The squacco heron is a migrant, wintering in Kenya. This is a stocky species with a short neck, short thick bill and buff-brown back. In summer, adults have long neck feathers. Its appearance is transformed in flight, when it looks very white due to the colour of the wings. The squacco heron’s breeding plumage is recognized by sky blue bill as clearly seen in the photo above with a black tip. It prefers marshy wetlands as a breeding site. The birds nest in small colonies, often with other wading birds, usually on platforms of sticks in trees or shrubs. This species being a terrestrial bird, is mostly seen in lakes, river valleys, swamps and other permanent or temporary freshwater wetlands in Kenya Rift Valley, Lake Victoria rice fields, Central highland ponds and on both north east and south cost of Kenya.
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
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.
Crested Guinea fowl has a wide range in Kenya and northern Tanzania. In Kenya it is found mostly in western tropical rain forest remnant of Kakamega forest and Lake Manyara national park in Northern Tanzania, Body plumage is much like a typhical Guinea Fowl, with whitish spot; most recognizable features is the short, curly “mop” of black feathers on the head, the rest of the head and neck are bare with blue skin, red skin arond the eyes and on the neck;eyes are red;legs dark brown to black.The species is mono morphic.
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), 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) 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.
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.
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 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.