(Namib Animal Mobile of Interesting Birds)
- Identify the birds of the Namib
- Build a bird mobile from The Living Edens "Namib" program to hang in the classroom or home
- Describe the different
environments in which birds live in the Namib
There are a number of bird species
found in the Namib Desert. This activity focuses on
those presented in the Namib Program aired on July
16, 1997. Birds found in the program that are most
relevant to this activity are: Ostrich, Sand Grouse,
Vultures, Flamingos, Cormorants, Pelicans, Cape
Gannets and Jackass Penguins. The environments in
which these birds live is presented in the program
and acts as a great opportunity for students to
recognize the specific habitats for these creatures
of the Namib.
Bird Species of the Namib:
Scientific Names are given for the sole purpose of
researching the species on the World Wide Web. (All of
the information below was gathered from The Living
Edens "Namib" program, which aired on July 16, 1997 on PBS,
from Harrison, Peter, A Field Guide to Seabirds of
the World, The Stephen Greene Press, Lexington,
Massachusetts, 1987 and from Sinclair, Ian, Field
Guide To the Birds of Southern Africa, The Stephen
Greene Press, Lexington, Massachusetts, 1984).
These penguins are about 30 inches tall, have black
and white color on their heads and are found in the
Namib. They are found on the coast and breed in
colonies. Penguins are seabirds. The scientific name
of the Jackass Penguin is Spheniscus demersus.
Cape Gannet: The
Cape is a seabird and found in the waters on the
coast of Namib. It has a wing span of about 33 inches
and has a light orange colored head, white body and
black wingtips and tail. The scientific name of the
Cape Gannet is Sula capensis.
The Cape Cormorant is a seabird and found on the
Namib coast. It has a wing span up to 40 inches and
body length of up to 25 inches. The Cape Cormorant is
dark blue black with a yellow area below the beak.
The scientific name of the Cape Cormorant is Phalacrocorax
Eastern White Pelican:
The Eastern White Pelican is a seabird found on the
coast of the Namib. It has a body length of up to 67
inches and a wing span of up to 129 inches. The
Eastern White Pelican has white body color, a yellow
bill and black wingtips. The scientific name of the
Eastern WhitePelican is Pelecanus onocrotalus.
Both species of these birds are found in Namib. The
Greater Flamingo is much larger than the Lesser
Flamingo. The Lesser Flamingo is more red in color
than the Greater Flamingo which is white. The Lesser
Flamingo is about 40 inches tall and the Greater
Flamingo is about 50 inches tall. The scientific name
of the Greater Flamingo is Phoenicopterus ruber
and the Lesser Flamingo is Phoenicopterus minor.
Lappertfaced Vulture :
This bird is found in the Namib, is about 40 inches
tall and has a bare skin head and is primarily brown
in color. It has some white on the front of its body.
The Pappertfaced Vulture's scientific name is Torgos
Ostrich is found throughout the Namib. It grows to a
height of about six and one half feet. It is black
and white in color and is the largest bird in Namib.
The scientific name for the Ostrich is Struthiocamelus.
Level Students, grades 5-9
For each group of four students:
- White tagboard, 8 1/2 x 11 inches
or larger sufficient to trace animal outlines
from downloaded animal templates:
- Colored pencils/crayons/markers
- African bird field guide (optional
- useful to get accurate color combinations for
birds on mobile or use PBS program: The Living Edens "Namib")
- Twelve feet of kite string or yarn
- Two wire shirt/coat hangers
- Download bird image template for
this activity: Flamingo,
- Cut out images and trace them on
- Cut out images from tagboard and
use color guide to color birds on each side of
- Place two coat hangers in
crisscrossed position and tie together with small
amount of string or yarn
- Drop two feet of string from
center of crisscrossed crossed coathangers and
from each of the four corners.
- Punch small hole in the balancing
point of each bird cutout and attach to string
hanging from mobile.
- Hang mobile in classroom or home
Have students discuss the different
birds found in The Living Edens "Namib" program and the Namib
environment in which they live. Hang mobiles in the
classroom and have each student choose a bird from
the mobile to discuss.
The activity is well suited to
elementary students. Most elementary gradeswill be
able to trace, cut out and color birds and hang them
on a mobile. The teacher may want to find animal
stories about birds and read them to the class.
High School Extension:
Students can research African birds
on the World Wide Web, construct advanced food chain
diagrams from their research and hold class
discussions regarding the balance of nature in the