The other morning while we were watching some waterbuck and other general plains game, my tracker and I noticed a Burchell’s Coucal, very busy attacking something. We watched the action for a while, and eventually the bird flew away. On closer investigation, we found a Chameleon, pitch black and hissing like a snake – clearly very stressed out.
When they are threatened, the body language is characterized by a gaping mouth which displays an orange colour lining. Simultaneously it raises the occipital flaps (hence the name Flap Neck Chameleon), inflates its body and rocks from side to side. It is reported to bite readily, though the bite carries no poison or venom. They will change colour because of temperature fluctuations and emotional state.
Although the ‘attack’ only lasted a minute or so, it was an incredible sighting, as we always expect interaction between species to happen between big predators and their prey. Next time if you look around, you will be surprised at how many ‘small things’ are happening all over…