The Bangweulu wetlands in northern Zambia • Earth.com

Last update: June 15th, 2021 at 4:00 pm

Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory features the Bangweulu wetlands of northern Zambia.

Spread across a flat area about the size of Connecticut, the wetlands consist of a shallow lake, several rivers, and flooded grasslands and swamps that provide habitats for the African shoebill, Balaeniceps rex.

According to NASA, the dinosaur-like shoebill is a wading bird that can stand motionless for hours before using its wide bill and explosive bursts to snap up lungfish, bichir, tilapia, eels, monitor lizards, and even baby crocodiles. The giant birds, which grow up to five feet tall, prefer living near muddy freshwater. 

The Bangweulu wetlands are home to about 400 bird species and 80 species of fish, and are designated as an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA). The region also supports other types of wildlife including elephants, lechwe, and hippopotamuses.

The image was captured on May 15, 2020 by the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8.

Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory 

By Chrissy Sexton, Earth.com Staff Writer

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