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12 x 12

While on my first safari in Africa I became smitten with one species of bird in particular, the yellow billed hornbill. Our guide called them “flying bananas” in reference to their disproportionately large yellow beak. Typically, yellow billed hornbills forage near the ground or in low scrub for invertebrates, and I was fascinated watching them pick through elephant dung looking for various insects. Every time we stopped to observe game, it seemed these birds were somewhere in the scene, flitting about anywhere that animals might be kicking up dust and bugs. I took many photos of them perched in various surroundings from our land rover, but this individual bird was quite accommodating to my presence as I watched it hop among some branches while I was on foot at camp, the filtered light through the overhanging trees falling over it in various interesting ways. In deciding on how best to represent this bird in the medium of scratchboard I chose a close-up view for my first representation, showing all the wonderful little details around the head and how the light caught its eye, as the bird caught mine.