The largest species of macaw, the brilliant-blue hyacinth grows to be up to 40 inches (1 m) long. The hyacinth macaw survives today in three known distinct populations in southern Brazil, eastern Bolivia and northeastern Paraguay.
Although it is difficult to estimate, some people believe there were more than 100,000 hyacinth macaws before the arrival of Amerindians in South America. In 1990, the wild population was estimated to be 2,500 birds. The world’s captive population is probably much larger, numbering in the thousands.
The hyacinth macaw is found primarily in riverside tropical rain forest and palm swamps. Its habitat varies throughout its range, however, from seasonally moist forest with a broken canopy, to mature palm forest, to grassy marshes. The hyacinth macaw nests in holes in trees. The clutch size is two or three eggs, although usually only one fledgling survives.
The hyacinth macaw eats seeds, nuts, fruits, and vegetable matter. Eight species of palm are central to its diet. Its exceptionally powerful bill, the largest of its kind in the world, allows it to eat otherwise inaccessible nuts and seeds. Macaws can eat some poisonous seeds and unripe fruits that no other animal can digest.
Scientists believe this is possible because the birds eat chunks of clay from river banks. The clay is thought to help absorb the poisons or make them harmless. Macaws play an important role in seed dispersal. They are messy eaters, carrying and dropping many nuts and seeds.
Once common throughout Africa and Asia, elephant numbers were severely depleted during the 20th century, largely due to the massive ivory trade. While some populations are now stable and growing, poaching, conflict and habitat destruction continue to threaten the species. The largest land mammal on earth, the African elephant weighs up to eight tons.
Large herds are made up of small units, each unit consisting of a matriarch, several adult cows and offspring of different ages. Grown up young bulls are forced out of these units at the age of about 12-15 years and later they join bull herds. All African elephants, including females, have tusks. Elephants are either left or right-tusked and the one they use more is usually smaller because of wear and tear.
To regulate body temperature they often use their large ears as radiators continually flopping them. Elephants have only four molars in use at a time. As these are worn down they get replaced by new ones. Elephants can be destructive around waterholes and the surrounding areas can be severely damaged and deforested.
The diet of elephants consists of grass, bark off tree branches, leaves, roots and fruits. The average elephant eats approximately 230 kilograms of fodder per day and drinks up to 180 litres of water. One (very seldom two) calve is born after a 22-month gestation period. Elephant can weight up to 8000 kilograms and have a shoulder height up to 3 meters.
Giant of Etosha, 60X50cm, oil on canvas painting
The number of elephants in Namibia's Etosha park is around 2000. Etosha elephants are regarded as tallest in Africa.
Hwange Elephants, 30X40cm, oil on canvas painting
There are over 40000 Elephants in Hwange, these roam between Hwange Park in Zimbabwe and Chobe in Botswana.
The lion has forever been a symbol of strength, power and ferocity. African lions are the most social of all big cats and live together in groups or prides, consisting of about 15 lions. Male lions defend the pride’s territory while females do most of the hunting. Despite this, the males eat first. These majestic cats are threatened by habitat loss. The lion is listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The lion was once found throughout Africa, Asia and Europe but now exists only in Africa with one exception. The last remaining Asiatic lions are found in Sasan-Gir National Park in India, which was primarily created to protect the species. Currently, there are approximately 350-400 lions in the park. A lion’s roar can be heard from as far as 5 miles away. Lions can run for short distances at 50 mph and leap as far as 36 feet. A good gauge of a male lion’s age is the darkness of his mane. The darker the mane, the older the lion. The lion’s heels don’t touch the ground when it walks. Lions may sleep up to 20 hours a day.
African Male Lion Portrait, 20X20cm, oil on canvas painting
Siberian Tiger Portrait, 30X30cm, oil on canvas, painting in progress
The Siberian tiger is one of the most powerful predators on Earth, and yet it nearly went extinct.
African Leopard Portrait, 40X20cm, oil on canvas
The most secretive and elusive of the large carnivores, the leopard is also the shrewdest. Pound for pound, it is the strongest climber of the large cats and capable of killing prey larger than itself.
Cheetah Portrait, 50X40cm, oil on canvas, work in progress
Fastest mammal on land, the cheetah can reach speeds of 60 or perhaps even 70 miles (97 or 113 kilometers) an hour over short distances. It usually chases its prey at only about half that speed, however. After a chase, a cheetah needs half an hour to catch its breath before it can eat.
