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.

Greater Painted-snipe (Rostratula benghalensis)

Greater Painted-snipe (Rostratula benghalensis)

Photo@Morton Kelemen

A medium-sized, attractive water bird, the greater painted-snipe (Rostratula benghalensis) is unusual amongst birds because the female is larger and more brightly coloured than the male. The female greater painted-snipe has distinct white patches around the eyes, which contrasts the dark red-brown head and neck. The upperparts are dark bronze-green with fine black barring and the wings are dark grey, white and gold. The male greater painted-snipe has a conspicuous golden eye patch that sits in stark contrast with the grey-brown head, ash-grey neck, and white streaked throat.
In Kenya it is widespread from sea level to over 2000m, but uncommon, highly erratic and seasonal. Frequent marshy and lakes like Lake Baringo, Lake Nakuru and central Kenya swamps.

Yellow-throated Longclaw (Macronyx croceus)

Yellow-throated Longclaw (Macronyx croceus)
Photo@Tony Crocetta

Yellow-throated Longclaw is a stocky grassland bird, that has a tendency of up and down when flushed out, exposing the conspicuous white edged tail.When perched the bird has a V-shaped black band white a bright yellow throat.The head and the upper part of the bird is all brown with little white on the upper neck.Young birds appear more buff yellow with band of indistict short streak on the breast.In Kenya it is widely distributed in areas like Aberdare park, Solio Ranch, Nairobi National park and Masai Mara national reserve.

Bar-Tialed Trogon (Apaloderma vittatum)

Bar-Tialed Trogon (Apaloderma vittatum)
Stratton Hatfield

 

The Bar-Tailed Trogon is a stunning secretive long tailed forest bird that sits motionless for long periods often high in the canopy.It is similar to the more widespread Narina Trogon  found both in Forest and bushlands, but with blue breast band and barred tail.

The Bar-Tailed Trogon has the following features that aid identification.The adult bird has dark green and red plumage with a blue band across the breast.From behind the Bar-Tailed Trogon has a narrow tail with black and white edges while underneath the tail is entirely barred.That’s where it gets its name from.The adult female has dull brown head and breast while the immature ones have pale-tipped wing coverts. Due to its secretive nature, the bird is rarely seen in location like Kakamega forest, Kieni Forest, Mt.Kenya and Aberadare National Park.

 

 

 

 

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.

Golden-winged Sunbird (Nectarinia reichenowi)

Photo@Jacqui Harrington

Golden-winged Sunbird has a bright yellow tail and wings, the shoulders are dark gray, the dark gray extending to the nape and throat, while the head and downturned beak are lighter gray. The tail is long and ends in two long, very narrow parallel feathers.These birds are found in East Africa; Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda.Golden-winged sunbirds live in grassland, bamboo thickets, and tropical mountain forest.

In Kenya this species if found in Lake Nakuru and Naivasha,Nyahururu,Mt.Kenya and Aberdare National Park.