Nicknamed God's Paintbrush or the Rainbird, this colourful little
bird calls shrilly to herald rainy weather. The Crested Barbet is
a handsome bird with a yellow and red speckled face, and a yellow
head crowned by a small black crest. A dramatic black band around
its neck offsets a yellow belly peppered with red. Its black and
white body is tipped with red feathers.
Crested Barbets are usually found singly or in pairs, hopping on
the ground in search of food. They tend to fly only short distances
and are found in habitats as diverse as forests, savannah, woodland
thickets, watercourses and even suburban gardens. Their diet includes
insects, fruit and other birds' eggs.
Nesting on the patio, we have Greater Striped Swallows (Hirundo
abyssinica unitatis). In African folklore it is believed that
swallows will only nest where there is a lot of love and peace.
For us at 40 on Ilkey B&B, this is a great testimonial to our
According to some accounts, the name bush baby comes from either
from the animals' cries, or their appearance. The South African
Afrikaans name "nagapie" (little night monkey), comes from the fact
that they are almost exclusively seen at night. Bush babies are
agile leapers and run swiftly along branches.
They have large eyes that give them good night vision, strong hind
limbs, acute hearing, and long tails that help them balance. Their
diet is a mixture of insects and other small animals, fruit, and
Bush babies are very inquisitive and have been seen to eavesdrop
on private conversations on the patio. It seems strange to see these
little mammels in a garden in the middle of the bustling city of
Pretoria, but a sighting never ceases to thrill the audience.