Africa is home to certain species that are facing extinction, including mountain gorillas and Grevy’s zebras. Critical to protecting Africa’s wildlife are the local people. Sharing the land, often alongside each other, can lead to struggles for resources and deforestation. If people and wildlife learn to live together—inside and outside of protected areas—the future for all will thrive.
African Wid Dogs, 30X40cm, oil on canvas, painting in progress
African wild dogs are the size of medium domestic dogs. Their Latin name, Lycaon pictus, means "painted wolf-like animal." Their coats are mottled in shades of brown, black and beige. They have large, rounded ears and dark brown circles around their eyes. The dogs differ from wolves and other dogs in that they have four toes instead of five.
Three's Company, 40X70cm, oil on canvas.
Zebras are several species of African equids united by their distinctive black and white striped coats. Their stripes come in different patterns, unique to each individual. They are generally social animals that live in small harems to large herds.
Kudu Bull Portrait, 30X20cm, oil on canvas
The greater kudu is a woodland antelope found throughout eastern and southern Africa. Despite occupying such widespread territory, they are sparsely populated in most areas, due to a declining habitat, deforestation andpoaching. The greater kudu is one of two species commonly known as kudu, the other being the lesser kudu,
Black Rhino, 20X20cm, oil on canvas.
The black rhino has a pointed upper lip, while its white relative has a squared lip. The difference in lip shape is related to the animals' diets. Black rhinos are browsers that get most of their sustenance from eating trees and bushes. They use their lips to pluck leaves and fruit from the branches. White rhinos graze on grasses, walking with their enormous heads and squared lips lowered to the ground.
Except for females and their offspring, black rhinos are solitary. Females reproduce only every two and a half to five years. Their single calf does not live on its own until it is about three years old.
The black rhino once roamed most of sub-Saharan Africa, but today is on the verge of extinction due to poaching fueled by commercial demand for its horn.
Tiger sharks are very large and so they require a considerable amount of wide open space. They enjoy warm water so they are found in the tropical areas of the world as well as some sub tropical locations. The Atlantic ocean is where most of them have been recognized.
Tiger sharks have been recorded with the most attacks on humans only behind the great white. They are very aggressive by nature and will stop at nothing to complete a hunt for food. They will attack when they feel they are in danger which is why they are known to attack humans.
The Tiger is the fourth largest shark found in the world. They are solitary sharks that tend to live alone. They have amazing eyesight which is why they tend to hunt at night.
Tiger Shark & Turtle, 40X60cm, oil on canvas painting
Toucans of Iguazu
The Toco toucan is at home in South America's tropical forests but recognized everywhere. The toucan's oversized, colorful bill has made it one of the world's most popular birds.
The 7.5-inch-long (19-centimeter-long) bill may be seen as a desirable mating trait, but if so, it is one that both male and female toucans possess. The toucan's bill is useful as a feeding tool. The birds use them to reach fruit on branches that are too small to support their weight, and also to skin their pickings. In addition to fruit, Toco toucans eat insects and, sometimes, young birds, eggs, or lizards.
Toco toucans live in small flocks of about six birds. Their bright colors actually provide good camouflage in the dappled light of the rain forest canopy.
Iguazu Falls, also Cataratas do Iguaçu in Portuguese and Cataratas Del Iguazú in Spanish are waterfalls that straddle between the Brazilian State of Paraná and Province of Misiones in Argentina along the River Iguazu. It divides the river into upper and lower Iguazu.
Toucans of Iguazu
SOUTHERN CARMINE BEE-EATER
The largest of the Southern African bee-eaters, with a length of approximately 25 cm excluding the 12 cm tail streamers, the Southern carmine bee-eater has plumage of a magnificent pinkish-red (carmine) colour, the upper parts being slightly darker than the lower. The forehead and crown are turquoise; the lores and ear coverts are black, so that the birds appear to be wearing a mask.
Southern carmine bee-eaters are intra-African migrants and arrive at their breeding grounds during August or September. Breeding colonies can be found on the banks of the Zambezi River in northern Namibia and Zimbabwe, the sight of 1,000+ birds occupying a tiny piece of sandy river bank is a sight to behold. The birds nest in tunnels that they excavate into the river bank, or into a level patch of suitable sand or clay.
Southern Carmine Bee-Eater, 25X20cm, oil on canvas card
Arguably Africa’s most striking bee-eater, Carmine Beeeaters put on a spectacular display when they gather to breed.
