Tag Archives: africa

The Red River Hog, Potamochoerus porcus, lives in the rainforests of western Africa below the Sahara desert. It has a bit of a crazy appearance, with its bright red fur, tufted ears, and scalloped skull complete with knobby tusks on the larger males. It even has a white stripe down its back and extra long fur on its flanks. Males have whiskers. Unlike domestic pigs, this cousin is covered in fur with no areas of visible skin. However, like most pig species, red river hogs are omnivorous, eating just about anything they can find while rooting around in the soil and leaf litter with their sensitive snouts.

Wikipedia   |   EOL   |   ARKive   |   ADW
Smithsonian Zoo   |   Ultimate Ungulate

Dik-diks are not quite the smallest hoofed critters on the planet, but they are pretty close! The Kirk’s Dik-dik, Madoqua kirkii, lives as pairs of mates with their children, in the savannahs of eastern and southwestern Africa. There are three other dik-dik species, all in Africa. These tiny little horned antelope stand right around one foot (12 to 14 inches) at the shoulder — smaller than most dogs and lighter than many cats! Female dik-diks are larger, but males have horns, often showing distinct rings. Dik-diks are herbivores but do not eat grass, preferring other green plants, plant shoots (new growth), berries, and other fruits.

dikdik

Encyclopedia of Life (lots of pics!)
Animal Diversity Web
Our Beautiful World
Nature Watch NZ
9 Fun Facts about the Dik-dik

The Bat Eared Fox, Otocyon megalotis, is about the size of your average domestic house cat, and eats a diet of insects in the African savannah. Check out the video and links below for more on this endearing fox species.

Siyabona Africa
ARKive (fox kit pics!)
Animal Diversity Web
The Animal Files

Bat Eared Fox

Virunga National Park lies on DR Congo’s eastern border with Uganda, in eastern Africa. This is home to the famed Mountain Gorillas but also features hippos, lions, forest elephants, the golden cat, and the okapi. This was Africa’s first national park, originally named Albert NP after King Albert I of Belgium in 1925 before the time of independence. Since then, the park has suffered greatly from unstable politics and threats of oil exploitation. However, dedicated naturalists and park rangers have brought the park back from the edge of destruction and made it a thriving tourist attraction and safe home for wildlife.

virunga national park mountain gorillas congo africa

Wikipedia   |   Wikitravel
Official Website of the Park
Virunga News on WWF
UNESCO page for the park
Virunga NP YouTube channel

Hornbill Nest Video

The desert heat has evaporated so much water from the Umm Al-maa oasis in the Sahara desert, that it is saltier than the sea. Yet migrating sparrows feast here. How? Watch this short little clip from BBC’s Africa documentary series to find out.

Poisonous Sahara Oasis

If it looks like a hyena, lives in Africa like hyenas, but eats termites instead of meat… it is an aardwolf (Proteles cristata)! This smallest member of the hyena family has two separate populations in Africa, one in the south and one in the eastern “horn” area of the continent. Its paws and jaws are not designed like other termite eaters (think: anteaters), and its teeth are not like other hyenas — they are not so good at tearing flesh. While aardwolves will sometimes resort to eating small mammals and birds, this is only during the coldest and wettest times of year. Otherwise, it takes advantage of its nearly hairless muzzle and long sticky tongue to lap up thousands of termites each night. Farmers appreciate THIS hyena…!

Proteles cristata aardwolf africa african mammals baby fur cute adorable unusual uncommon unknown species insectivores

ARKive   |   ADW   |   iNaturalist
Hyena Specialist Group
Wednesday Hyena
Our Wild World
Siyabona Africa

Fennec foxes are the smallest species in the canine family, only about 8 inches at the top of their shoulder, body about 12 inches long, tail a bit longer… and ears about 6 inches long — up to half the length of its body! Of course, these ears help them hunt, but they also release heat into the air to keep the fox cooler. Their tiny feet are also well padded with hair to protect against hot desert sand. Their coat is roughly the color of sand to help them stay camouflaged in their Sahara desert home. Fennecs live in groups of about 10, digging interconnected burrows at the base of stable sand dunes lined with at least some vegetation. They tend to stay in their dens during the hot desert day, doing most of their hunting at night when it is cooler. Fennecs eat a wide variety of insects, small mammals, and some plant materials such as roots and berries. Click the links below the pic to see so many more cute pics, and to learn more about the world’s smallest fox!

