RE:Friends of Africa Family Safaris Ltd

Name: Joseph Xerri

Email: [email protected]

Phone: +61393114779

Message: I need your assistance, as I am trying to locate my brother (Mr Mario Xerri from Melbourne Australia), who I believe traveled with your company (Friends of Africa Safaris), he wrote (by email) to my sister on the 27th of last month to say that while on tour with the above said company their vehicle got bogged on the wet tracks and that some men stopped to help them get the vehicle unstuck, but these said men turned around and robbed them instead taking all their (the travelers on the vehicle) possessions including money and passports etc. in the last couple of days my sister and I have been receiving emails from him, which have us concerned for his well being, can you please reply to me to inform me if it was your company that he traveled with and if you know his present whereabouts and if you are able to see him or contact him please ask him to ring me on my home number of +61393114779 – I want to sincerely thank you for any assistance you are able to provide me with in this matter, Kind Regards, Joseph Xerri

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in Nelspruit, South Africa. We are passionate about Africa and we’d
love to show you why so many travelers rate Africa as a top destination and why so many come again and again. We offer a full range of travel services throughout the region and have knowledgeable, experienced staff standing by to assist you with information and planning your dream African experience.

The Marabou Stork (Leptoptilos crumeniferus) is a large wading bird in the stork family Ciconiidae.  It breeds in Africa south of the Sahara, in both wet and arid habitats, often near human habitation, especially waste tips. It is sometimes called the “Undertaker  Bird” due to its shape from behind: cloak-like wings and back, skinny white legs, and sometimes a large white mass of “hair”.


Marabou storks are attracted to grass fires. They march in front of the advancing fire grabbing animals that are fleeing. They fly in a majestic way and live mostly solitary or in small groups. Larger groups can be seen near sources of food, while migrating or during the breeding season. Like the Turkey Vulture, the Marabou Stork defecates upon its legs and feet.


Marabous breed on the treetops, where they build large nests. Like White stork (Ciconia ciconia) they like to be near human settlements. It reaches sexual maturity when it is approximately four years old and usually mates for life. They are colonial breeders, their nests are a large, flat platform made of sticks with a shallow central cup lined with smaller sticks and green leaves. Usually 2-3 eggs are laid during the dry season. Both sexes incubate; eggs hatch in 30 days. Their young are helpless at birth. Both sexes tend and feed the young. Fledging period is 3-4 months.


This is the world’s largest heron. The height is 120–152 cm (47–60 in), the wingspan is 185–230 cm (73–91 in) and the weight is 4–5 kg (8.8–11 lbs). Among standard measurements, the tarsus measures from 21.2 to 25.5 cm (8.3 to 10.0 in) and the wing chord averages around 60.7 cm (23.9 in) in length. The culmen  measures from 18 to 20 cm (7.1 to 7.9 in), while the bill from the gape measures around 24 cm (9.4 in). In flight it has a slow and rather ponderous look and, unlike some other herons, its legs are not held horizontally.


In Africa, African Fish Eagles frequently pirate food caught by Goliaths, although other large birds such as Saddle-billed Storks and pelicans may also steal their prey.Of course, prey almost entirely consists of fish. Breams, mullet, tilapia and carp have locally been recorded as preferred species. Any other small animals that they come across may be eaten, including frogs, prawns, small mammals, lizards, snakes, insects and even carrion.


Its breeding season coincides generally with the start of the rainy season, which is around November to March. The nests are large but often flimsy (depending on available vegetation around the nesting site), often measuring around 1 to 1.5 m (3.3 to 4.9 ft) in diameter.

Eggs are pale blue, averaging 72 mm (2.8 in) by 54 mm (2.1 in) and weighing around 108 g (3.8 oz). The clutch size can range from 2 to 5 (usually 3 or 4). Incubation lasts 24 to 30 days. Although they can sometimes replace clutches, often only around 25% of eggs succeed in hatching due to various environmental conditions or predation. The young are fed by regurgitation in the nest and, after a few weeks, can bill jab and practice defensive postures against each other. At around five weeks they leave the nest completely. The parents continue to tend to them for variously 40 to 80 days. Around 62% of fledgings who successfully leave the nest survive to adulthood. Locally, the White-tailed Eagle and the African Fish Eagle may be a predator at colonies. Due its size and formidable bill, the full-grown Goliath Heron may not have any regular avian predators. Despite their ponderous movements, Goliath Herons can think quickly and often take flight before mammalian carnivores (such as hyenas or jackals) can predate them.


