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.

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.

Northen white-faced scops Owl

Photo@Yan Van Duinne

The Northern White-Faced Scops Owl is a smallish owl easily recognizable by its very striking white facial disc, with a border of black plumage. It has large, bright orange eyes, which are also surrounded with black. (Juveniles have greyish plumage on their faces, and their eyes are yellow). These owls have prominent ear-tufts. Bigger than the Scops Owl, they are on average 25cms in height, weighing around 200gms. The feathers of their upper parts are mostly pale grey: their under parts are lighter and more streaked. The female of the species is larger than the male.Like so many other species of owl, northern white faced scops owl is a nocturnal. In Kenya they are found in Samburu and Baffalo springs  National reserve , Meru National Park, Kerio Valley, Lake Baringo and Bogoria .

This species is found singly or in pairs. The female will lay a clutch of 2 or 3 eggs in the old stick-nests of many other bird species, including small raptors such as goshawks and kites – or even herons, dove or crow’s nests. If these are not available, they will nest in natural tree holes. The 30 day incubation is mainly by the female, although the male may assist. Young chicks will start to fly at roughly 33 days, leaving the nest area two weeks thereafter.

Crested Guinea Fowl (Guttera pucherani)

Photo@Raymond Galea

Crested Guinea fowl has a wide range in Kenya and northern Tanzania. In Kenya it is found mostly in western tropical rain forest remnant of Kakamega forest and Lake Manyara national park in Northern Tanzania, Body plumage is much like a typhical Guinea Fowl, with whitish spot; most recognizable features is the short, curly “mop” of black feathers on the head, the rest of the head and neck are bare with blue skin, red skin arond the eyes and on the neck;eyes are red;legs dark brown to black.The species is mono morphic.

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.

 

 

Hottentot Teal (Anas hottentota)

c@kelemen marton

The Hottentot Teal is a species of dabbling duck of the genus Anas. It is migratory resident in eastern Africa.The Hottentot teal is known for its black-capped head and distinctive blue bill. The duck’s body is speckled brown and black, with black wings.

Monogamous, territorial solitary nester. Interestingly, the pair bond barely lasts beyond incubation, with the male having almost no role in incubation and care of chicks.The female builds the nest, which is a deep bowl in the ground, filled with grass and leaves, often lined with down. It is usually placed in emergent vegetation near water.Laying dates vary with different regions, but usually in February-May.It lays 5-12 eggs, in successive days.Incubation is done solely by the female, for 25-27 days. She will sometimes leave the nest, to join the male in feeding and preening.The chicks are kept hidden in thick reedbeds, which makes them difficult to see. They fledge when they are about 60-65 days old.

Widespread all over Kenya in Swamps like Manguo, Lake Nakuru, Lake Baringo,Lake Bogoria and Lake Naivasha.

Black-faced Sandgrouse (Pterocles decoratus)

Image

The sandgrouse are distributed across northern, southern and eastern Kenya, Specifically in desert and semi-arid areas of Samburu, Meru, Marsabit, Turkana,Lake Baringo,Tsavo west and east, and Amboseli

Sandgrouse have compact bodies, but small, pigeon-like heads and necks. The different species range in length from 24 – 40 cm and weigh from 150 – 500 g.

Males and females look alike, Some species are also polymorphic .

They have long pointed wings and short legs that are feathered down to the toes, and members of the genus Syrrhaptes also have feathered toes.

Sandgrouse mostly feed on seed and are often seen in large feeding flocks with up to 100 birds.

Sandgrouse are monogamous (form life-long pair bonds). They make their nest on a slight depression in the ground. The average clutch consists of 2 eggs, occasionally up to 4. The male and female share the incubation duties; with the male incubating during the night and early mornings, and the female taking over during the day.

The young hatch after about 20 – 25 days; and are able soon able to leave the nest.

They are able to feed themselves from the day they hatch, but have to learn foraging skills from their parents for several months.