Northern Red Bishop (Euplectes franciscanus)

Northern Red Bishop (Euplectes franciscanus)

Photo@Yan Van Danne

Northern Red-Bishop is have sexual dimorphism. Breeding Males has bright red back all the down to the tail, with wing panels being dark brown. The the front head to the face is black with a all black belly.

The male have eclipse plumage when not breeding in order to remain inconspicuous-at this time they resemble the drab female.This dimorphism is indicative of polygymous, colonial breeding species with intense reproductive competition-male taking a number of mates (up to eight) simultaneously or consecutively without offereing assistance in incubation or check-rearing.

He does however protect the territory vigorously from conspecific males. Males display to female with what  is called the “bumble flight” where the back and head feathers are fluffed-giving them the appearance of a bumb-bee. Female feed the chicks by regurgitation.

Locally common in grassland, savanna and wetland in the Rift Valley around the Lakes of Baringo and Bogoria

Birds of PreyTheir shad…

Birds of Prey

Their shadow dims the sunshine of our day,
As they go lumbering across the sky,
Squawking in joy of feeling safe on high,
Beating their heavy wings of owlish gray.
They scare the singing birds of earth away
As, greed-impelled, they circle threateningly,
Watching the toilers with malignant eye,
From their exclusive haven–birds of prey.
They swoop down for the spoil in certain might,
And fasten in our bleeding flesh their claws.
They beat us to surrender weak with fright,
And tugging and tearing without let or pause,
They flap their hideous wings in grim delight,
And stuff our gory hearts into their maws.

by: Claude McKay (1889-1948)

25 March, 2012:Red-and-Yellow Barbet (Trachyphonus erythrocephalus)

25 March, 2012:Red-and-Yellow Barbet (Trachyphonus erythrocephalus)

Photo@Jurg Hosang

Red-and-Yellow Barbet like so all the other species of Barbet that I have come across are creatures of distinctive beauty. Barbet are closely related to tinkerbirds, woodpecckers,   honeyguides  and wrynecks. They are usually found alone or pairs.

This Barbet has a strong red billed, which is hooked and the face is generally red with bright white eared patches. The nominate race which is generally common is boldly white spotted above, with a black and white  speckled band across the yellow breast, yellow-white tail spots, and boldly barred outer tail feathers; rump yellow, upper tail coverts red and yellow; and under tail coverts red and yellow tips.

Very social species and always prefer hanging around termite mounds where they both derive their food stuff and build their nest is circular holes.

Locally common and widespread in dry bush,  savanna  and woodland scrub of Kerio Valley, Lake Baringo, Lake Bogoria , Meru national park, Olorgesaillie and Magadi road.

Trip Report: January 25 – February 8, 2012

Hello my fellow birders!

I’ve finally posted my trip report under Birding Trip Reports for January 25 – February 8, 2012. I will be updating it with photos shortly.

Here is an excerpt from the report! Click the link above to view the full report.

Trip Leader Joseph Aengwo

Participants: 5 Clients

Bird Species Recorded: 445

Animal Species: 34

For many bird people across the globe, the beginning of the year is a wonderful time. Yearly lists can start anew, and who knows what the next twelve months will bring? While rarities whet the appetite of any birder, the expected birds are much more frequently counted. And this was not any different for us when we started our 14 days birding trip that took us to birding hotspot found in eastern and coastal part of Kenya.

There were of course numerous avian highlights during our grand tour of that part of the country and of the nine or ten Kenyan endemics we encountered four, namely;

  1. Taita Thrush
  2. Taita Apalis
  3. Taita White-eye
  4. Clarke’s Weaver

We also saw rarities and restricted-range species such as:

  1. Sokoke Scops Owl
  2. Friedmann’s Lark
  3. Malindi and Sokoke Pipits
  4. Golden Palm and Taveta Golden Weavers

Of the other near-endemics and specials rarely recorded on other tours we also managed to record the following:

