species. Young fish thrive in the shallow warm water and countless insect larvae are also found there. For African Skimmers, however, an important habitat is lost: the white sandbanks disappear under the masses of water and with them the sleeping and resting places as well as the nesting sites.

The total population of this bird species in Africa is estimated to be around 10000. In Namibia, this inter-African migrant is found only in the northern parts of the Kavango regions and in the Zambezi Region. African Skimmers are threatened with extinction in southern Africa. Thus it is all the more pleasing to discover nests with eggs, chicks and juveniles in the vicinity of Zambezi Mubala Lodge and Zambezi Mubala Camp. After the level of the Zambezi River dropped by several metres during the last months, many white sandbanks reappeared along the main stream and around the islands.

African Skimmers
This chick lies well-camouflaged in the hoof print of a cow. The fledgling birds dig a little depression for themselves and seek shelter there when they are threatened. Pressed flat to the ground they stay put motionless until their parents sound the all-clear.

For more information please have a look at Gondwana Collection Namibia

Author: Dirk Heinrich

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