The Lesser Flamingo (Phoenicopterus minor) is a species of flamingo occurring in sub-Saharan Africa with another population in India. The Lesser Flamingo is the smallest species of flamingo, though it is a tall and largish bird by most standards. The species can weigh from 1.2 to 2.7 kg (2.6 to 6.0 lb). The standing height is around 80 to 90 cm (31 to 35 in). The total length (from beak to tail) and wingspan are in the same range of measurements, from 90 to 105 cm (35 to 41 in).


In Africa, where they are most numerous, the Lesser Flamingos breed principally on the highly caustic Lake Natron in northern Tanzania. Their other African breeding sites are at Etosha Pan,Sua pan and Kamfers Dam . Like all flamingos, they lay a single chalky white egg on a mound they build of mud. Chicks join creches soon after hatching, sometimes numbering over a hundred thousand individuals. The creches are marshalled by a few adult birds who lead them by foot to fresh water, a journey that can reach over 20 miles (32 km)


Flamingos filter feed on brine shrimp and blue green algae.  Their beaks are specially adapted to separate mud and silt from the food they eat, and are uniquely used upside-down. The filtering of food items is assisted by hairy structures called lamellae which line the mandibles, and the large rough-surfaced tongue. The pink or reddish color of flamingos comes from carotenoids  in their diet of animal and plant plankton.  These carotenoids are broken down into pigments by liver enzymes. The source of this varies by species, and affects the saturation of color. Flamingos whose sole diet is blue-green algae are darker in color compared to those who get it second hand



African Jacanas (Actophilornis africanus) are waders in the family Jacanidae, identifiable by long toes and long claws that enable them to walk on floating vegetation in shallow lakes, their preferred habitat. Jacanas are found worldwide within the tropical zone, and this species is found in sub-saharan Africa. They are about 30 cm long, but females are larger than males. They have chestnut upperparts with black wingtips, rear neck, and eyestripe. The underparts are also chestnut in the adults, only in juveniles they are white with a chestnut belly patch. The blue bill extends up as a coot-like head shield, and the legs and long toes are grey.


African Jacanas feed on insects and other invertebrates picked from the floating vegetation or the surface of the water.


The jacana has evolved a highly unusually polyandrous mating system, meaning that one female mates with multiple males and the male alone cares for the chicks. Such a system has evolved due to a combination of two factors: firstly, the lakes that the jacana lives on are so resource-rich that the relative energy expended by the female in producing each egg is effectively negligible. Secondly the jacana, as a bird, lays egg and eggs can be equally well incubated and cared for by a parent bird of either gender. This means that the rate-limiting factor of the jacana’s breeding is the rate at which the males can raise and care for the chicks. Such a system of females forming harems of males is in direct contrast to the more usual system of leks  seen in animals such as stags and grouse, where the males compete and display in order to gain harems of females.


The Yellow-billed Kite is the Afrotropic  counterpart of the Black Kite  of which it is most often considered a subspecies. However, recent DNA studies suggest that the Yellow-billed Kite differs significantly from Black Kites in the Eurasian clade , and should be considered as a separate, allopatric  species.

 Behavior: This species is extremely opportunistic in its feeding habits, and the diet includes small vertebrates, insects (including winged termites), carrion, offal, and dead or dying fish. These kites may pirate prey from other bird species, feed on road kills and village dumps, and attend brushfires and grassland fires, sometimes in large congregations. They spend much of their time in low, searching flight, taking prey in flight, or from the ground.

