Ross’s or Lady Ross as it sometime called is a medium-sized bird, with a long tail and broad, round wings. They have three toes on each foot that point forward, while the fourth toe can be rotated forward or backwards. Males and females differ in that females may have a greenish beak. This Beautiful Turaco is seen in mostly on the western side of Kenya Great Rift Valley mostly in areas around Tugen Hills and El geyo escarpment. Ross’s Turaco is a very social bird, seen mostly moving is a small noisy flock of 2 to 7 birds. They spent most of their time among trees in search for fruits until evening when they nest solitary on a plat form of twigs.It is an easy bird to Identify because nothing else in our region is like it.
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.
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.
This is an adult male fan-tailed widowbird, Euplectes axillaris, a member of the avian family Ploceidae, the weaver birds. One of its cousins is the red-billed quelea, Quelea quelea, the most abundant bird in the world.This species has an extremely large range, so incidence of you spotting it while birding in Kenya is very high. They exhibit sexual dimorphism and female appears brown, with the distinctive red-shoulders which clear when the bird air-bone.
In Kenya this species is mostly seen in Masai Mara, mostly a long the northern part of the reserve around the Musiara Swamp.
The Hammerkop (Scopus umbretta), about the size of a small egret, is entirely brown, with a robust crest which gives its head a hammer-like appearance. This pronounced head crest makes it unmistakable. The bill is long, laterally compressed, blade-like and tipped with a sharp hook. Its legs are strong and endowed with narrowly webbed toes.
This bird is related to the storks but is different enough to be placed in a separate family (Family Scopidae) of which it is the only member species.Perhaps what the hammerkop is knowned for is massive nest built mostly on a tall V-shaped branched acacia tree.Hammerkops feed mostly on frogs,fish and tadpoles, and they also take small crustaceans, grasshoppers, and aquatic insects. They often rest during the day and become active at twilight, when they are most often encountered, often alone. They range throughout Kenya.
Yellow-throated Longclaw is a stocky grassland bird, that has a tendency of up and down when flushed out, exposing the conspicuous white edged tail.When perched the bird has a V-shaped black band white a bright yellow throat.The head and the upper part of the bird is all brown with little white on the upper neck.Young birds appear more buff yellow with band of indistict short streak on the breast.In Kenya it is widely distributed in areas like Aberdare park, Solio Ranch, Nairobi National park and Masai Mara national reserve.
Greater Crested Tern is a prominently crested coastal bird, which appears slightly smaller than Caspian Tern.At rest it appears elongated, with long wings and large pale yellow billed which drops at the tip.On flight the tail appear very forked. A breeding adult has a black cap separated from the bill by a narrow white band. In Kenya it commonly seen a long the coast especially in areas around Sabaki delta, Mida-Creek and Diani Beach.
The Bar-Tailed Trogon is a stunning secretive long tailed forest bird that sits motionless for long periods often high in the canopy.It is similar to the more widespread Narina Trogon found both in Forest and bushlands, but with blue breast band and barred tail.
The Bar-Tailed Trogon has the following features that aid identification.The adult bird has dark green and red plumage with a blue band across the breast.From behind the Bar-Tailed Trogon has a narrow tail with black and white edges while underneath the tail is entirely barred.That’s where it gets its name from.The adult female has dull brown head and breast while the immature ones have pale-tipped wing coverts. Due to its secretive nature, the bird is rarely seen in location like Kakamega forest, Kieni Forest, Mt.Kenya and Aberadare National Park.
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.
Crimson-rumped Waxbill is a typical firefinch type of a bird who most of the time prefer spending its time within the grass top close to wetland habitat.The photo above was taken in Teddy bear Island at Lake Baringo. A Red-rumped waxbill has a slate-grey or black bill. This species is monomophic. Adult bird is warm brown above, with indistinct narrow barring;rumped and upper taile-tailed coverts red;tiled dusky brown, with central feathers tinged crimson, as are the wing-coverts. Broad red streak from bill through the eye. Juvenile bird is similar to an adult bird but lacks red streak through the eye.