Bird Songs

I’ve recently started to record bird songs using a Panasonic mp3 digital recorder and have been using it to call-back with it’s decent audio speaker. I will try to frequently post songs and accompanying photos of the birds singing when possible.

Here is a song of a Grey-capped Warbler (Eminia lepida) that I recorded in Eldoret, Kenya during an urban birding session.

Grey-capped Warbler Song


December 30, 2011: Rufous-naped Lark (Mirafra africana)

 Rufous-naped Lark  (Mirafra Africana)

The Rufous-naped Lark’s head is coloured brown as well as the bill. The Mirafra Africana has a white coloured throat, pink legs and a brown coloured back. The eyes are brown.

The male Mirafra africana has physical features that are slightly different from the female bird. When the bird is excited it has a richly striped rufous crown. In most observatory incidence the bird tends to call from a raised platform or rather on top of a medium sized tree.

In Kenya, the bird is widely distributed in areas around central Kenya, Lake Naivasha, Maasai Mara and Amboseli National park.

Rufous-naped lark Rufous-naped lark song

I recently spotted this Rufous-naped lark in the Maasai Mara National Reserve and recorded it’s song.

– Joe

December 15, 2011: Hunter’s Sunbird (Nectarinia hunteri)

Hunter’s Sunbird is widespread and found in most dry areas of Kenya; especially in wooded and bushed grassland, it will however avoid very dry desert-like environments. It can easily be mistaken for the Scarlet-chested and Amethyst Sunbird.

The adult male is a non-reflective velvety black, with more brownish on the back, and a glittering green crown which appears turquoise; the throat as well as the patch on the bend of the wing is metallic ruby or rose-purple.

Hunter's Sunbird

The female is grey-brown above with white edged coverts. The under part is dull white, strongly mottled with sepia-brown on the throat and breast, more faintly on the belly and flanks washed brown, with chin and throat appearing darker .

It has a habit of being shy and solitary. It is widely distributed in dry areas like Samburu and Shaba National Reserve, Lake Baringo, Lake Bogoria and Kerio Valley.

Urban Birding in Kenya

I bird everywhere! Even in the urban landscapes of Kenya, in locations where one wouldn’t expect to be birding, it is possible to spot species with a keen eye. I spotted this Winding Cisticola on the outskirts of a residential area of Eldoret on an evening walk.

Winding CisticolaWinding Cisticola 2Coming soon your ‘Bird of the Week‘.


South Africa 2011: Kruger National Park Photo Report 2 – The Birds

Although this is not Kenya or East Africa I couldn’t resist posting these incredible photographs of birds by Mortal Coil in Kruger National Park South Africa.

Enjoy my fellow birders!

– Joe

Mortal Coil

On our self-drive safari adventure in Kruger National Park (see previous entry on the “Big Five” here) we were amazed at the sheer variety and exoticism of the birds we saw. Apparently over 400 species (resident and migratory) call Kruger home, at least for part of the year. The park is really well set-up for birdwatching, with many hides set up next to waterholes and so on, and while I would not in any way call myself a twitcher, I did at least take an interest in what birds crossed paths with me, which is more than I can say at other times in my life.

In any event, we were lucky enough to encounter these fellows during our time in Kruger:

Scops Owl
Scops Owl

Common/Steppe Buzzard, Kruger National Park, South Africa
Common/Steppe Buzzard

Goliath Heron
Goliath Heron

Cape Glossy Starling
Cape Glossy Starling

Southern Masked Weaver
Southern Masked Weaver

Southern Ground-Hornbill with Scorpion
Southern Ground-Hornbill with Scorpion

Common Bulbul, Kruger National Park, South Africa
Common Bulbul in a Bird Bath

Lilac Breasted Roller
Lilac Breasted Roller

Martial Eagle in Flight, Kruger National Park, South Africa
Martial Eagle…

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December 6, 2011: Eastern Paradise Whydah

The Eastern Paradise Whydah is a small, widely occurring bird of eastern Africa. It gathers in flocks but separates into pairs during the mating season.Easten Paradise Whydah is a species specific brood parasite with its target being the Green-winged pytilia.

This bird is both dichromatic and dimorphic during the breeding season. When in “breeding mode”, the male has black plumage along its back and tail, with a yellow nape and chestnut colored lower breast and belly. It also grows new long- tail feathers. During the non-breeding season, it loses its striking black and yellow coloration, becoming brownish in color with black streaks on its head. The female has grayish, black-streaked upper-parts with a brown-colored head. Its breast is pale gray and its belly is white.

Eastern Paradise Whydah

The Eastern Paradise Whydah feeds on grass seeds such as millet and wild oats, but will occasionally take termites and grubs.

It inhabits dry thorn scrub and open or woodland savannahs throughout eastern Africa. Fairly common after heavy rains both as a resident and a wonderer , appearing usually near watering areas. Well distributed in the  area of  Samburu, Meru, Lokichokio, Turkana, Tsavo and Amboseli National park.