CREATURE FEATURE: Serval

The Serval (Leptailurus serval) is a slender, medium-sized wild cat found in southern Africa, similar to a cheetah but much smaller. The Serval can grow to 54–62 centimetres (21–24 inches) tall.

The Serval has golden-yellow fur that has black spots and black stripes. It has a small head, large ears, elongated toes, and a short 30 centimetre (12 inch) long black-tipped tail. It has brown or green eyes, white whiskers, white chin, and white under-belly. Three to four black stripes run from the back of the head onto the shoulders, which become rows of spots.

The Serval has the longest legs of any cat, in comparison with its body size. This may be to allow the Serval cat to walk above muddy ground. Like a domestic cat, it is very flexible and can change direction in mid-air as it leaps.

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Bustards: Black-Bellied and White-Bellied

What is the difference between African Bustards – the Black-Bellied Bustard and the White-Bellied Bustard? The main differences are below:

The White-Bellied Bustard (Eupoditis senegalensis) and the Black-Bellied Bustard are both African bustards, widespread in Sub-Saharan Africa in grasslands and open woodlands.

The White-Bellied Bustard is smaller than the Black-Bellied Bustard. The White-Bellied Bustard is about 48-61 centimetres (19-24 inches) long. The Black-Bellied Bustard is about 58-65 centimetres (23-26 inches) long.

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Uganda Kob

The Uganda Kob (Kobus kob thomasi) is a subspecies of the kob, which is an antelope. It is found in Uganda, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Ethiopia.

The Uganda Kob has soft reddish-orange fur with a white underbelly, throat, and facial patches. It is a strong antelope with a muscular neck. It has black markings on its legs. It can grow to 100-114 centimetres (40-45 inches) tall.

Only males have horns, which are twisted from the forehead. The horns can be 40-70 centimetres (16-27 inches) long.

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Common Carp

The Common Carp or European Carp (Cyprinus carpio) is a widespread freshwater fish in lakes and rivers, native to Europe and Asia. It has been introduced to many other countries and is regarded as an invasive species.

The Common Carp has bronze or yellowish scales with serrated dorsal and anal fin spines.

Common Carp can grow to very large sizes with adequate space and nutrients. However, the average size of the Common Carp is around 40–80 centimetres (16-32 inches) long.

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Southern Ground Hornbill

The Southern Ground Hornbill (Bucorvus cafer) is a large bird with a heavy curved beak found in southern Africa, especially in central Kenya, Botswana, and South Africa.

The Southern Ground Hornbill has dull black feathers, a small rounded casque (bony growth) on its head, bright red skin around its eyes, and a pouch under its chin. It has long eyelashes.

It can grow to about one metre (44 inches) tall. It has short legs and long tails.

Its voice sounds like a lion’s roar.

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Laughing Dove

The Laughing Dove (Spilopelia senegalensis) is a common, small, long-tailed pigeon from Africa, the Middle East, and South-East Asia. It is also called the Palm Dove or the Senegal Dove. In India it is called the Little Brown Dove.

The Laughing Dove has a speckled chest with pink-brown feathers on the underside, a lilac head and neck, and a black beak. There is a blue-grey band along the wing, but its feathers are mainly pink-brown. Its tail has white tips. They have pink-red legs.

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African Marabou Stork

The African Marabou Stork (Leptoptilos crumeniferus) – often just called the Marabou – is large with distinct features and is found in sub-Saharan Africa.

Its feathers are grey and white. Its soft, white tail feathers are known as marabou. It has a pink bald head and neck like a vulture with red spots and a long reddish-coloured pouch hanging from its neck, called a wattle. It has a conical bill. It has long black legs.

It grows to 1.5 metres (5 feet) tall with a wingspan of 2.6 metres (8.5 feet). In flight, it soars, but when it is on the ground it walks in a hunched manner. It is often called The Undertaker bird.

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CREATURE FEATURE: Gerenuk

The Gerenuk (Litocranius walleri) is an African long-necked gazelle from the antelope family, which is also called Waller’s Gazelle.

Gerenuk means giraffe-necked in Somali. Its neck is not as long as a giraffe’s neck but it is longer than a gazelle’s neck. Its neck is about 60-70 centimetres (23-28 inches) long. It also has very thin legs.

The Gerenuk is 80-105 centimetres (31-41 inches) tall with glossy two-tone fur in buff and reddish colours. Its tail, throat, chin, eye rings, and lips are white. Its head is long and narrow with very large ears.

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Unstriped Ground Squirrel

The Unstriped Ground Squirrel (Xerus rutilus) is a rodent of the Sciuridae family.

It is from eastern Africa, in countries such as Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Sudan, Somalia, Djibouti, Tanzania, Uganda, and Eritrea. It lives in hot dry shrublands. It is diurnal, so it is active during the day.

It is brown and furry with a white stomach and a bushy tail with black and white fur. There is a white line around their eyes. It has big white feet, with five toes. It has small triangular ears and a brown nose.

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Northern Yellow-Billed Duck

The Northern Yellow-Billed Duck (Anas undulata rueppelli) is a residential (non-migratory) duck of southern and eastern Africa, from Ethiopia and Sudan to Kenya, Tanzania, and South Africa.

The Northern Yellow-Billed Duck is mainly grey with a dark-coloured head and bright yellow bill (beak). Its wings are white with some green. The Northern Yellow-Billed Duck is darker than the Southern Yellow-Billed Duck (Anas undulata undulata), with a brighter yellow beak.

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CREATURE FEATURE: Secretary Bird

The Secretary Bird (Sagittarius serpentarius) is an African bird of prey, a raptor. It is the only bird of prey that is terrestrial (it hunts for food while walking on land, rather than swooping on their prey).

The Secretary Bird has long-legs, with a slender but powerful body that looks like an eagle with an eagle-like head. It measures 1.2 metres (3.9 feet) long with a 2 metre (7 feet) wingspan. It is longer and taller than other raptors.

The Secretary Bird has 20 black crest feathers that look like quill pens behind its ears. It has a light grey body, black thighs and flight feathers, and white wing linings. Its tail has a pair of long central streamers. Its legs have thick scales to protect the bird from snakebite.

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Schmalkalden Moorhead Pigeon

The Schmalkalden Moorhead (Columba livia) is a breed of fancy pigeon. This is called selective breeding in order to develop specific characteristics. It is a domestic pigeon from Germany.

The Schmalkalden Moorhead has an arched brown head, dark eyes, and a long neck with ruffled neck feathers. The white feathers are bent forward and cover the neck so that the pigeon looks as if it has a mane.

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Cattle Egret

The Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis) is a type of heron, rather than a true egret in the genus Egretta. It is native to Asia, Africa, and Europe. It is related to ibis. The term bubulcus means herdsmen (cattle men).

It is a white bird with orange-buff feathers and red legs and beak when it is breeding. When it is not breeding it is white with a yellow beak and grey legs. It is stocky with a short neck, so that it looks hunched. It has a height of 46-56 centimetres (18-22 inches) and a wingspan of 88-96 centimetres (35-38 inches).

It likes to be near cattle and other large mammals, such as buffalo, to catch insects that live near the cattle. The cattle egret removes ticks and fleas from cattle.

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