This majestic bird took off so gracefully in spite of its size. just a short distance from where I was in the Delta.
The purple heron is a large bird, 78–97 cm (31–38 in) in length with a standing height from 70 to 94 cm (28 to 37 in) and a 120–152 cm (47–60 in) wingspan. However, it is slender for its size, weighing only 0.5 to 1.35 kg (1.1 to 3.0 lb). It is somewhat smaller than the grey Heron, from which it can be distinguished by its darker reddish-brown plumage, and, in adults, its darker grey back. Adults have the forehead and the crown of the head black, with a dark stripe down the back of the neck that terminates in a slender, dangling crest. This is shorter than the crest of the grey heron and does not exceed 140 mm (5.5 in). The sides of the head and the neck are buffish chestnut, with dark streaks and lines down either side of the whole the neck. The mantle is oily brown and the upper scapular feathers are elongated but not the lower ones. The rest of the upper parts and the tail are brownish grey. The front of the neck is paler than the sides and there are some elongated feathers at the base of the neck which are streaked with white, chestnut and black. The breast is chestnut brown, with some blackening at the side, and the belly and under-tail coverts are black. The brownish-yellow beak is long, straight and powerful, and is brighter in colour in breeding adults. The iris is yellow and the legs are brown at the front and yellowish behind.
The call is a harsh “frarnk”, but is quieter and more high-pitched than that of the grey heron. It is generally a less noisy bird, though similar guttural sounds are heard emanating from the heronry. It is also less robust, and appears somewhat hollow-chested. Its head and neck are more slender and snake-like than the grey heron and its toes much longer. Unlike that bird, it often adopts a posture with its neck extending obliquely, and even nestlings tend to use this stance
The Okavango Delta is a labyrinth of lagoons, lakes and hidden channels covering an area of over 17,000 square km and the largest inland delta in the world. Trapped in the parched Kalahari sands it is a magnet for the wildlife who depend on the permanent waters of this unique feature.
Sometimes called a ‘swamp’, the Okavango is anything but. Moving, mysterious, placid, gentle and beautiful, from a wide and winding channel it spreads through tiny, almost unnoticeable channels that creep away behind a wall of papyrus reed, into an ever expanding network of increasingly smaller passages.
These link a succession of lagoons, islands and islets of various sizes, open grasslands and flooded plains in a mosaic of land and water. Palms and towering trees abound, throwing their shade over crystal pools, forest glades and grassy knolls.
The Okavango Delta is a vast inland river delta in northern Botswana. It’s known for its sprawling grassy plains, which flood seasonally, becoming a lush animal habitat. The Moremi Game Reserve occupies the east and central areas of the region. Here, dugout canoes are used to navigate past hippos, elephants and crocodiles. On dry land, wildlife includes lions, leopards, giraffes and rhinos. However, the bird life in these regions are equally rich in diversity.
I took this photo while on my first Botswana Delta photo safari trip. April 2019.