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.

 

 

Taita Apalis (Apalis fuscigularis)

photo@Michael Sammut

Taita Apalis (Apalis fuscigularis), a Critically Endangered bird endemic to patches of natural forest in the Taita Hills of Southern Kenya. The entire world range of the Taita Apalis is less than 500 ha (5 km²).

The Taita Hills of South Eastern Kenya are the northernmost reach of the Eastern Arc, one of the world’s 34 biodiversity hotspots (Mittermeier et al. 2004). Human impact is strong in the Taita, where deforestation hits 95% or more (Rogo & Oguge, 2000). The Taita are one of the key sites for biodiversity conservation in Kenya, with numerous endemic plants, vertebrates and invertebrates.

African Hawk Eagle (Aquila spilogaster)

Photo@Michael Sammut

African Hawk Eagle (Aquila spilogaster) are large birds of Prey  that occur naturally in Kenya, where they inhabit wooded hills.In Kenya they mostly seen in birding hot spot like Masai Mara,Tsavo West and East,Nairobi National Park,Hell’s Gate, and Lake Nakuru National Park.

African Hawk Eagles are large eagles that measure about 55 – 65cm in length.The plumage above is blackish. Below they are mostly white, heavily streaked with black. Theunderwing feathers are white with a black trailing edge. The wings below are blackish with white spots.Males and females look alike, but young birds are brown above and rufous colored below.

Their large platform nests are built out of sticks and are about 3 meters in diameter.They are typically placed in the forks of large trees.The average clutch consists of one or two eggs.

Black-headed Lapwing (Vanellus tectus)

Photo@Michael Sammut

The Black-headed Plover or Black-headed Lapwing (Vanellus tectus) is a species of wading bird of the family Charadriidae. It is found across sub-Saharan Africa.In Kenya specifically, it is found in areas like Tsavo West and East,Lake Baringo, Lake Bogoria,Samburu and Meru National Park. Although not migratory, there is some seasonal movement. Its habitat is wet lowlands close to water. It often feeds in drier habitats, such grassy scrubland.

This bird is readily noticeable and unmistakable. It is medium-large with a mainly black head and white forehead. The lower face and bands across the rear head and nape are also white. The crest is a weak black. The bill and legs are red. The tail is white and tipped black. In flight, the upperwings have black flight feathers and brown coverts separated by a white bar. The underwings are white with black flight feathers.

The diet of the Black-headed Plover consists of insects and other invertebrates that is picked from the ground. The call is a metallic tink-tink.

 

 

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.

Vulturine Guineafowl ((Acryllium vulturinum))

c@Joseph Aengwo

 Vulturine Guineafowl is Large, unmistakable guineafowl; the bare skin of the head and neck is bluish-gray with a band of short chestnut feathers that extends behind the eyes on the back of the head; long, white striped plumes extend from the breast and back; the upper back and breast is brilliant blue, with a black patch on the center of the chest; wings and rear half of body spotted with a long, drooping tail. Females are similar to the males, but slightly smaller and have smaller tarsal spurs. Chicks much like other guineafowl, but develop light blue underparts in a few weeks.Common in dry savanna and scrub land of northeastern Kenya.This photo was taken in Samburu National Reserve.