Broad-billed roller (Eurystomus glaucurus)

Broad-billed Roller , Eurystomus glaucurus .

The Broad-billed roller is a beautiful bird to watch during your nature travel in Kenya, and its strikingly yellow billed catches your attention instantly .It  is found in areas around Lake Nakuru national park, Mt.Kenya, Kakamega extending south to Masai Mara game reserve.

Here it is fairly common in savanna, as well as clearings in woodlands. It is a specialist predator, mainly eating swarming termite and ants, as well as beetles and bugs. It mainly nests in unlined cavities in trees 5-15 m above ground. It also nests in holes of barns . It lays 2-4 eggs, timing laying to coincide with the emergence of insects after rain.

Intra-African breeding migrant, mainly breeding in southern Africa before moving north in the non-breeding season. Flocks start to arrive in southern Africa in September, leaving in the period from December to April.

It mainly nests in unlined cavities about 5-15 m above ground, usually in a tree but occasionally in a barn.

Madagascar Pond Heron (Ardeola idae)

Madagascar Pond Heron (Ardeola idae)

Photo@Raymond Galea

The Malagasy Pond Heron is a buff brown streaked small heron, and when breeding is snow white with a blue bill and red legs.In nonbreeding plumage the crown and back of head are buff, broadly streaked black. The bill is green grey with a black tip. The irises are yellow and the lores are green. The sides of the head and throat are yellow buff streaked narrowly with blackish-brown. The upper and lower back is brown with white or buff streaks. The rump and tail are white. Upper wings are brown with white or buff streaks. The flight feathers, in contrast, are white and are conspicuous in flight. Underparts are heavily streaked black and buff brown, contrasting with the lower belly and under tail coverts. The legs are green yellow or green grey.

In the breeding season the Malagasy Pond Heron becomes entirely snow white. The crown has a dense crest. Dense plumes also occur on the back of the neck, back, fore neck and breast. These give the bird a characteristic fluffy appearance. The bill is a deep azure blue with a black tip. The irises are yellow and the lores are green with some red on the orbital skin. The legs are rose pink, with green toes. The intermediate plumage is a mixture of new brown feathers, starting on the back.
In Kenya, this species can be seen in May-October in birding spot like Lake Baringo, Musiara Swamp, Masai Mara National Reserve, Lake Naivasha , Limuru Oxygenated pond and the seasonal Lake Amboseli and the swamp found in mid-centre of the park.

Yellow-throated Sandgrouse (Pterocles gutturalis)

Yellow-throated Sandgrouse (Pterocles gutturalis)

Photo@Raymond Galea

Yellow-throated Sandgrouse is a sexual diamorphic species The female and male both have a buff-yellow chin and throat. The male is olive-brown and unspotted with a black collar on its foreneck. Upper wing-coverts are tipped with a light cinnamon and flight feathers are blackish brown. highs and belly are a dark chestnut. Females are mottled with fine black bars on their chestnut belly.These monogamous birds are also solitary nesters. They lay two to three eggs during the winter. The female incubates the eggs during the day and the male incubates them at night, for a total of 26 days. The female and male both care for the chicks when they hatch.They are seed and grains eaters.The bird appearing above was photographed inside Ngorongoro Crater.The yellow-throated sandgrouse is the largest of the five Kenyan Sandgrouses.In Kenya it is best seen in areas found in Southern part of the Country around Amboseli, Masai Mara and Tsavo west national park.

Goliath Heron(Ardea goliath)

Goliath Heron

Photo@Yan Van Dainne

Goliath Heron

The Goliath heron is Africa largest heron, standing 53-to-55 inches tall, with a wingspan of six-to-seven feet. Male and female look similar, with an overall covering of slate gray and chestnut feathers. The head and its bushy crest, face, back and sides of the neck are chestnut. The chin, throat, foreneck and upper breast are white, with black streaks across the foreneck and upper breast. The lower breast and belly are buff with black streaks. The upper mandible is black and the lores and orbital areas are yellow with a greenish tinge. The eyes are yellow and legs and feet are black. Juveniles look similar to the adults, but are paler.

The Goliath heron is territorial, usually living alone near water. A diurnal and often rather inactive feeder, the heron hunts by standing in the shallows, or on floating vegetation, intently watching the water at its feet. As prey appears, the heron rapidly spears it with open mandibles.

Goliath heron nests are found in trees overhanging water, on the ground and in low bushes. Both sexes build the stick and reed platform nest, which measures three-to-four feet across. Both parents incubate two-to-four pale blue eggs for 29 days. The chicks are covered with long white down.