Sunday, November 29, 2009

African Openbill breeding colonies

An aerial survey of the wetlands of the Caprivi region (lower section of the Okavango River in Namibia, and the Kwando-Linyanti-Chobe-Zambezi system in Namibia) in September this year revealed approximately 2,000 nesting African Openbills in Lake Liambezi and a nesting site of about 2,500 African Openbills on the Chobe/Zambezi floodplains.

In 2009, the Zambezi River reached its highest level since 1969, inundating most of eastern Caprivi. More than 55,000 people were displaced and 100 people lost their lives. For the first time in 30 years the Okavango Delta is connected to the Kwando-Linyanti and Chobe-Zambezi rivers via the Selinda Spillway. The Savuti River is flowing for the first time since 1983. In early October the water was 8 km east of the Chobe National Park cut-line (the water was ~20 km from reaching the Savuti Marsh).

Chris Brown, Executive Director, Namibia Nature Foundation (NNF)

This observation is of interest since Lake Liambezi is on the border with Botswana, and also because these are probably the largest breeding colonies for this species in Southern Africa (they exceed the largest site in the Okavango Delta, even though they may only be temporary nesting sites). Pete Hancock, BirdLife Botswana

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