Grey-Headed Bush-Shrike (Malaconotus blanchoti)

Grey-headed Bush-shrike is the biggest Bush-shrike in our region. It is a very colorful bird to watch and know to be flying low in the vegetation, when hunting. It generally occupies wooded areas, especially Miombo, Acacia and riverine woodland, but it occasionally moves into suburban gardens and alien tree plantations adjacent to indigenous forest. Is presence easily know by is loud call which which normally not mistaken when known.

In Kenya, is a widely distributed bird and can be seen in Samburu, Buffalo and Shaba game reserve, Masai Mara, Nairobi national park, Lake Baringo, Nakuru, Bogoria and Magadi road.Grey-headed Bush-shrike.

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A Rare Encounter with Dwarf Bittern (Ixobrychus sturmii) in Tsavo West.

On a recent birding trip I guided, My clients and I were lucky enough to have encountered a rare Dwarf Bittern (Ixobrychus sturmii). This was an Eastern- Coastal Kenya design trip and took us to Taita Hill, Lake Jipe, Kitobo Forest, Tsavo West and East National Park,  Ndara Ranch and Arabuko Sokoke forest reserve.DSCN9552.JPG

Dwarf Bittern is an Intra-African breeding migrant. It breeds in Southern Africa, but East Africa is its non-breeding ground . So, I guess that the bird we recorded was on its way down south.

This was very exciting for me because this was my second observation of this bird in my entire 8 years of bird guiding experience. I read that the bird is widespread in its distribution region but it really be difficult to spot.

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Yellow-breasted Apalis (Apalis flavida)

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Yellow-Breasted Apalis is the commonly encountered Apalis in the field especially if you are birding arid-semi arid areas of Kenya. Its widespread distribution makes it an easy target if you are also birding mid-altitude elevation and in this context it can be true for areas like Nairobi national park, Naivasha, Lake Nakuru, Masai Mara and Amboseli.

The much sort after Apalis is the Karamoja Apalis Apalis karamojae which is a range-restricted species, is found in Masai Mara national Reserve where acacia drepanolobium dominate the vegetation. Taita Apalis Apalis fuscigularis is a globally threatened species is endemic to Taita Hills in South East Kenya. Grey, Chesnut-throated and Black-throated Apalis are easy to pick species in montane dominated habitat of central Kenya e.g Mt.Kenya, Aberdare, Mau forest. While Buff-throated and Black-collared Apalis is commonly recorded in Kakamega forest, the only remnant tropical rain forest patch in Kenya.

 

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Red-throated Bee-eater (Merops bulocki)

SX50 39112 Red-throated Bee-eater

Red-throated Bee-eater is an incredibly beautiful Bee-eater to watch…in any birding trip to Uganda, with your best bet being in Murchison falls national park in northern Uganda. As soon as you approach the river Nile, their presence there cannot be ignored, where they are frequently seen going in and out of their nest holes.

The above photo was taken during my recent bird trip to Uganda, where we were visited Murchison Falls National Park, Budongo forest reserve where we extensively birded the famous Royal Miles Trail, we easily picked up our much sort after kingfishers( African Pygmy, Blue-breasted and and Chocolate-backed Kingfisher).

Kibale forest reserve, Bigodi swamp and  Samliki  were part of the other areas we visited. Kibale and Bigodi swamp were incredibly productive for us, but the same cannot be said of Samliki forest.  I think our timing was not the best as it had rain heavily the previous night, so we literally had to  walked on the flooded Kirumia trail. We dearly missed our gumboots which we had ignored to bring, next time we will be more clever. Keep birding.

 

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Olive Ibis (Bostrychia olivacea)

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Photo by Chin Tong Tan

African Green Ibis as it is mostly known is one of the most infrequent sighted among other species of Ibises we have in Kenya. Sacred, Hadada and Glossy Ibis are easy target to pocket. In Kenya, African Green Ibis is mostly restricted in Montane habitat of Mt.Kenya and Aberdare ranges. All my sighting of this species was in southern section of Mt.Kenya Forest Reserve mostly referred as Castle Forest, where Castle forest lodge is located.

They are mostly heard calling early in the morning and late in the afternoon where with luck you might be able to have some views of this incredible species. The bird photograph appearing above was taken at Castle Forest in June this year.

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Abyssinian scimitarbill ( Rhinopomastus minor)

IMG_7347 - CopyAbyssinian Scimitarbill in our region occurs in two races , R.m. minor is found in north eastern part of Kenya, while the race R.m. cabanisi is found in southern Kenya. This species can easily be mistaken for Woodhoopoe, although woodhoope are gregarious while Scimitarbill is solitary in its movement behavior. Its bill is more curved down almost giving the Sunbirds bill impression, and on flight the bright red curved billed contrast with uniformly dark-blue plumage. They inhabit light woodlands, dry Acacia bush and thorn-scrub especially along dry river bed. Generally, it a widespread species.

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Karamoja Apalis (Apalis karamojae)

Karamoja Apalis

The Karamoja apalis is a globally threatened warbler, which is very poorly known. It was first discovered in 1919 in the Karamoja District of north east Uganda, hence its English name. This bird has greyish upperparts, whitish underparts and a black bill. The wings and tail are dark grey, and the tail has white outermost feathers. The inner secondary feathers of the wing are white, forming a narrow stripe. There are two subspecies or races; Apalis karamojae karamojae is found in Uganda, while Apalis karamojae stronachi is found in Northern Tanzania and Southern Kenya, mostly in the Vachellia drepanolobium habitat found in northern part of Masai Mara game reserve. This photo showing in this page was taken by Arjan Dwarshuis who is currently doing the Big year challenge at Naboisho conservancy .

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