Hartlaub’s Turaco (Tauraco hartlaubi)

DSCN0894Hartlaub's TuracoHartlaub's Turaco photo

Hartlaub’s Turaco is a beautiful bird to watch!!! it will surely take your breath away if at all you are seeing it for first time. Hartlaub’s  Turaco dominates the montane forest of Kenya with its range slightly extending to Northern Tanzania and Western Uganda in East Africa.

Hartlaub’s turaco is a spectacularly patterned, medium-sized bird with a strong, curved bill, short, rounded wings and a rather long tail. The vivid plumage of Hartlaub’s turaco, is a product of two unique copper pigments, unknown in any other bird family, or indeed in any other animal group. The adult has a bushy, blue-black crest and a conspicuous red eye-ring, with a distinctive white patch immediately in front of the eye and a white line beneath the eye. Much of the upper body, including the neck, mantle, throat and breast is silky green, while the lower back, folded wings, and tail are an iridescent violet-blue, Visible only in flight, the flight feathers are a striking crimson. Like all Turacos, the feet of Hartlaub’s turaco have a special joint that allows the outer toe to move either forward or backward, an attribute that enables these birds to move acutely through vegetation.

Best location to look for this species in Kenya includes, Mt. Kenya forest reserve, Aberdare National Park, Nairobi National Park, Taita and Tugen Hills. In Kenya , other than the Hartlaub’s  Turaco, we have have Great Blue and Black-billed Turaco restricted to Kakamega tropical rain forest. Others are Ross’s, Purple-crested, Schalow’s, and Fisher’s Turaco.

 

Northern crombec (Sylvietta brachyura)

Northern Crombec (Sylvietta brachyura)_20180110_082131_75702
Photo by Juhani Vilpo

Northern Crombec is a species of African Warbler. This species is listed on IUCN red list as a near threatened species, but is evaluated as least concern. This species as an incredible short tailed, that sometimes you might tempted to assume that is has no tail. This crombec construct deep pocket shaped nests suspended from a branch and is mostly made of cob web materials .

This is commonly seen alone or in a small group of upto 5 species, but they also found feeding in a mixed flock of species. In Kenya it can easily be seen in arid and semi-arid areas of Samburu national reserve, Lake Baringo, Lake Bogoria, Tsavo East and West national 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.

Friedmann’s Lark (Mirafra pulpa)

Friedmann's Lark (Mirafra pulpa)

Photo@Joseph Aengwo

Friedmann’s Lark is a rare bird resembling Singing Bush Lark but more richly coloured and more heavily streaked above, especially on nape and upper back, streaking enhanced in fresh plumage by broad pale feather edges; superciliary stripes somewhat  less prominent . Singing birds readily distinguished vocally and y prominent white throat. Gregarious territorial birds share habitat with Singing Bush Lark, Red-winged and Flappet Lark.It has a tendency of elevating crown feathers when singing, leaning forwards and fluffing out  the white throat. Tsavo West and East National Park are the only places you have an high chance of seeing them.