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Sean Zeederberg

Blog Editor

As a young boy growing up on an agricultural farm in Zimbabwe, Sean spent every opportunity entertaining himself outdoors, camping in the local nature reserve and learning about all facets of the natural world. After completing a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental ...

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on Virtual Safari: Ultimate Game Drive Highlights #109

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Hi All, there isn’t a video attached to the blog address. Have I done something wrong?

Hi Ian, all should be resolved now.

Sean, this is one fantastic video! Watching that screeching cuckoo begging to be fed by the Burchell Starling, over and over again, was unbelievable. It begs the question, is the chick ever satisfied? Then when the Starling caught the baby snake, killed it and proceeded to feed it to the cuckoo afterwards, it was laughable to watch the chick try to eat it. It obviously was a new food item for it.
As always, cheetahs are a joy to see and her little one is so alert. I’m glad you were able to zoom into his face when he was looking in your direction – such a beautiful face. Thanks for the ride-along….

Thank you so much, Denise. I was also thinking I wonder if the cuckoo will ever be satisfied. Its appetite is enormous. I had to also laugh at it trying to keep the snake down.
It was such a stunning view of the young cheetah and its mother resting in the shade.

Senior Digital Ranger

The Starling and the Cuckoo chick! Sounds like the title of a children’s book! At what age would they stop feeding this chick? It looks very capable of feeding itself right now! It’s weird that can’t see the difference!

That does indeed sound like the title of a little children’s book. It is difficult to say exactly when the starlings will stop feeding the chick, the exact period is undetermined, but what I do know is that the chick will leave the nest after about three weeks and move around as we saw in the video.

This video is so special, peaceful, relaxing, with the lovely cheetah looking amazing, their eyes are so deep and sweet, they are exquisite and sadly rare animals. Zebra and giraffe are among my favourite as well, with the zebra foal so cute with his mum. The cheetah in the picture is the mother? She’s a stunner

Thank you so much, Francesca. The cheetah is such a magnificent animal.

Wow, Sean! This is just sooo amazing! Not only to see how this chick is fed by the starlings with grasshoppers, but to see them actually feed a little snake to this ever hungry cuckoo chick! It’s one of the most amazing things I have ever seen! I only wish I could have been there!
The poor starlings seem to be a bit exhausted by this continually demanding cuckoo.
This is really just fantastic.

Thank you so much, Christa. It was such an incredible sighting and we just happened to come across it by chance. The appetite of the young cuckoo is so enormous.

As you say Sean, incredibly rare to actually be able to capture the footage of the starling feeding the cuckoo. I didn’t think that snake was ever going to get swallowed! As they were on the ground, does that mean the cuckoo has fully left the nest, and in which case how much longer will the starling carry on feeding it? (and then we go from a Burchell’s starling to Burchell’s zebra – are any other species named after him?)

It was such an incredible sighting to be able to film and get such great shots of it. We thought the same about the snake. Yes, the cuckoo chick will often leave the nest after about three weeks but will still remain dependent on the starlings for an undetermined period of time, it is so difficult to tell. There are even some records of adult cuckoos then feeding the fledgling.
Burchell’s comes from the naturalist- William John Burchell and has many different species named after him, Burchell’s Coucal, Starling, Courser and Grouse; Burchell’s zebra; a type of army ant (Eciton burchellii); a type of wild pomegranate (Burchellia bubilia); and Burchell’s sand lizard and that is just to name a few that are applicable to us in South Africa.

And, of course, I nearly forgot: seeing this cheetah mum and her cub doing so well, is also great. Beautiful animals.

Tha cheetahs were so stunning.

This video is so special, peaceful, relaxing, with the lovely cheetah looking amazing, their eyes are so deep and sweet, they are exquisite and sadly rare animals. Zebra and giraffe are among my favourite as well, with the zebra foal so cute with his mum. The cheetah in the picture is the mother? She’s a stunner. I’d love a poster of her

Fascinating interraction between the 2 bird species.

It truly was such an interesting interaction.

Senior Digital Ranger

Those huge pad feet of the juvenile cheetah are so adorable. Wonderful footage on both accounts 🙂

Thank you so much, Johanna. It was such a great morning out.

Lovely video again, thank you!

Thank you so much, Irene.

Hi Sean, What fabulous footage of the starling and cuckoo!! What a full-time job feeding that baby must be. And the close up of the cheetah… oh, those amber eyes. Just gorgeous. Thank you.

Thank you so much, Barbara. It certainly is a full-time job looking after that chick with an enormous appetite. Thank you, the cheetah cub was so stunning.

Sean, The video of the two birds is insane! The interaction was unbelievable but the quality and clarity of the content was like nothing we have seen. The closeups of the Cheetah were so good it seemed like we could see the reflection of your vehicle in their eyes! Wow!

Thank you so much, Michael and Terri. It was such a fascinating interaction and to have front row seats was amazing.

Hi Sean having a problem with the video. Seeing the cuckoo begging makes you think if the Starling does not realize that cuckoo is not its chick. Do you know what snake that was that the Starling caught. Incredible video of this rare occasion, not something you see everyday. Gorgeous Cheetah footage .

Sorry to hear that you are having a problem, is it resolved now? It was a Centipede-eater snake. Thank you so much, Valmai.

Yes thanks Sean it seems to be sorted now. Also usually when you answer our comments I used to get an email to my email address, now I see that does not happen anymore. Did I perhaps do something wrong to be able to receive your answered emails. Thanks Sean.

Gosh Sean that must be THE most fascinating footage I’ve seen to date of the Starling feeding the Cuckoo !!! Quite incredible and what luck to come across them🙏🏻. Certainly a very very greedy chick 🙂 The cheetah were very special indeed so lovely that you were able to zoom in so close to enjoy the cub and it’s Mum. What a fab end to the week Sean thank you💗

Thank you so much, Cally. It was such a unique and interesting sighting and then after that to spend some with the cheetah was great.

So fun see this through your (literal) lense after reading about it. It’s no wonder the cuckoo gets fed constantly – it wouldn’t shut up, even with its mouth full!

Absolutely incredible to see this kind of interaction, thanks for the great info on these birds!

It was such a phenomenal sighting.

Really fantastic sighting of the bird interactions!

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