CREATURE FEATURE: Saddle-billed Stork

The Saddle-Billed Stork (Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis) is the largest African stork, with a height of 1.8 metres (six feet) and a wingspan of 2.7 metres (9 feet).

It has striking colours with an iridescent black head, neck, back, wings, and tail. The rest of the body and primary flight feathers are white.

The long beak (bill) is red with a black band and a yellow shield, which is called the saddle (like a horse saddle). They have black legs and feet with pink knees.

Males have black eyes and females have yellow eyes.

Continue reading “CREATURE FEATURE: Saddle-billed Stork”

Dalmatian Linckia Starfish

The Dalmatian Linckia (Linckia multifora) is a starfish, a marine invertebrate, because it has no backbone. It is also called the Spotted Linckia or Multicolour Sea Star.

The starfish is an echinoderm (meaning prickly skin) in the Asteroidea class (meaning star-shaped).

It has five elongated tube limbs (feet or arms) pink or reddish mottled with white and yellow colours that taper slightly towards the tips.

The surface has a rough texture and is covered in granulations.

Continue reading “Dalmatian Linckia Starfish”

Black-Capped Capuchin

The Black-Capped Capuchin (Sapajus apella) is an arboreal (tree) primate, that is also called the Tufted Capuchin. It is from the rainforests of South America. It was previously classified as Cebus apella, but it was changed in 2011.

It has dark brown-grey, rough fur, and a long thick tail. It has black hands and feet.

The cap or tuft is a bunch of hair on its forehead that looks like a wig or a hat.

Continue reading “Black-Capped Capuchin”

Extant and Extinct


What is the difference between extant and extinct?

Extant means still surviving, alive, still in existence, existing.

Extinct means no longer in existence, inactive, old, former, dead.


Similarities and differences between kangaroos and wallabies

There are many similarities and differences between kangaroos and wallabies. Wallabies are not just short kangaroos.

There are similarities, such as their fur, their pouch for babies, and their big feet.

There are differences, such as the size of their legs, and their teeth.

Below is a table that shows the similarities and differences between kangaroos and wallabies.

Continue reading “Similarities and differences between kangaroos and wallabies”

Eastern Grey Kangaroo

The Eastern Grey Kangaroo (Macropus giganteus) is a marsupial mammal found in southern and eastern Australia. Macropus means big feet.

It is about 2 metres (6.6 feet) tall, and is not as tall as the Red Kangaroo. It is the second largest and heaviest living marsupial and native land mammal in Australia.

The Eastern Grey Kangaroo has soft grey fur with a lighter coloured stomach. They have muscular long tails, strong back legs, large feet, short fur and long, pointed ears. Like all marsupials, females have pouches that contain mammary glands, where their young joey lives.

Continue reading “Eastern Grey Kangaroo”

Why do some animals have wet noses?

Dogs have a lot more nerve cells in their nasal (nose) cavities (their nostrils) than humans do. Dogs also have and a wider variety of receptors that attract odour molecules.

A research team led by Brent Craven of Pennsylvania State University in University Park in 2008 has shown that dogs can sort smells into categories before the information gets to their brains. The brain then identifies the smell.

Continue reading “Why do some animals have wet noses?”

What are ungulates?

Ungulates are large hoofed mammals. Terrestrial (land) ungulates include the horse, donkey, rhinoceros, hippopotamus, cow, pig, giraffe, llama, alpaca, tapir, camel, goat, deer, yak, etc.

Ungulate means ‘being hoofed.’ The foot of an ungulate has a hard or rubbery sole, and a hard nail, which contains keratin.

Hooves grow continuously even when broken or damaged – the same as human toe nails, finger nails and hair, which are also made of keratin.

Hooves can be odd-toed or even-toed – i.e. one, two, three, or four toes.


Photographer: Martina Nicolls


Continue reading “What are ungulates?”

Sika deer

The Sika Deer (Cervus nippon) is also known as the Spotted Deer or Japanese Deer. It is common in woodlands in Japan and eastern Asia.

The Silka Deer is a medium-sized herbivore. It grazes on grass. It can grow to 50-110 centimetres (20-43 inches) tall at the shoulder.

It has mahogany to black fur. The colour becomes darker in winter. The Sika Deer is one of the few deer species that does not lose its spots when it reaches maturity.

Sika stags (males) have upright antlers. Females carry a pair of distinctive black bumps on the forehead. Antlers can range from 28-45 centimetres (11-18 inches) to more than 80 centimetres (30 inches), depending on the subspecies.

Continue reading “Sika deer”

What is a syrinx?

What is a syrinx?

The syrinx is a bird’s vocal organ. The syrinx helps birds to produce sounds, such as cheeps, whistles, caws, tweets, trills, and many other bird calls.

All birds have a syrinx, except emus, ostriches, storks, and vultures.

Birds without a syrinx do not make a sound with their throat.

Oxpeckers and their symbiotic relationships

Oxpeckers have a symbiotic relationship with oxen, antelopes, zebras, hippos, rhinos, giraffes, and many ungulates (hoofed-aimals) in Africa.

Oxpeckers are birds that feed on ticks that live on the body of animals. Sometimes they are called tickbirds. The ticks live near the animal’s ears, neck, eyelids, forehead and underbelly. Oxpeckers also feed on the earwax and dandruff of animals.

Continue reading “Oxpeckers and their symbiotic relationships”

Common Impala

The Common Impala (Aepyceros melampus) is a medium-sized antelope with shiny brown fur from eastern and southern Africa. In Afrikaans, it is known as rooibok or redbuck.

Aepyceros means high horn, and melampus means black foot. Male impala have long horns, about 45-92 centimetres (18-36 inches) long.

They have white rings around their eyes and a light chin and nose. Their ears are tipped with black fur. Black streaks run from the rear to the upper hindlegs. They have bushy white tails that are about 30 centimetres (12 inches) long.

Continue reading “Common Impala”

Superb Fairy-Wren

The Superb Fairy-Wren (Malurus cyaneus), is also known as the blue wren. It is a passerine bird, native to southeastern Australia.

When the male is ready to mate, it has a bright iridescent blue forehead, ear feathers, neck feathers and tail, with a black mask and black or dark blue throat. Non-breeding males, females and young birds are grey-brown in colour.

When an animal’s colour changes for breeding, it is called dimorphism.

Continue reading “Superb Fairy-Wren”