Sunday, April 02, 2017

Maryland Zoo, Chapter 4: Sitatunga, Black-crowned Crane, and Northern Ground Hornbill

The Sitatunga enjoy a spacious exhibit and only have to share it with a couple of avian species.
 One of which is the Northern Ground Hornbill, Bicorvus abyssinicus.  Here the female is about building a nest among the rocks that are actually under the elevated boardwalk.  The male would have a bright red gullet where as the female's is the same metallic blue as her eye patch.  Looking at the gorgeous head piece, it's easy to imagine the face of a pre-historic pteradon.
 The other avian exhibit mates are a pair of Black-crowned Crane, Balearica pavonina pavonina.  I just love these birds.  And this pair is very felicitous of one another, rarely leaving each other's side.

 But the mane show are these docile sylvan antelope, the Sitatunga, Tragelaphus spekei.  If their latin name didn't give it away, then certainly a careful observer would wonder at the similarities between the unique markings on their coat and those of the Lesser Kudu.  I've often wondered why some placard doesn't point this out to visitors less given to details.  This species is also one of the zoo's breeding success stories, this couple has successfully mated two in the past two years to produce two additional females accounting for the zoo's collection of 4 animals.  The other two Sitatunga were visible in an adjacent area just beyond other path-side habitats.

 Handsome fellow!
 When I snapped these pics, I wondered were the female was off to, and then when I captured the detail and enlarged it, I was pleasantly surprised to see her nearby the buck!

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