It seems to me that South African birds compete for the title of most beautiful, each trying to outdo the other in number and shades of color. Here are a few more shots of the beautiful birds of Botswana and nearby areas of Namibia (specifically, Impalila Island in the Zambezi river).
Probably my all-time favorite, the Lilac-breasted Roller. Someone counted as many as nine colors exhibited in the plumage of this bird.
A close second on my “most beautiful” list, the Carmine Bee-eater.
Close-up, there are subtle shades of orangey-magenta hues in its ventral feathers.
White-throated bee-eaters are highly social, congregating en masse on a branch, but this happen to be a parent feeding two almost fully feathered offspring.
White-thraoated Bee-eaters sport a rainbow of colors on their chest and back.
Blue Waxbills forage in small flocks on tiny seeds scattered among the pebbles. Their bill really looks more violet than blue.
A tiny Malachite Kingfisher is dwarfed by the stalk of papyrus on which it sits. Its oversized bill enables it to catch small fish as well as the errant dragonfly.
The Pied Kingfisher gets points for feistiness and athleticism, even if it doesn’t have rainbow colors in its plumage.
Pied kingfishers are often seen hovering above the water, waiting until the fish come to the surface to dive in after them.