It is wonderful and refreshing to know that after working at Londolozi for 4 years there are still new birds out there in the bush to be seen. The White-breasted Cuckooshrike was one of them. Luckily, I got my first view of one last week. A single bird fluttering around in the upper reaches of a Leadwood. As soon as I saw it I knew exactly what it was! I also knew that I had never seen one. My tattered Newman’s Bird book bares testimony to the number of times I have paged through it, studying the potential ‘lifers’. I know exactly what birds I have not seen and which I still have a chance of seeing in this area…I never thought I had a chance with this one here at Londolozi!
Cuckooshrikes are closely related neither to the cuckoos nor to the shrikes. Some of the species also bear a superficial resemblance to cuckoos, and have a similar undulating flight. The grey colouration has led to one of their other names, the greybird. In some parts of the world they have also been known as caterpillar-birds, a name derived from their diet. They are in fact thought by some to be closely related to the Old World orioles (Oriolidae), although they differ strongly in some morphological characteristics
So if one considers that in the last few weeks we have seen a Narina Trogon (reports are that there were two seen the other day) and now a White-breasted Cuckooshrike, Londolozi continues to produce some wonderful bird sightings in addition to the plethora of other wildlife .
Written and photographed by Adam Bannister