Feb. 6, 2018
We stopped for lunch at about 2:00 during a drizzling rain. There were toilets next to a grassy area. Some people headed straight for them, but in spite of the commotion we must have made upon arrival, it did not faze two Marabou storks, who stood stock still several feet apart. This one seemed to be giving me the evil eye as I took his picture.
Once we reached the floor of the crater, we saw some new animals that we hadn’t seen up until now. Flying over the plain were two grey-crowned cranes.
In the grass, a blacksmith plover pecked for worms and insects.
A group of Egyptian geese wander in a field of cycnium flowers.
But by far the most interesting bird we saw was the kori bustard. I don’t know if this is a male or female…
…but if it is female, surely she was being courted by this puffed up male. I love his smug expression as he shows off his whites!The male kori bustard puffs up the feathers on his neck and under his tail on display for a female.We encountered two types of gazelle: Thomson’s gazelles are the smallest.
A larger gazelle is the Grant’s gazelle, which is about the same size as an impala.
These gazelles differ from the impala in that both male and female have horns. This is a characteristic of all gazelles. Impalas are not gazelles, but all these species belong to the larger category of animals, the antelopes. (So all gazelles are antelopes, but not all antelopes are gazelles.)
All antelopes belong to the larger family of bovids, along with the buffalo, who often has oxpecker birds on his back or head…
and the wildebeest. In Ngorongoro Crater, we saw large herds of wildebeest, who migrate from one side of the crater to the other, unlike those in the “Great Migration” of the Serengeti. Still, in Ngorongoro Crater, they are in just as much danger from predators…
such as hyenas, lions (there are about 80 lions in Ngorongoro Crater), and even jackals, who usually end up with the leftovers of larger predators, like this female and her pups.
Jackals are often seen in pairs and will hunt cooperatively for small mammals and even lizards, like this agama lizard.
Next: New Life and Danger in Nogorongoro Crater!