The Bangweulu wetlands in northern Zambia 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. Zambia , which is officially the Republic of Zambia (Tonga: Cisi ca Zambia; Lozi: Naha la Zambia; Nyanja: Dziko la Zambia), is a landlocked country at the crossroads of Central, Southern and East Africa. Its neighbors are the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, Tanzania to the north-east, Malawi to the east, Mozambique to the southeast, Zimbabwe and Botswana to the south, Namibia to the southwest, and Angola to the west. The capital city of Zambia is Lusaka, located in the south-central part of Zambia. The population is concentrated mainly around Lusaka in the south and the Copperbelt Province to the north, the core economic hubs of the country. Originally inhabited by Khoisan peoples, the region was affected by the Bantu expansion of the thirteenth century
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