I am sure a lot of people in South Africa can relate to my love/hate relationship with this bird. Every morning, at sunrise they fly over my house screaming at me to wake up! Who needs an alarm clock? I live across the road from a golf course, one of the favoured urban spots for these birds to roost so, no matter what, I am not going to get away from them.
But, would I prefer to rather be awoken by a boring old alarm clock? Never, because I know that when I hear the Hadedas screeching overhead, I am in Africa.
These prehistoric looking birds are indigenous to Sub-Saharan Africa and one of the hallmarks of a South African safari.
But, one does not have to be out in the bush to see and hear them, they can be found right here in our own urban gardens digging up earthworms with their large black curved beaks. They also enjoy spiders, snails and even small lizards AND leave either an aerated lawn behind OR a trampled lettuce patch…… Actually, they are welcomed onto the golf greens as the Hadeda is good at picking out the moths and beetles that feed on the roots of the grass.
The Hadeda Ibis is about the size of a small chicken, dark brown, with a greenish purple tint to its feathers. It has a lovely white moustache which, to me, makes it look a bit like its always smiling. Or laughing haa-haa-haa-de-dah at all of us poor humans trying to catch another 5 minutes sleep. But, it’s that huge, long beak that makes it look a bit like a prehistoric dinosaur type of bird…..
One just needs to sit around the dinner table with friends and let the topic roll over to the Hadeda…well, let’s just say, that everyone has a story to tell from their cats being chased by Hadedas to the mess they leave on your patio. Then the arguments begin as to whether you love or hate them. The noise level soon rises to above the screeching you will be subjected to the next morning….
I love them more than I hate them. They are just so much part of where I live. I miss them when I travel overseas. They are harsh and raucous but then, so is Africa!
If you have never heard the call of this (in)famous bird, take a look and listen to this video:
It also gives you some lovely (some quite funny) insights as to what different people think about the Hadeda and also a “look-in” at some interesting spots in Johannesburg.
Do you have Hadedas waking you up every morning? And for those readers not in Africa, have you seen or heard the call of a Hadeda?
PS To read more of my “Personal A-Z of South Africa” Posts click HERE