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 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.