Greater Sand Plover (Charadrius leschenaultii

Greater Sand Plover (Charadrius leschenaultii

Photo@Joe.Aengwo

Although it has a relatively dull appearance for most of the year, the Greater Sand Plover’s plumage changes during the breeding season. At this time, the crown changes from greyish-brown to a dull brick red, as does the white breast, and the small feathers that cover the ear region change colour from a dusky grey to black. The chin and throat remain white throughout the year, while the nape and forehead are a greyish-brown colour all year round.
The greater sand plover is a carnivorous species that varies its diet seasonally; during the breeding season it feeds mainly on terrestrial insects and their larvae, especially preying on midges, ants, beetles and termites, but also occasionally hunting larger animals such as lizards. During the non-breeding season, the greater sand plover mainly eats marine invertebrates, such as snails, worms, crabs and shrimp. Usually feeding at low tide on wet ground, just away from the water’s edge, the greater sand plover detects and catches prey with the help of good eyesight and the ability to sprint over short distances. A sociable species, the greater sand plover often feeds and roosts in flocks. It typically feeds in flocks of between two and fifty individuals but sometimes congregates in groups as large as one thousand whilst roosting, which is mainly done on sand bars at high tide.
The bird above was photographed at Mida-Creek, when the tide was low and the bird was in mixture of species like Crab Plover, Lesser Sand Plover, Eurasian Curlew, Whimbrel and White-fronted Plover. All my records on this species were in Mida-creek, Watamu.

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Birding in Kenya only remnant tropical Rain Forest, Kakamega.

Birding in Kenya only remnant tropical Rain Forest, Kakamega.

Photo@Joe.Aengwo

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Birding Team 2014!

Birding Team 2014!

Photo@Joe.Aengwo

Leis, Herbert, Joke and Koos are clients we hosted for 20 days birding trip in Kenya and Northern Tanzania. It was a productive trip in terms of species listed. Check out for our trip report which will be posted soon on this blog!Cheers.

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African Pygmy Kingfisher (Ispidina picta)

African Pygmy Kingfisher (Ispidina picta)

Photo@Yan Van Duine

African Pygmy Kingfisher is a small insectivorous kingfisher found mostly in woodland habitats and not necessarily restricted to wetland.In Kenya, its range widespread in bushland of Lake Baringo, Kerio Vallye,Samburu,Meru and Nakuru National and southern parks of Amboseli, Tsavo East and West. Its habitat range from woodland habitats, savannas and riverine forests, but also scrublands, grasslands, open rivers and streams, coastal bushes, plantations and gardens.The dark blue crown of the adult separates it from the African Dwarf Kingfisher. The smaller size and violet wash on the ear coverts distinguish it from the similar Malachite Kingfisher.

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Madagascar Pond Heron (Ardeola idae)

Madagascar Pond Heron (Ardeola idae)

Photo@Raymond Galea

The Malagasy Pond Heron is a buff brown streaked small heron, and when breeding is snow white with a blue bill and red legs.In nonbreeding plumage the crown and back of head are buff, broadly streaked black. The bill is green grey with a black tip. The irises are yellow and the lores are green. The sides of the head and throat are yellow buff streaked narrowly with blackish-brown. The upper and lower back is brown with white or buff streaks. The rump and tail are white. Upper wings are brown with white or buff streaks. The flight feathers, in contrast, are white and are conspicuous in flight. Underparts are heavily streaked black and buff brown, contrasting with the lower belly and under tail coverts. The legs are green yellow or green grey.

In the breeding season the Malagasy Pond Heron becomes entirely snow white. The crown has a dense crest. Dense plumes also occur on the back of the neck, back, fore neck and breast. These give the bird a characteristic fluffy appearance. The bill is a deep azure blue with a black tip. The irises are yellow and the lores are green with some red on the orbital skin. The legs are rose pink, with green toes. The intermediate plumage is a mixture of new brown feathers, starting on the back.
In Kenya, this species can be seen in May-October in birding spot like Lake Baringo, Musiara Swamp, Masai Mara National Reserve, Lake Naivasha , Limuru Oxygenated pond and the seasonal Lake Amboseli and the swamp found in mid-centre of the park.

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Scarlet-Tufted Malachite Sunbird (Nectarinia johnstoni)

Scarlet-Tufted Malachite Sunbird (Nectarinia johnstoni)

Photo@Stratton Hatfield

Scarlet-tufted Malachite Sunbird are endemic to the alphine zones of East Africa mountains. In Kenya, they are exclusively restricted to the moorlands of Mt.Kenya and Aberdare National Parks.They feed exclusively on the nectar of Lobelia telekii flowers.Males are resident on their territories all year and defend Lobelia telekii inflorescenes from conspecifics.Males are bright iridescent green, with scarlet pectral tufts which are displayed prominently during aggressive interactions with other males.

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Brown-crowned Tchagra (Tchagra australis

Brown-crowned Tchagra (Tchagra australis

Photo@ Raymond Galea

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