Clip | Okavango: River of Dreams - Episode 1: Paradise - African Skimmer Parenting

See the elegant way African Skimmers hunt for fish on the Okavango River and the sweet way they care for their chicks, particularly after they’ve just escaped from a crocodile.

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(chirping crickets and other wildlife sounds) - [Narrator] One very special family is awake and getting ready for the day ahead.

(chicks cheeping) She has come here to breed.

African Skimmers select the exposed sandbanks along the Okavango as safe havens.

Despite the odd, clumsy takeoff, these are some of the most elegant birds on the wing here.

And when they take to the air to start fishing, it is with aerial precision.

They skim the mirrored surface with long lower beaks.

It is high-risk fishing, they blindly feel for fish with their extended bottom beaks and if they detect one, they grab it.

If it's too big, they could snap a neck.

(crocodile hisses) (chick cheeps) One day old chicks don't yet have the discipline to stay where they've been left.

(dramatic strings and synth music) But there are now fewer than 20,000 African Skimmers on the planet, so the stakes are high.

Each chick that returns to the warmth of protection is important to the entire species.

(dramatic strings and synth music increases in intensity) Every one that tunneled his way to safety is worth his voice in gold.

(dramatic strings and synth music builds to climax) (dramatic strings music)