Robert Henderson's picture

Palm Nut 2

We found this beautiful Palm Nut Vulture during a very rainy visit to the Nyerere National Park (formerly the Selous Game Reserve) in Tanzania in November, 2023. They prefer feeding on the fleshy fruits (nuts) of the Raffia Palms that form dense stands along the river courses in the park, but they are happy to feed on mollusks, fish and arthropods as well.

Our visit coincided with the first heavy rains at the end of the dry season. The muddy ground was literally covered with catfish that had just emerged from the underground chambers where they remain buried during the dry months. It was a feeding frenzy for the vultures, storks and fish eagles in the area as the catfish slithered their way to deeper water. The vultures were hopping along the ground after the catfish The raptors were so full of fish they could barely fly.

Fortunately, in spite of the heavy rain, there were breaks between the squalls when the light was perfect for capturing images against the dark palm forest background. We followed this particular vulture for over an hour before it finally hopped onto a fallen palm trunk where it was positioned perfectly for the photograph.

A special thanks is due to Asilia Roho ya Selous Guide Goodluck, whose amazing driving skills as a "mudder" got us through the muddy tracks that were more like rivers than roads.

I took the image with a Canon EOS R6 with a Canon 200-400 F4L IS USM 1.4 EXT lens, f5.6, 1/1600 sec, 560 mm, handheld.

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1 Comment

Good portrait
Mi like