The Locust Bird

By Kavi Naidoo


The Red Billed Quelea   AKA the “Locust Bird” in some parts of Africa has created a spectacle in the Klaserie Private Nature Reserve.


These small weavers are amongst the largest bird populations on the planet with an estimated population of about 1,5 billion. Feeding on grass seeds and grain they can consume massive amounts in a day an can affect subsistence farmers crops detrimentally. Hence, the nickname derived from the negative impact they can have on crops, similarly to a swarm of locusts. 

While on Safari in the greater Kruger area, guests were treated to a spectacle of nature as 1000’s of these Queleas leave their nesting area early morning and late afternoon. Flying to a big dam close by to drink water. Lurking in the area was a large and slightly scattered congregation of more then 30 eagles consisting of at least 5 different species all together. Some were preying directly on the Queleas while others waiting for opportunities of predation that wasn’t entirely apparent. Seeing this many eagles of different species hunting in the same area at once was never seen before in all my guiding years. It is also something not very well known about or documented on either. 

Certainly something to remember and a privilege to have witnessed!