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.

Striped kingfisher (Halcyon chelicuti)

photo@Joseph Aengwo
photo@Joseph Aengwo

Striped Kingfisher is one of the most brilliantly coloured bird, even though it the smallest and least colourful of the non-aquatic Kingfishers. It has strident voice and dramatic courtship display. This species has some blue plumage on scapulars, brown head with streaky lining. The breast is white with some little strikes black upper and red lower mandible. This species is adapted to wooded habitat of dry country side.

Amani sunbird (Anthreptes pallidigaster)

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Photo@Moses Kandie

 

The Amani Sunbird is classified as Endangered (EN), considered to be facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild. This elusive bird if found in Coastal subtropical moist lowland forest especially in Arabuko Sokoke in north coast of Kenya and Eastern Usambara mountains in Tanzania.
Adult male has glossy blue-green head, throat and upper breast. Upperparts are iridescent dark purplish blue-green on upper back, scapulars and upperwing coverts. Lower back and rump are blackish. Short tail and uppertail coverts are glossy purplish-blue. Underparts are greyish-white, with orange-red feathers on upper flanks. Underwings are white. The black bill is down-curved. Eyes are dark brown
You have a high chance of watching this species which is confined to a few remnant Brachystegia woodlands. They prefer the high canopy trees and a lot of patience is advised before you enjoy a great view of this beautiful bird.

Hemprich’s Hornbill (Tockus hemprichii)

J.F.L Van Duinen
J.F.L Van Duinen

Hemprich’s Hornbill is huge dark brown bird, with a massive dark red bill. The breast is dark, with a white-belly and the outer tailed rectrices is white. In Kenya, this bird is sparsely distributed in rocky hillsides and cliffs in arid and semi-arid country with records from Lake Nakuru around Menegai crater, Lake Baringo, West Lake Turkana, Ortum and Kongolei escarpment.

African Darter (Anhinga rufa)

African Darter (Anhinga rufa)

Photo@Tony Crocetta

In Kenya, African Darter is the most commonly seen aquatic bird in Kenya wetland after Long-tailed Cormorant. It frequents fresh and brackish waters, fringed with vegetation, especially near fresh water lakes in Kenya Rift Valley lakes. This species is often seen perched on bare branches or stumps above the water. If alarmed, it drops vertically into the water. It needs to dry its plumage after fishing with wings outstretched.
African Darter dives for long periods, to search for aquatic preys. It swims with the body under water, allowing ambushing prey items. It propels itself with its webbed feet. It spears the fish in flank, and brings it to the surface, where it tosses it into the air, catches it with the bill and swallows it head first.
Anhinga Darter nests and roosts with other species, such as Egrets, Herons and Cormorants.
African Darter male has crown and back of the neck black and chestnut. Rest of the neck is chestnut, with conspicuous white stripe from the sides of the face to mid-neck. Its plumage is glossy black, streaked with white and silver on wings and mantle, and prominently on elongated black scapulars’ feathers. It has long black tail, held fanned when resting. Legs and webbed feet are brown. Female and immature are paler than male, mostly buffy-brown. Female has brown crown and upper neck. She has less distinct white stripe on the neck sides. Chicks are covered with white down. Darters are sometimes referred to as “snake bird”, because it swims very low, with only head and neck above the water.
In Kenya it is commonly seen in Lake Baringo.

African Pygmy Kingfisher (Ispidina picta)

African Pygmy Kingfisher (Ispidina picta)

Photo@Yan Van Duine

African Pygmy Kingfisher is a small insectivorous kingfisher found mostly in woodland habitats and not necessarily restricted to wetland.In Kenya, its range widespread in bushland of Lake Baringo, Kerio Vallye,Samburu,Meru and Nakuru National and southern parks of Amboseli, Tsavo East and West. Its habitat range from woodland habitats, savannas and riverine forests, but also scrublands, grasslands, open rivers and streams, coastal bushes, plantations and gardens.The dark blue crown of the adult separates it from the African Dwarf Kingfisher. The smaller size and violet wash on the ear coverts distinguish it from the similar Malachite Kingfisher.

Blue-cheeked Bee-Eater (Merops p. persicus)

Blue-cheeked Bee-Eater (Merops p. persicus)

photo@Yan Van Duinne

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater is a long tailed, bright green bee-eater with black mask, mostly white forehead,green crown and pale blue or whitish superciliary and cheek stripes conspicuously brighter than surrounding green plumage; yellow chin merges with russet throat. Underside of the wings coppery rufous. First winter birds are duller, more olive than adult, and sometimes retaining pale-edged juvenile feathers ;forehead green, narrowly yellowish bill; chin pale yellowish buff grading into rufous-buff throat patch.
Regular palearctic migrant of late October-early April at lake Victoria and Baringo which is the best place to see them in huge number

Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus)

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Photo@Michael Sammut

The Egyptian Vulture is the smallest of all the African Vultures.This vulture flies with more wingbeats than most vultures, but takes off much more gracefully, as it is built lighter and smaller.  Once gliding, the bird holds its wings flat, shifting them very little.  The bird posesses great endurance, and is able to fly up to 70 kilometers in search of food.Egyptian vultures are specialists in egg-eating.  They are among the only known birds in the world to use stones as tools.  They will repeatedly strike at an abandoned ostrich egg with stones, then use their beak to enlarge the hole and penetrate membrane.  This behavior is not instinctive, but learned from other vultures, as the species is very intelligent.

This species of vulture is a very adaptable, inhabiting various habitat types, and slowly estblishing territories closer and closer to humans. That is the reason they are mostly affected my human poisoning of vulture using Furudan, a lethal insecticide.  In Kenya they are found in mostly in Wider Tsavo East and West National Park,where this photo was taken.Other than that there records of the species from Maasai Mara, Lake Nakuru, Amboseli, Samburu and Meru National Parks.

crimson-rumped-waxbill (Estrilda rhodopyga centralis)

Crimson-rumped Waxbill is a typical firefinch type of a bird who most of the time prefer spending its time within the grass top close to wetland habitat.The photo above was taken in Teddy bear Island at Lake Baringo. A Red-rumped waxbill has a slate-grey or black bill. This species is monomophic. Adult bird is warm brown above, with indistinct narrow barring;rumped and upper taile-tailed coverts red;tiled dusky brown, with central feathers tinged crimson, as are the wing-coverts. Broad red streak from bill through the eye. Juvenile bird is similar to an adult bird but lacks red streak through the eye.