A pretty ugly fight

9 03 2012

Often when you are on safari, you are looking for something specific, but more often than not, its what you are not looking for that is the most exciting!
I had headed out on a typical afternoon safari, thinking I was ready for what the wilds had to throw at me, when, literally 5 minutes into the drive, a clacking ball of turquoise and lilac came falling down in front of me!

It took a few split seconds to realize what was going on, but naturally, my hands had gone for the camera and started lifting it to my eye. When I had worked it all out, I was snapping away like a mad man at arguably two of the most beautiful birds, two male Lilac Breasted Rollers, doing their level best to destroy each other/impress the female. The lucky lady had casually taken up a ringside seat, and was shouting encouragement to the contenders. The two birds, now in full battle mode, ignored me completely and were using every trick in the book to overcome their rival.

The entire fight lasted only a few seconds, and both birds flew away from the fight with most of their striking feathers intact. There was a clear winner though, as one of the birds returned after seeing off his defeated competitor and perched right next to the now silent female.

It was hard to fully understand the impacts sustained by the birds during the fight, as the camera’s shutter was working overtime, but when I got back to camp and went through it all, I was amazed by the brutality of it all. It did lead to some interesting images, which always puts a smile on my face.

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