January 8, 2012: Lilac-Breasted Roller (Coracias caudata)

The average size of the Lilac Breasted Roller is 14.5 inches, including the tail streamers. The washed green head is large, the neck is short, the greenish yellow legs are rather short and the feet are small. The beak is strong, arched and hooked-tipped. The tail is narrow and of medium length. The back and scapulars are brown. The shoulder of the wing, outer webs of the flight feathers and the rump are all violet. The bases of the primaries and their coverts are pale greenish blue and the outer tail feathers are elongated and blackish. The chin is whitish, shading to rich lilac of the breast. The underparts are greenish blue. The bill is black and the eyes are brown. It has large wings and strong flight.

Lilac-breasted roller is most cases seen hunting for its food which may range from grasshoppers, beetles and small amphibians. Great photographic chances are found when the bird is foraging in the ground.

It is the most commonly seen roller. It well distributed in Samburu, Lake Baringo and Bogoria, Nakuru, Masai Mara, Amboseli, Nairobi and Tsavo National Park.

December 6, 2011: Eastern Paradise Whydah

The Eastern Paradise Whydah is a small, widely occurring bird of eastern Africa. It gathers in flocks but separates into pairs during the mating season.Easten Paradise Whydah is a species specific brood parasite with its target being the Green-winged pytilia.

This bird is both dichromatic and dimorphic during the breeding season. When in “breeding mode”, the male has black plumage along its back and tail, with a yellow nape and chestnut colored lower breast and belly. It also grows new long- tail feathers. During the non-breeding season, it loses its striking black and yellow coloration, becoming brownish in color with black streaks on its head. The female has grayish, black-streaked upper-parts with a brown-colored head. Its breast is pale gray and its belly is white.

Eastern Paradise Whydah

The Eastern Paradise Whydah feeds on grass seeds such as millet and wild oats, but will occasionally take termites and grubs.

It inhabits dry thorn scrub and open or woodland savannahs throughout eastern Africa. Fairly common after heavy rains both as a resident and a wonderer , appearing usually near watering areas. Well distributed in the  area of  Samburu, Meru, Lokichokio, Turkana, Tsavo and Amboseli National park.

November 16, 2011: Slender-tailed nightjar

Slender-tailed nightjar is a common and widespread species in dry areas below 2000 metres above the sea level. Very similar to Gabon (Square-tailed) nightjar, but the tail is often paler and greyer, with central rectrices extending beyond the others.

It has a habit of flying low and alights on bare ground, rock or stump, often flying only on a short distance after being flashed. Commonly hawks insects around lights. It sings from the ground or from a low tree. Roosts on ground under scrub cover.

The Slender-tailed nightjar is common and widespread resident in dry bush and ranges throughout the coastal lowland, Rift Valley, Meru and Tsavo National Park.

Slender-tailed nightjar