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Southern ground hornbill with snake

Southern ground hornbill with snake
Photo Information
Copyright: Annick Vanderschelden (vanderschelden) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2553 W: 74 N: 7464] (30441)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2007-10-19
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon EOS 1D Mark III, Canon 400mm 2.8 IS
Photo Version: Original Version
Travelogue: Kruger National Park
Theme(s): Birds of South Africa 1, Kruger National Park 1, Birds of Southern Africa II, The predator with the Prey, Vanderschelden's herptiles in Kruger [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2007-11-30 3:52
Viewed: 4771
Favorites: 1 [view]
Points: 46
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
In the beginning of my South African trip I tried to scan the trees to spot either snakes or leopards. I spotted only once leopard (mother with two cubs) and twice a snake.
... concerning the latter I wanted to see the most dangerous ones; black mamba, Mozambique spitting cobra and the puff adder. No success. Snakes are very shy....
but maybe I just didn't notice them:-)
One case is depicted here in the bill of an endangered(they said in the camp) species...the Southern ground hornbill. I saw a couple next to the road. Tried to focus on one of them as they didn't took off. Then I saw the one in the photo had a snake in the bill. Think the bird had fun knowing I've been looking for snakes for so many days and he just had one for breakfast. He didn't show it long either; threw it a bit in the air, maybe two or three times and the snake was 'in' the bird. Didn't found a menu with snake ID either?

Travelogue Kruger National Park

weather and itinerary day 16 (16/20) follow ellie

Great weekend for ya!

Camera Model Name
Canon EOS-1D Mark III
Shooting Date/Time
19/10/2007 15:27:37
Tv(Shutter Speed)
Av(Aperture Value)
Metering Modes
Evaluative metering
Exposure Compensation
ISO Speed
EF400mm f/2.8L IS USM
Focal Length
400,0 mm
Image size
3888 x 2592
Image Quality
White Balance
AF mode
One-Shot AF

cataclysta, pablominto, Debz, uleko, peter_stoeckl, haraprasan, kjpweb, marhowie has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To ved: thanks for your critique, Ved...vanderschelden 1 11-30 04:03
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • ved (26)
  • [2007-11-30 3:57]
  • [+]

extremely well taken... great contrast and colors...
good composition.. and above all, great moment to catch in a snap! Well done!

  • Great 
  • jesst Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 368 W: 0 N: 172] (2441)
  • [2007-11-30 4:03]

Great shot/ The snake makes this picture more interesting. Wonderful exposure and detail

Hi Annick
Great portrait shot but also great moment. As always perfectly composed with good sharpness and great OOF background
Very good job
Best wishes

  • Great 
  • badar Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 106 W: 0 N: 160] (785)
  • [2007-11-30 5:04]

Hi Annick,
Thats an awesome image the look in the eyes of the hornbill puts my sympathies with the snake.

Hi Annick
This is really nice one. Excellent details and colours.

Hello Annick,
An awesome situation has been captured!
The bird is visibly proud of the catch, and gives this great pose...
A well balanced composition with sharp fine details, reproduction of plumage and other details is skilfully done!
Pablo -

  • Great 
  • Debz Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 505 W: 0 N: 847] (3307)
  • [2007-11-30 5:48]

Hi Annick, this is a cracking shot! Great interest and a super composition. The Hornbill was obviously showing off with this Snake. The details, colours and textures in this shot are amazing. Perfect focus, exposure and pov (as usual :)).

hello annick,
lovely shot, the hornbill has got meal for himself, liked the pov and the composition, perfect focus, lovely colours, pleasing composition,
well done,
tfs & regards

  • Great 
  • Jamesp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
  • [2007-11-30 7:43]

Hi Annick

Great shot - what wonderful luck seeing one with a snake! I really like these birds - they are so photogenic - especially the eye, which you have captured very well here.


  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2007-11-30 8:25]

Hello Annick,
What a superb and well-timed capture! I think snakes seem to be the favourite food of hornbills, but I've never seen such a long and thin snake! A very fine composition showing sharp details and fine colours.
Many thanks, Ulla

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2007-11-30 11:43]

Hallo Annick,
Ja, ja je hebt het weer voor elkaar! Perfecte foto van deze Hoornraaf. Ik weet niet beter of ze zijn vrij schuw. Maar jij hebt zulke prachtige details. Fantastisch licht en schitterende kleuren. Perfecte compositie. Proficiat.

Hello Annick,
Perfectly well composed photo!
great closeness with perfect sharpness, vivid colour and so much details in it!
great job well done

  • Great 
  • Nilson Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 488 W: 0 N: 566] (4423)
  • [2007-11-30 17:34]

Um espetáculo de foto momento certo e preciso parabéns.

  • Great 
  • demeve Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 586 W: 12 N: 1682] (6165)
  • [2007-11-30 22:14]

Hello Annick,
I don't have much time today, only to make a quick point
You got a fantastic shot, wonderful presentation.. Well
done my friend..


  • Great 
  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2007-11-30 22:27]

Delightful meal, I see. : )
Wonderful details and colors on this ground hornbill.
Amazing creature... looks so prehistoric.
TFS, Annick : )
P.S. I am really enjoying your Kruger series.

  • Great 
  • Mana Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1772 W: 36 N: 5597] (18598)
  • [2007-12-01 2:11]

Hi Annick,
Just marking this wonderful post from you and will return with a proper critique later. Sorry, work pressure.

I see few close up of ground hornbills. You did even better: you got him in the middle of action. the snake looks already dead. Obviously he doesn't make any chance against such a bird.
Snakes can hide surprisingly well. In Brasil I saw the rear half of one disappearing behind a tree. The tree was close. I turned many times around the tree but couldn't find him. No hole under the tree. No grass to hide. I couldn't believe I couldn't see him anymore. It was a large one (12 cm diameter). |Some monkeys were ignoring me but did a alarm noise when watching the bottom of the tree. So I knew the large snake was still there. All efforts to find him were vain.
Technically perfect shot.

Hi Annick,
very clear and powerfully closely framed, perfectly composed portrait of this hornbill with its prey. Thank you!
With best regards,

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2007-12-01 8:29]

Hello Annick,
This is great!
Superb close-up of Southern ground Hornbill with snake prey. We don't see the snakes, but they do!
Technically and esthetically superb!
Well done and TFS!

  • Great 
  • horia Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2158 W: 224 N: 4749] (16656)
  • [2007-12-01 13:48]

Boy i've really missed a LOT of great shots, from you, didn't i?

You know...even if i'm a big reptile lover, i'm not going to say: "poor snake" here...i'm going to say congratulations for mother nature and an even bigger congratulation for you for catching this! Bravo!
This is really a fantastic catch! Nature at its best!
I really like your strong close-up here and the dramatic composition it creates. Also, the colors on the two subjects are amazing! I really love those vivid tones on the neck and beak of the hornbill, but also admire those straight stripes on the snake’s body. However...i can't help you with an ID here wither :( Sorry.
I think it's my turn to say this now: Do i really have to bring up the fact that the DOF is outstanding? :))
Magnificent work, my friend!

Bravo and TFS

Hi Annick,
A beautiful piece of work on this hornbill fella. Very nicely composed portrait with very good details and POV. Thanks a lot for sharing.

Annick.This is a truly stunning photo. Anyone who knows the bushveld will know how unique this photo is. The colours are amazingly true to life and the detail is absolutely stunning. Your photos get better and better. You set a benchmark for the rest of us to achieve.

Excellent! This is one weird looking bird, captured in a great moment. It must be exhilarating seeing creatures in the wild, that you usually only know from pictures or the Zoo! Bravo! Cheers, Klaus

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