Breeding: Nests are often in loose colonies and the small stick nest is lined with leaves, dung, rags, rope, plastic. bones, and other objects and placed in a tree (Bijlsma et al. 2005). In Mali, all nests were located near water. Clutch size is usually 2 eggs in southern Africa and 3 in West Africa. The eggs are white and marked with brown spots and splotches. All chicks usually survive. West African eggs averaged 50.9 x 39.9 mm (n= 15). The incubation period is about 30 days, and the nestling period is about 48 days (Tarboton 1990). The female handles most of the incubation duties and is fed by the male

The Augur Buzzard is a 55–60 cm long African bird of prey. The taxonomy on this species is confusing, with some taxonomists considering this species, the Jackal Buzzard, and the Archer’s Buzzard to be the same superspecies. Many taxonomists consider them all to be distinct, having different calls, different home ranges and variations in plumage.


Pairs have noisy aerial displays, including outside the breeding season. The large (up to 1 m wide) stick nest is built in a tree or on a crag, and is often reused and enlarged in subsequent seasons. Two creamy or bluish white eggs are laid and incubated by the female only, although food is brought to her on the nest by the male.

The eggs hatch in about 40 days, and after a further 56–60 days they can attempt flight. At 70 days they become independent of the nest, but young birds may then be seen with the adult pair for some time.

The diet of the Augur Buzzard is mainly small ground mammals, but snakes, lizards, small ground birds, insects, and road-kill are also taken. Typically,


Pairs of augur buzzards are monogamous during the breeding season, and pairs may remain together for years. They build their nests on cliffs or in sturdy trees and lay 1-3 eggs. The adults begin incubating immediately after the first egg is laid, meaning the first egg hatches several days before the second. This results in chicks of varying ages and sizes, the largest of which will out-compete the smaller chicks. Typically, only one chick per nest survives.



The Bateleur eagle is the most famous of the snake eagles. Its pitch black feathers with white under the wings, bright red face and legs and black beak are characteristic markings. The female Bateleur eagles are larger than males. Bateleur eagles pair for life and stay in the same nest for several years. Unpaired adults can sometimes be seen near a nest site. The unpaired bird is not rejected by the mating pair but it does not help with nesting.


Bateleur eagles pair for life and stay in the same nest for several years. Unpaired adults can sometimes be seen near a nest site. This bird is not rejected by the mating pair and does not help with nesting. Bateleur eagles spend 8-9 hours each day in the air looking for food. Their diet includes antelope, mice, birds, snakes, carrion, lizards and especially road kills.


A female will lay a single egg in a nest that sits in a large tree, which offers protection. Mother incubates the egg while father collects food and sticks for the nest. Sometimes, however, the father incubates. After an incubation period of 52-59 days, the baby Bateleur eagle hatches. 110 days later, the hatchling will leave the nest, but will continue to receive food from its parents for another 100 days. Only 2% of chicks make it to adulthood.



The African Fish Eagle’s closest relative appears to be the critically endangered Madagascar Fish Eagle. Like all sea eagle species pairs, this one consists of a white-headed species (the African Fish Eagle) and a tan-headed one. These are an ancient lineage of sea eagles, and as such have dark talons, beaks, and eyes. Both species have at least partially white tails even as juveniles. The scientific name is derived from Haliaeetus, New Latin for “sea eagle” (from the Ancient Greek haliaetos), and vocifer is derived from its original genus name, so named by the French naturalist François Levaillant, who called it ‘the vociferous one.


The African Fish Eagle feeds mainly on fish, which it will swoop down upon from a perch in a tree, snatching the prey from the water with its large clawed talons. The eagle will then fly back to its perch to eat its catch. It will also feed on waterfowl such as ducks, small turtles and terrapins, baby crocodiles, Greater Flamingos and Lesser Flamingos, lizards such as NileMonitors, frogs and carrion. . Occasionally, it may even carry off mammalian prey, such as hyraxes and monkeys. It has also been observed feeding on domestic fowl (chickens).


Breeding season for African Fish Eagles is during the dry season, when water levels are low. African Fish Eagles are believed to be monogamous – in other words, they mate for life. The female lays 1 to 3 eggs, which are primarily white with a few reddish speckles. Incubation is mostly done by the female, but the male will incubate when the female leaves to hunt. Incubation lasts for 42 to 45 days before the chicks hatch. Siblicide  does not normally occur in this taxon, and the parents will often successfully rear two or three chicks. Chicks fledge at approx 70 to 75 days, Post fledgeling depencence lasts up to three months