Curious Crowned Hornbills

As the winter approaches and the aloes start to flower, a walk through the botanical gardens is bound to deliver a feast for the eyes.

It was a quiet weekday morning in the Lowveld National Botanical Gardens in Nelspruit. I knew that foot traffic along the pathways would be minimal so I set myself up near a clump of flowering aloes. I could hear a chorus of birds chirping away in the nearby trees. It was simply a matter of minutes before the sunbirds would visit this section.

As I’ve learned many times before, patience is the key. Soon enough I heard the chirps of a White-bellied Sunbird heading my way.

I caught some quick glimpses of the larger Amethyst and Scarlet Chested Sunbirds flying around too. One of the females perched on some plants nearby and posed for a brief moment.

Suddenly, an array of nasal whistles broke the silence nearby. I had heard this call before, but I had to look around to confirm which bird it was. To my surprise three Crowned Hornbills flew in and perched in a tree above me. I certainly was not expecting them and had no idea that they even frequented the gardens.

These comical birds seemed as curious with my presence as I was with theirs. They hopped between the branches, looked for a bite to eat and then moved on to another. I was in awe with how close they moved around me. I sat still and enjoyed this special sighting and soon enough they flew off towards the Crocodile River.

6 Comments on “Curious Crowned Hornbills

  1. Radiant photography, as we have learned to expect from you. Glad that you are back and pleasing us with another super blog. You did try the patience of your followers a bit 😁 Thank you for this blog, it certainly shows your love for birds.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. These are beautiful photographs and you give a timely reminder about the need for patience. Now, if the sunbirds visiting our aloes would just wait for me to fetch my camera … I have ‘caught’ a few on my cell phone though 🙂 We should be receiving a visit from Crowned Hornbills before long: they seem to sweep through this area of the Eastern Cape during the winter. I feel privileged when they come to the garden.

    Liked by 1 person

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