Weaver news

Red-billed Quelea flocks

2018-08-21 (824)

On 20 Nov 2017 I was on farm Swebe-Swebe in Limpopo Province watching vast flocks of quelea flying into their roost in extensive reedbeds along a river. As I was videoing and watching in amazement, I pondered how many quelea there could be in this roost, coming from the surrounding savanna. Compact flocks seemed to contain tens to hundreds of birds each in a never-ending stream. A screen shot from the video allowed me to estimate a conservative 300 birds per second passing, so in one hour that comes to about a million quelea. No wonder this is considered the most numerous bird on the planet!

Red-billed Quelea flocks arriving at roost at dusk. The first clip shows a raptor flying above the flock but not able to single out a bird. The second clip shows birds veering out from the stream to settle in the reeds and trees along the river, while the rest continue to settle some distance away.