Orange Breasted Sunbird, 25X20cm, oil on canvas.
This sunbird is endemic to the fynbos habitat of southwestern South Africa.
African Hoopoe, 20X20cm, oil on canvas.
The African Hoopoe is widely distributed throughout Southern Africa. Not a particularly sociable bird, the Hoopoe is generally found either singly or in pairs.
Lilac Breasted Roller in flight, 20X25cm, oil on canvas painting
The Lilac breasted Roller is Africa's most photographed bird and the national bird of Botswana. The one feature that separates the lilac breasted from any other birds is its “rolling” ability. The bird produces spectacular aerial displays during the mating season. Lilac breasted rollers will fly high up into the air and then “dive” to the ground from a considerable elevation, and then rock side to side in the air while simultaneously letting out a raucous call to attract a partner.
Blue Waxbills, 20X20cm, oil on canvas, painting in progress
The Blue Waxbill is a small, slender powder-blue bird, smaller than a sparrow. The bill is short and conical and pinkish-grey in colour. The crown, back of the head and back are light brown.
Southern Yellow-Billed Hornbill, 30X20cm, oil on canvas.
The Yellow-billed Hornbill is a common resident in Southern Africa. They are commonly seen in scrub and dry woodland areas. The Yellow-billed Hornbill is a medium sized bird, with length between 48 to 60 cm, characterized by a long yellow beak with a casque (only in males). The skin around the eyes and in the malar stripe is vivid red-coloured. White belly, grey neck, and black back with abundant white spots and stripes.
Lilac-Breasted Roller, 40X30cm, oil on canvas board
Malachite Kingfisher, 30X40cm, oil on canvas board
The Malachite kingfisher is a river kingfisher which is widely distributed in Africa south of the Sahara. The general color of the upper parts of the adult bird is bright metallic blue. The head has a short crest of black and blue feathers, which gives rise to the scientific name. The face, cheeks and underparts are rufous and there are white patches on the throat and rear neck sides. The bill is black in young birds and reddish orange in adults; the legs are bright red. Sexes are similar, but juveniles are a duller version of the adult.
Malachite Kingfishers have regular perches or stands from which they fish. These are usually low over the water. It sits upright, its tail pointed downwards. It drops suddenly with a splash and usually returns at once with a struggling captive.
Quetzal, 40X50cm, oil on canvas
Quetzal's are strikingly colored birds in the trogon family. They are found in forests and woodlands, especially in humid highlands, the species being exclusively neotropical. The Quetzal is the National Bird of Guatemala.
Quetzals have iridescent green or golden-green wing coverts back, chest and head, with a red belly. These largely solitary birds feed on fruits, berries, insects and small vertebrates such as frogs. Even with their famous bright plumage, they can be hard to see in their natural wooded habitats.
Raptors are the lords of the skies. There are 83 species of raptor that regularly occur in Southern Africa. The group includes eagles, hawks, buzzards, harriers, kites, falcons, vultures and the Secretarybird. The Strigiformes - the night hunters, which include 12 species of owl - are also classified as raptors.
Bateleur Eagle, 20X20cm, oil on canvas
The bateleur is a medium-sized eagle in the family Accipitridae. Its closest relatives are the snake eagles. It is the only member of the genus Terathopius and may be the origin of the "Zimbabwe Bird", national emblem of Zimbabwe.
With few exceptions, Africa’s flora (vegetation) is tropical or subtropical. This is primarily because none of the African continent extends far from the equator, and there are only a few high-elevation regions that support more temperate plants.
Flame Lily, 20X20cm, Acrylic on canvas
Flame lily Zimbabwe's national flower is a climber with spectacular red and yellow flowers, but all parts of the plant (especially the tubers) are extremely poisonous and can be fatal if eaten.
Lone Baobab, 30X40cm, oil on canvas painting
Baobabs are trees recognisable by their distinctive swollen stems. Occurring naturally in the dry areas of Magagascar, Africa and Australia, they store massive amounts of water in their stems to cope with seasonal droughts. The tree's fruits are large pods known as 'monkey bread' or 'cream of tartar fruit' and are rich in vitamin C. Baobabs can grow up to 25 meters tall and can live for several thousand years. One baobab tree in South Africa, known as 'Big Baobab', has a circumference of 47 metres. The baobab is leafless for nine months of the year.