Ongava Research Centre Blog...

2014 - Week 30
- (Added 27. Jul. 2014 - 11:00)

One of our endemic bird species is the Bare-cheeked Babbler Turdoides gymnogenys. These birds are about the size of a thrush and move around in small groups. Often these birds can be heard before they are seen, hence ‘babblers’! They make distinctive harsh contact calls as they move around foraging for insects. Roberts Birds VII notes that their nests (usually in Terminalia trees in this area) can be parasitised by Levaillant’s Cuckoo.

2014 - Week 29
- (Added 20. Jul. 2014 - 11:00)

Agamas are a family of lizards that have squat bodies and a characteristic triangular shaped head. On Ongava we have a species of agama that is endemic to Namibia – the Etosha Agama Agama etoshae. Growing up to about 70mm long (in reptiles this maximum measurement usually refers to the snout-to-vent length and does not include the tail – perhaps since many reptiles can discard theirs!), A. etoshae eats small insects, hunting mostly in the mornings and evenings. They can be difficult to capture, so if you see a herpetologist with a long fishing pole sitting in the middle of the desert, he may well be trying to slip a nylon noose over the head of an agama so he can get a closer look…

2014 - Week 28
- (Added 13. Jul. 2014 - 11:00)

The Damara Dik-dik Madoqua damarensis is the smallest ‘buck’ to be found on Ongava. A member of the Bovidae (buffalos and antelopes) family, dik-diks are only about 50cm tall and weight up to a maximum of 6kg. This is a female, since only the males have horns, and all dik-diks have an extended nose that is thought to both help with heat-regulation and also food detection. You can see a small secretion from the inside corner of the eye (pre-orbital gland) - this sticky substance is probably used as part of its territorial scent-marking. At present, the IUCN retains the traditional clumping of all dik-diks as a single species Madoqua kirkii (they also are found in East Africa), but more recent genetic evidence suggests that at least the damarensis sub-species might be sufficiently different to warrant raising to species status. M. damarensis is only found in Namibia and Angola, so is a ‘near-endemic’ for us here on Ongava.

2014 - Week 27
- (Added 6. Jul. 2014 - 11:00)

This young lion cub looks rather grumpy, but in fact he managed to get that disheveled coat during feeding on a recent kudu kill! This would have been one of the first kills that this cub and his 4 other siblings were taken to by their mother. It appears that he did not need any encouragement to get involved….

2014 - Week 26
- (Added 29. Jun. 2014 - 11:00)

Nope, not some strange alien about to shift our camera traps to another dimension… just some unfortunate having to service the trap at about 2am. The image was taken after an evening of watching the waterhole – this gives you an idea of how cold it can get sitting in a hide for several hours in mid-winter!

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