Hundred of thousands, sometimes millions of tiny red-billed queleas fly together in flocks creating clouds of movement called murmurations. How do they do it? How do they not bump into each other? How do they know where the bird next to them is going to go? It’s Nature’s most fabulous work of art and it’s been mesmerising us here at Londolozi.

What limited scientific understanding we have of it tells us that the queleas move by a system called scale-free correlation, or by three seemingly counter-intuitive principles of cohesion, separation and alignment. Basically the birds are pulling together to stay as a group whilst also pushing apart so that individuals don’t crash into each other, but they’re doing it at the most incredible speeds.

As they come down to drink, they surge over and around each other, creating an astounding noise as the collective impact of their tiny wings beat together, making the sum of the whole so much greater than its parts.

Words don’t do it justice, but the video below will show you what we mean.

I think that what moves us when we watch these spectacles is the understanding that somewhere at our very essence we are like them. We were born to move and work together as a whole, whilst staying deeply connected to ourselves and the natural world around us. As each individual becomes truly aligned with themselves, so then does the entire group. As we give ourselves to that whole, we regain our sense of belonging. Then as a collective we begin to create magical, mesmerising patterns of our own.

The question is: what whole do you choose to form a part of? And what fractals and frequencies do you wish to create? Humanity alone has the power to choose from this infinite well of possibility.

About the Author

Amy Attenborough

Media Team

Amy has a rich field-guiding history, having spent time at both Phinda and Ngala Game Reserves. This diversity of past guiding locations brought her an intimate understanding of different biomes across South Africa, and she immediately began making a name for herself as ...

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10 Comments

on What Whole Do You Form Part Of?

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Marinda Drake

Stunning video. It is an amazing experience to watch the queleas. Just came back from a camping trip to northren Kruger where we watched them at the waters edge drinking. Wonderful experience.

Denise Vouri

Stunning and exciting video. I can imagine and feel the din as these thousands of birds come together in a display of precision and unity that is beyond belief. Were it that humans could work together in such harmony…….

Leonie De Young

What a terrific blog on these amazing little birds. It is heartwarming to think they are increasing in population, while other species appear to be in decline. I have seen starling murmurations and, indeed, it is incredible that each and every bird has a pattern of flight. The video is great also. Thank you all for sharing your experience with us.

Darlene Knott

It is an amazing sight, Amy. When we first saw it, we sat with our mouths hanging open! Just in awe, spellbound!

Nickolette Karabush

When the Queleas are in flight, or landing, it is such a wonderful sight. It is like rhythm is to music! Thank you so much for this blog, smiles all day:)

Mary Beth Wheeler

Fabulous video! The quelea are fascinating to hear and see! We first experienced them in the Selous, but not in such huge numbers. Thanks for this blog!

Callum Evans

Such a beautiful video!! Really hoping to see a big flock of quelea’s when I’m in Botswana!! There’s been research done on European starlings and how they coordinate their murmarations and apparently each bird mimcs and watches the behaviour of 7 of its closest neighbours while in flight. Birds are truly some of the most incredible creatures on this earth

Jessica Luxmoore

This is the first article I have read on Londolozi, it came through via Oneness on Facebook. Brilliant. “Singular self-awareness makes a powerful whole.” Nature teaches us so much about ourselves, Each of us must do our inner work, reflect on our personal behaviour, align ourselves so we can be in alignment with the new narrative of the Whole. Thank you for a great blog.

Jeff Rodgers

Another world-class post. Beyond the wonder of seeing Lions, Leopards, Rhino, Eles, Baboons and so much more up close . . . watching a zillion birds doing what is called mumeration is very special. And I couldn’t agree more with the title of this post . . . as I look at the stars, particularly when I am at a safari lodge, it is hard not to think that I, my family, the people of Earth, etc. are most certainly part of a greater whole that someday we will understand.

Justin Levin

Such an incredible sight!!! Great video guys well done!!!

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