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.

Squacco Heron (Ardeola ralloides)

Photo@Jurg Hosang

The squacco heron is a migrant, wintering in Kenya. This is a stocky species with a short neck, short thick bill and buff-brown back. In summer, adults have long neck feathers. Its appearance is transformed in flight, when it looks very white due to the colour of the wings. The squacco heron’s breeding plumage is recognized by sky blue bill as clearly seen in the photo above with a black tip. It prefers marshy wetlands as a breeding site. The birds nest in small colonies, often with other wading birds, usually on platforms of sticks in trees or shrubs. This species being a terrestrial bird, is mostly seen in lakes, river valleys, swamps and other permanent or temporary freshwater wetlands in Kenya Rift Valley, Lake Victoria rice fields, Central highland ponds and on both north east and south cost of Kenya.

Ross’s Turaco (Musophaga rossae)

Photo@Jan F.L Van Duinen
Photo@Jan F.L Van Duinen

Ross’s or Lady Ross as it sometime called is a medium-sized bird, with a long tail and broad, round wings. They have three toes on each foot that point forward, while the fourth toe can be rotated forward or backwards. Males and females differ in that females may have a greenish beak. This Beautiful Turaco is seen in mostly on the western side of Kenya Great Rift Valley mostly in areas around Tugen Hills and El geyo escarpment. Ross’s Turaco is a very social bird, seen mostly moving is a small noisy flock of 2 to 7 birds. They spent most of their time among trees in search for fruits until evening when they nest solitary on a plat form of twigs.It is an easy bird to Identify because nothing else in our region is like it.

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.

African Orange-bellied Parrot (Poicephalus rufiventris )

African Orange-bellied Parrot (Poicephalus rufiventris )

photo@Piero

African Orange-bellied Parrot  male has a brown, with varying tinges of brown/orange on cheeks and breast; orange lower breast, abdomen and underwing coverts; pale green thighs and lower flanks to undertail coverts; yellow/green rump and upper tail coverts with blue suffusion. Bill grey/black. Cere and eye ring bare and brown/grey. Eye orange/red. Female-green lower breast to undertail coverts; green rump and upper tail coverts, blue suffusion absent. A juvenile bird is similar to adult female, but in general paler and duller; in male orange wash on underwing coverts and breast. Cere and eye ring bare and paler grey. Eye brown.

This is species is  is well distributed in  in eastern part of Kenya , commonly seen in places like Samburu and Meru National Park, Tsavo East and West , and if you are lucky enough to Tarangire National Park, then you are absolutely sure of spotting it in the big Baobab trees the park is known for.

Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus)

Image
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.