fennec fox vulpes zerda sahara africa desert animals canids

Animal Diversity Web
ARKive
Encyclopedia of Life
7 fun facts about Fennecs
Fennecs as Pets

The Succulent Karoo is a region of south Africa which hosts 1/3 of the world’s succulent plant species — the richest diversity of succulent flora on the planet! The climate here is mild compared to other desert areas, with sparse but reliable rainfall, especially in the winter. The heat of summer is also moderated by fog created by the Benguela Current flowing northward along the coast.

succulent karoo desert biome area south africa arid cactus cacti species biodiversity hotspot

The Encyclopedia of Earth
Environmental Literacy Council
World Wildlife Fund
Plantz Africa

The strange-looking, bare-headed White-Necked Rockfowl, Picathartes gymnocephalus, lives only in a small area of western Africa, below the Sahara desert. Its nearly featherless head shows bright yellow skin with black patches behind its eyes. This strange bird eats mostly insects, but feeds its young frogs. It often nests in caves and will sometimes follow an army of ants, gobbling up insects disturbed by the parade.

picathartes gymnocephalus white necked rockfowl bare headed yellow africa ghana birds naked featherless

Wikipedia entry
My Bird of the Year!
ARKive entry with pics & video

This strange-looking bird never outgrows his huge eye — this is not just an appealing baby face, but a full-grown Water Dikkop or Water Thick-knee of southern Africa!

water thick knee dikkop burhinus vermiculatus birds aves south africa wader

More Pics! (click the “Detail” tab for more info)
Vocalization (bird sound)
Beauty of Birds
Biodiversity Explorer

The St. Lucia or iSimangaliso Wetland Park in the southeastern corner of Africa features a wide variety of wildlife habitats including forest, inland lake, swamp, sand dunes, and coastal waters where whales make their annual migrations.

iSimangaliso Wetland Park

Is the Bateleur Africa’s most colorful eagle?

Bateleur Eagle Video

The bateleur eagle (Terathopius ecaudatus) has amazing colors — check out some of those links below the pic!

arkive bateleur terathopius ecaudatus black eagle africa wild birds of prey world

Siyabona Africa (best pic!)
ARKive (pics and videos!)
The Eagle Directory
The Peregrine Fund

If you like to watch meerkats, you’ve got to check out this website devoted to their cousins, the banded mongoose!

banded mongoose research project website support

The Banded Mongoose Research Project website

Watch this fun BBC video featuring David Attenborough and a band of banded mongooses (Mungos mungo).

More on this charming species:
Arkive
Animal Diversity Web
BBC Nature
Siyabona Africa

Band of Banded Mongooses

The Augrabies or Broadley’s Flat Lizard (Platysaurus broadleyi) entertains not only with its flat-bellied display to rival males, but also in its aerial hunting skills, leaping into the air to catch flies.

More on this species:
Arkive
Encyclopedia of Life

Flat Lizards

Doesn’t this palm nut vulture (Gypohierax angolensis) remind you of an eagle with a vulture’s head and feet spliced on?

This African bird of prey is unique in that it prefers the fruit of the oil palm tree over meat! It also eats crabs, insects, and other small animals — as well as a few other species of palm nuts.

Gypohierax angolensis palm nut vulture accipitridae birds of prey africa african animals aves hooked beak

Learn more about this species:
Wikipedia
Encyclopedia of Life
Arkive
iNaturalist
Planet of Birds
Oiseaux Birds
Biodiversity Explorer

The streaked tenrec (Hemicentetes semispinosus) of Madagascar is quite the unique critter!
Not only does he look crazy, but he also clatters his spines together to communicate with his foraging mates, AND clicks his tongue as a form of echolocation!

 
tenrec madagascar africa streaked hemicentetes punk rock shrew

Click the pic or links above or below to learn more about this amazing species!
Arkive
Encyclopedia of Life
Animal Diversity Web

The Hoopoe (Upupa epops) is quite a unique-looking bird, don’t you think?
This species is widespread across Europe, Asia, and Africa.
It gets its name from its call: “Ooop! Ooop! Ooop!”

hoopoe crazy flashy colorful bird crest mohawk woodpecker roadrunner black and white feathers

More on this amazing bird:
Arkive
Eurasian Hoopoe
Encyclopedia of Life (hundreds of pics!)