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.

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.

Vitelline Masked Weaver ( Ploceus vitellinus)

Vitelline Masked Weaver ( Ploceus vitellinus)

Photo@Tony Crocetta

Vitelline Masked Weaver is a common wevar that is at home in and around habitat in the dry acacia belt. It is a species that is similar to large Black-headed Weaver, but can be easily separated given a good view. Although both species have red-eyes and warm-chestnut border to their black faced-mask, the black on the male Vitelline’s head does not extend onto the crown or down onto the breast, and it’s back does not have strong black “tramline” as in Black-headed Weaver.
The female Vitalline shows a pale narrow bill compared to the dark, heavy bill of the female Black-headed weaver, and the breast and flanks are generally a warm buff contrasting with a white belly.
In Kenya huge concentration of this species can be recorded in dry areas a round Lake Bogoria and Baringo, Kerio Valley, Samburu National reserve, Meru National Park and Tsavo West and East Parks.

White-browed Scrub Robin (Erythropygia leucophrys)

White-browed Scrub Robin (Erythropygia leucophrys)@Michael Sammut

For the last two weeks, a pair of White-browed Scrub Robin have been nesting very close to my house! I have been observing them carefully and indeed I am impressed by the intelligence!!The timing of the breeding period is incredible, in the middle of a big rainy  season  and there was plenty of insect, which meant the young one will not go hungry  and I supplied them with a bath bowel in form of a modified stone which they like it a lot.The good news is two days ago, the eggs were hatched and  two chicks with a bright cream- white gape.This morning when I visited them in the nest, the chicks were developing fast and their tiny bodies were covered by feather.I wish them well as they continue with their parental responsibilities which up to now, they seem to be doing it perfectly.

Red-backed Scrub Robin, as this species is sometimes refered Lives mainly in the woodlands and savannah with thickets and tall grass. Fairly common resident in much of arid and semi-arid areas of East Africa. This small bird is light brown with darker streaks above. The rump is bright brown to orange; the tail is blackish tipped with white. Below it is white streaked with black. The eyes are reddish brown, the bill blackish brown and the legs and feet are pinkish brown it nests from September to January in building a bulky cup of course material near the ground in a grass tuft, shrub or thick clump of vegetation. The cup is lined with finer material. It usually lays three eggs, which are coloured white spotted with light brown and grey. Will foraging for its prey on the ground and takes insects in flight. The food consists of insects and spiders as well as berries and nectar.

Common in Lake Baringo and Bogoria, Tsavo West and East, Amboseli, Meru National park and Samburu National Reserve.Mostly call on top on trees parched.

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.