Fan-tailed Widowbird (Euplectes axillaris)

Fan-tailed Widowbird (Euplectes axillaris)

Photo@Tony Crocetta

This is an adult male fan-tailed widowbird, Euplectes axillaris, a member of the avian family Ploceidae, the weaver birds. One of its cousins is the red-billed quelea, Quelea quelea, the most abundant bird in the world.This species has an extremely large range, so incidence of you spotting it while birding in Kenya is very high. They exhibit sexual dimorphism and female appears brown, with the distinctive red-shoulders which clear when the bird air-bone.
In Kenya this species is mostly seen in Masai Mara, mostly a long the northern part of the reserve around the Musiara Swamp.

Spotted Eagle-Owl (Bubo africanus)

Spotted Eagle-Owl (Bubo africanus)

Photo@Michael Sammut

Spotted Eagle-Owl is medium to large owl with prominent ear tufts. Upper-parts dusky brown with pale spots, under-parts whitish and finely barred. Facial disk whitish to pale ochre. A more rufous morph exists in more arid areas.It very similar to Greyish Eagle-Owl, only that has bright-yellow eyes, and in Kenya is mostly found in the southern part of the equator. It prefers Savannah, rocky outcrops, scrub, open and semi-open woodland, semi-deserts.

Birding hotspot where this species can be recorded include;Amboseli, Tsavo West and East National Park, Meru, Kitui, Maasai Mara and the greater area of Lake Victoria.

Purple Grenadier (Uraeginthus ianthinogaster)

Purple Grenadier (Uraeginthus ianthinogaster)

Photo@Tony Crocetta

Dark chestnut brown bird with red beak, black tail, and deep purplish blue rump. Male has purplish-blue feathers around the eyes, and purplish-blue breast, belly, and flanks. Female has less extensive (sometimes absent) blue feathering on the face, and often has white feathers around the eyes; female’s breast and belly is spotted or barred white. Juveniles appear similar to the female but paler, duller, and without white markings. The juvenile tends to be paler. Juveniles have blackish bills and their legs are paler than the adults’. Juveniles go through an early partial molt of the face feathers where males obtain their blue feathering and females their pale mauve feathering around the eyes.
This is a dimorphic species; the male sports blue on his face, breast, and belly. The female has less extensive blue on the face and sports white around the eyes as well as on the breast and belly. Usually form pairs and small parties. Courtship usually takes place on the ground with the male holding a stem or feather in his bill, singing and bowing his head as he bobs up and down, hoping to attract a female. An interested female may fly to the male, twist her head and tail toward him and possibly also show a display. Both male and female share nest construction, often building their round nest low in a bush or shrub. The male may continually line the nest with feathers during incubation, which both parents take turns doing through the day, with the hen incubating at night.
This species is widely distributed in Kenya and it should not be difficult to spot and identify this bird.

White-Fronted Bee-Eater (Merops b. bullockoides)

 

White-fronted Bee-eater is such a colourful bird.It is one of that species you will spend time appreciating its beauty. The upperparts mainly green;black mask offset by whitish forehead, white chin and cheecks. The rump is deep blue with a cinnamon buff breast and belly. An easily seen and identified bird mostly confined in areas around northern part of Lake Nakuru National where it normally nest on the cliff burrows. Other than Lake Nakuru, they are also found in Hell’s Gate Park   and sometime is Lake Baringo and Kerio Valley.

Buff-crested Bustard (Eupodotis gindiana)

Photo@Raymond Galea.Taken in Samburu National Reserve.

Buff-crested bustards are small in size compared to other species that we have in Kenya. They are cryptically colored to help them blend into their environment. They also are sexually dimorphic. Male buff-crested bustards have an olive colored crown, a black stripe down the front of the neck, and a black chest and belly. The upper feathers contain light orange-brown coloration. The females have brown heads, a much reduced crest, and are buff colored in the throat, chin, and breast area.The buff-crested or crested bustard prefers drier acacia scrub and woodland of northern arid and semi-arid regions of Kenya, especially in regions like Samaburu and Meru National park, Lake Baringo and Bogoria  and further north in areas like Kapedo.