Chitabe – Leopard, Roller, Kingfisher, Hornbill, Jacana, Goose, Ostrich
The morning before my arrival my guide had witnessed a leopard killing an impala and been able to film the kill but not the chase. Leopards kill their prey after catching it by suffocation holding its nose and mouth in their own mouth. This prevents any smell of blood giving them away to lions or hyaenas which would take the prey, which is normally then hauled up a tree for safekeeping. However in this case the male impala was apparently too heavy for the small female leopard and she just hid it in thick bushes. Knowing where it was the guide had no difficulty in finding it again in the afternoon when I was with him. When not actually eating the leopard remained on the ground nearby.
Birds are plentiful, the most impressive being the saddle-bill stork and the most colourful the lilac-breasted roller and the blue kingfisher. The red-billed hornbill, glossy starling, African jacana, spur-wing goose, Egyptian goose and francolin were all quite common. The jacanas, often called “lily trotters”, are a small group of strange rail-like birds of tropical marshes characterized by absurdly long, fine toes, which allow them to walk on top of floating vegetation. Ostrich were seen again, this time with larger chicks.