  1. Somali Ostrich
  2. Mountain Buzzard
  3. Shelley’s Francolin
  4. Vulturine Guineafowl
  5. Somali Courser
  6. Sooty Gull
  7. Black-faced Sandgrouse
  8. Fischer’s and Hartlaub’s Turacos
  9. African Barred Owlet
  10. Montane Nightjar
  11. White-headed Mousebird
  12. Eastern Green Tinkerbird
  13. Brown-breasted, White-eared, Red-and-yellow and D’Arnaud’s Barbets
  14. Pallid Honeyguide
  15. Mombasa and African Grey-headed Woodpeckers
  16. Fawn-coloured, Pink-breasted and Red-winged Larks
  17. Fischer’s Sparrow Lark
  18. Golden Pipit
  19. Pangani Longclaw
  20. Stripe-cheeked Fischer’s and Tiny Greenbuls
  21. Northern Brownbul, Dodson’s Bulbul, Scaly and Northern Pied Babblers
  22. East Coast Akalat
  23. Ashy Cisticolas
  24.   Quil-Plover
  25. Somali Long-billed and White-browed Crombecs
  26.   Red-throated Tit
  27. Little Yellow Flycatcher
  28. Forest Batis Long-tailed
  29. Taita  Fiscal
  30. Three-streaked Tchagra
  31. Black-fronted Bush-shrike and Rosy-patched Bush-shrikes,
  32. East Coast Boubou
  33. Hildebrandt’s,  Fischer’s and Magpie Starlings
  34. Plain-backed, Amani, Eastern Olive, Mouse-coloured, Hunter’s, Tsavo Purple-banded Sunbird,
  35.  Parrot-billed,
  36. Kenya Rufous Sparrow
  37. Zanzibar Red Bishop
  38. Jackson’s Widowbird
  39. Black-cheeked Waxbill
  40. African Silverbill
  41. Village Indigobird
  42. Steel-blue and Straw-tailed Whydahs
  43. African Citril and White-bellied  Canary

March 19, 2012: Giant Kingfisher (Megaceryle maxima)

March 19, 2012: Giant Kingfisher (Megaceryle maxima)

Photo@Joseph Aengwo

Giant Kingfisher is a crow-sized kingfisher, dark-crested,with white throat and a large black bill.Upper part of this beautiful bird is dark slate, finely spotted and barred with white.This species also exhibit sexual dimorphism with male having chestnut breast, white belly and black-and-white-barred flanks.Female is chestnut bellied, with densely black-and-white-speckled breast .

This bird is widely distributed in Kenya and can easily be seen in rivers, swamps and lakes.Areas where it is commonly seen include Subukia, Nyahururu, Lake Naivasha, Baringo and Kitobo forest which close to the Kenya-Tanzania border.

March 11, 2012: Red-Necked Falcon (Falco chicquera)

March 11, 2012: Red-Necked Falcon (Falco chicquera)

Photo@Yan Von Danne

This rare  norrow-winged, Kestrel-sized falcon typically associated with Palm tree.It can easily be identified from its Red-rufous crown that extend all the way to the scapular. This beautiful raptor has a white face, chin and the upper breast, with broad pale rufoous band across upper breast.Pale blue-grey above with fine black barring;primaries and primary covert darker. The wings are pretty short compared to typical falcons like Peregrine.

Uncommon in low open country, especially with palms and acacia of Galana river, Meru and Samburu national park, Lake Turkana and the coastal part of Kenya.This photo was taken by a friend of mine in Samburu National Reserve.

3 March, 2012:Rosy-Patched Bush Shrike (Rhodophoneus cruentus)


Photo@Joseph Aengwo

Rosy-patched Bush Shrike is a beautiful bird!it is locally  common in bushed grassland, bushland and scrub in arid and semi-arid plateau country up to altitude of about 1600 meter.Two races occur, apparently without intergrades: hilgerti in northern and eastern Kenya from Turkana, Ileret, Marsabit and Moyale to Baragoi, Isiolo and Athi .While the race Cathemagmena is in south Kenya in areas around Tsavo west and East National park.

While birding in those areas mentioned, this bird should be hard to see as they always like singing on top scrub bushes.They are never shy as such.