The last laugh

It’s no laughing matter when you find yourself in the clutches of one of nature’s wisest predators.

I see many guests out on safari and a lot of them dream about witnessing a kill. I was lucky enough to witness such an occasion.

Spending enough time out in the bush will trigger an appreciation for the smaller creatures and often overlooked sightings. The kill I refer to is not by one of the sought after big cats or canine species. What I witnessed was a kill from one of the nocturnal species operating opportunistically during the day.

I took a drive along a very scenic river line. As I cleared a thicket along the winding river bend, something struck my eye. Positioned in a large Jackalberry tree I saw an owl. A Verreaux’s Eagle Owl at that. This is South Africa’s largest owl species. Besides its grand stature, it is easily recognizable by its pink eyelids.

I not only saw one owl, but two. I marveled at the sighting before I saw what the one owl was up to. In its claws lay a lifeless Laughing Dove. It had fallen victim to this highly skillful hunter.

Verraux's Eagle Owl-1.jpgVerraux's Eagle Owl-2.jpg

The magnificent owl proceeded to pluck the feathers from its soon to be meal.  I had positioned myself a fair distance away as to not disturb the bird whilst feeding. I watched how it used its talons and beak with precision, dissecting its meal carefully and devouring the flesh.

Verraux's Eagle Owl-4

Once the owl had its fair share of this little laughing dove it picked up the carcass and flew off deeper into the shaded tree. It presented its mate with a little gift.

Verraux's Eagle Owl-5.jpg

4 Comments on “The last laugh

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