Blue-cheeked Bee-Eater (Merops p. persicus)

Blue-cheeked Bee-Eater (Merops p. persicus)

photo@Yan Van Duinne

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater is a long tailed, bright green bee-eater with black mask, mostly white forehead,green crown and pale blue or whitish superciliary and cheek stripes conspicuously brighter than surrounding green plumage; yellow chin merges with russet throat. Underside of the wings coppery rufous. First winter birds are duller, more olive than adult, and sometimes retaining pale-edged juvenile feathers ;forehead green, narrowly yellowish bill; chin pale yellowish buff grading into rufous-buff throat patch.
Regular palearctic migrant of late October-early April at lake Victoria and Baringo which is the best place to see them in huge number

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.

Saiwa Swamp National Park, Kenya Bird Watching

In a recent tour to Saiwa Swamp National Park I managed to spot over 70 species of bird in a period of 48 hours. I stayed at the a self-catering Tree Top House which was quite unique. Just after I checked in, from the balcony, I had brilliant view of a female Sitatunga with a young baby!! That was the better way to begin birding and in a few minutes of observation I had recorded: Little Rush Warbler, Grey-crowned Crane and Chubb’s Cisticola. That evening I did a long walk to platform (Tower) 4 where I was lucky enough to see the male Sitatunga and Yellow-billed Duck. The next day I hiked to Tower 5 route, Acacia Nature trails and Bushback observatory tower. It will be unfair not to mentioned the great view I had of a group of endagred De Brazza monkey and the curious looking Colobus Monkey. It is indeed a great place to spend a weekend and as for birders and Twitchers, it is a must visit place.

Below is the list of birds I observed:

Bird List for Saiwa Swamp National Park seen on 28th to 30th October 2011

  1. Long-tailed Cormorant
  2. Little Bittern
  3. Goliath Heron
  4. Grey Heron
  5. Yellow-billed StorkYellow-Billed Stork
  6. Hamerkop
  7. Sacred Ibis
  8. Hadada Ibis
  9. Yellow-billed Duck
  10. Great Sparrow hawk
  11. African Hawk-Eagle
  12. Long-crested Eagle
  13. Grey-crowned CraneGrey-crowned Crane
  14. Spur-winged Lapwing
  15. Common Sandpiper
  16. Blue-spotted wood-Dove
  17. Tambourine Dove
  18. Ring-necked Dove
  19. Ross’s Turaco
  20. Black-and-white Cuckoo
  21. African Cuckoo
  22. Klaa’s  Cuckoo
  23. African Emerald Cuckoo
  24. Blue-headed Coucal
  25. Woodland Kingfisher
  26. Malachite Kingfisher
  27. Lilac-breasted Roller
  28. Crowned Hornbill
  29. Yellow-rumped  Tinkerbird
  30. Lesser Honeyguide
  31. Cape Wagtail
  32. African pied Wagtail
  33. Yellow-whiskered Greenbul
  34. Cabanis’s Greenbul
  35. White-headed Saw-wing
  36. White-starred Robin
  37. Grey-winged Robin-Chat
  38. African Thrush
  39. Little Rush Warbler
  40. Cinnamon Bracken Warbler
  41. Chubb’s Cisticola
  42. Tawny-flanked Prinia
  43. Grey-capped Warbler
  44. Grey-backed Camaroptera
  45. Black-collared Apalis
  46. African Dusky Flycatcher
  47. Swamp Flycatcher
  48. Black-throated Wattle-eye
  49. African Paradise-flycatcher
  50. Yellow White-eye
  51. Green-headed Sunbird
  52. Northern Double-collared Sunbird
  53. Green-throated Sunbird
  54. Ludhers’s Bush-shrike
  55. Pringle’s Puffback
  56. Marsh Tchagra
  57. Forked-tailed Drongo
  58. Eurasian Golden Oriole
  59. Lesser Blue-eared Starling
  60. Grey-headed Sparrow
  61. Grosbeak Weaver
  62. Northern Brown-throated Weaver
  63. Fan-tailed Widowbird
  64. Yellow-mantled Widowbird
  65. Black-bellied Firefinch
  66. African Firefinch
  67. Common Waxbill
  68. Black-crowned Waxbill
  69. Pin-tailed Whydah
  70. Thick-billed Seedeater
Birding in Saiwa Swamp
Birding from Tree Top House in Saiwa Swamp National Park