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2006, Tanzania Birding Trip Reports


Wildlife & Birding in the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater and beyond

February 4th – 17th, 2006

A Privately Arranged Tour For Charles and David Alexander & Christina Tarasczuk

Daily Trip Notes


February 4th: Travel to Kilimanjaro via Amsterdam. We all met in Amsterdam (Peter having arrived from Glasgow, Chris, David and Alex having been on a long overnight flight from the USA). It was a not very special and quite uneventful (but on time) flight of 8-9 hours to Tanzania, arriving at 8.50pm. Geitan, our local driver/guide was there to meet us and he drove us off in the dark African night to our accommodation. After Mountain Village had mucked about with our “confirmed” booking, we had been transferred to a brand new, small lodge called Arumeru River Lodge, which looked fine on arrival.


February 5th: Arusha National Park. A bit of pre-breakfast birding this morning proved very worthwhile and put this lodge very definitely on the map of good places to stay for birders. Highly localised Taveta Golden-Weavers were showing well in the pleasant grounds along with Grosbeak Weavers in the damp patches and papyrus stands. Another good and local species, Brown-breasted Barbet, was present and Grey Crowned-Cranes, a fly-over Crowned Eagle and other bits and pieces made it a great start. After a good breakfast our safari began with much of the day in beautiful Arusha National Park. It was a completely clear, bright, sunny morning with the rugged peaks of Mt. Meru (14,979 ft.), and the highest peak in Africa, Mt. Kilimanjaro, both showing extraordinarily well. Once in this small jewel of a park (having seen Lizard Buzzard en route) we made a bee-line for the forested slopes of Mt. Meru and the huge drive-through Fig Tree Arch. We concentrated on the birdlife and mammals special to the forest of Mahogany, Fig, Cedar, and Wild Mango and which we are less likely to find elsewhere. We found Black-and-White Colobus and Blue (Sykes) Monkeys quite quickly, and on our return in the afternoon had splendid looks at Red (Harvey’s) Duiker and Bushbuck. The forest birds were not always co-operative. Fleeting views of Brown Woodland Warbler and Hartlaub’s Turaco were all we got from playback of several different species’ calls. However, in the afternoon the forest did yield up great looks at Brown-hooded Kingfisher and Narina Trogon. A picnic was taken in a campsite where, as we arrived a Leopard was leaving! Geitan saw most of it, I saw its tail, the others saw nothing. The afternoon was well spent driving out onto more open areas and around the Momella Lakes – small saline lakes full of gaudy Lesser and Greater Flamingos. The area this year is suffering from lack of rains and it was quite dusty on the tracks. One sign of impending rains were flowering Fireball Lilies, looking very odd, lush and exotic amidst the tinder-dry scrub. But here we managed to sort out our first two Cisticola species – Singing and Trilling side by side. At the lake edge acacias was another flurry of activity with my first ever African Moustached Warbler for this tour in 12 years along with Yellow-bellied Apalis, Red-faced Crombec and more. All the while we pondered the many bizarre Giraffes browsing acacia, and adding a surreal air to the landscape. We were back at the lodge by 6.15pm, met for birdlist and dinner at 7.15pm and were away to bed after futile owl calling by 9.30pm.


February 6th: To Lake Manyara. We had a brief wander around the lodge before breakfast, but didn’t turn up anything new. We departed at 8.45am for Arusha, stopping briefly to get cash out of an ATM, before heading westwards along the good new paved roads to Lake Manyara National Park. We were there by late morning, having travelled across very dry country, and we spent much of the remainder of the day here. Manyara is a small Park centered around a soda lake directly below an impressive Rift Valley escarpment. Even though the year was dry and the lake seems to be diminishing in size every year, it is still a magnet for waterbirds and migrants. We saved this till last though, wandering through other distinctive habitats of lush fig forest and acacia woodland first until lunchtime and beyond. We began seeing a few new mammals such as African Elephants and Wildebeest, plus the inevitable large groups of raucous Olive Baboons. On entering the Park we were first in the lush forest fed by streams rising through the base of the Rift Valley cliffs. This cooler, shadier area was lingered in as we tried in vain for Purple-crested Turacos – finding plenty of Silvery-cheeked Hornbills as consolation.


At the lunch stop with its great viewpoint were many classic, widespread dry acacia scrub birds such as Red & Yellow Barbets, Rattling Cisticolas, and Vitelline (African) Masked Weavers. More unusual finds here were Mocking Cliff Chat and my first ever Barred Warblers in Tanzania. We went back along the open edges of the forest fringing where the lake edge used to be. Large and very dark examples of Giraffes stood about in the searing midday heat. Red-backed and Isabelline (Rufous-tailed) Shrikes hunted, and occasional Elephants wandered through the battered acacia forest where so many trees seemed damaged and knocked over by them in this time of drought prior to any meaningful rains. There were large concentrations of waterbirds at the accessible viewing points where freshwater fed into the lake. Centre stage though were two immense Hippopotami fully out in the sun, wallowing in the shallows feeding just feet away from us: some of the finest views I’ve ever had. The backdrop of birds was brilliant. Marabou and Yellow-billed Storks, Great White and Pink-backed Pelicans, Sacred & Glossy Ibises, African Spoonbills, scarce Black Herons, Spur-winged Goose, Comb Duck, Hottentot Teal, Fulvous and White-faced Whistling-Ducks, plus masses of shorebirds including Collared Pratincoles, Spur-winged, Crowned, Blacksmith and Long-toed Plovers. Another super find here was a single bright Northern Carmine Bee-eater amidst gorgeous Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters. We wended our way back to the main gate by 6pm, notching up new birds all the way, before heading off across dusty bare plains dotted with Maasai to the haven of Eunoto Retreat tucked away beneath the Rift Valley slopes. Settled into our spacious rooms we had a good evening meal, watched locals performing acrobatics and Maasai dances and worked out plans for a leisurely morning birding around here tomorrow.


February 7th: To The Ngorongoro Crater. After a 7am breakfast we did a pleasant meandering bird walk through the dry acacia scrub fringing the Rift Valley escarpment during the morning. Complete with our young hostess and spear-toting Maasai guide we wandered along finding various interesting new birds such as African Firefinches, Red-cheeked Cordonbleus and Red-billed Queleas foraging for seeds in the dust. There were masses of large raptors thermalling (it was hot enough even by 8.30am!) over the ridge. Lots of vultures presumed heading out for the day’s scavenging, but also kettles of Eurasian (Steppe) Buzzards – surely too early to be on migration north? We scanned hard for Verreaux’s Eagles as it seemed classic habitat, but had no luck. The flowering bushes by the hotel pool held Violet-backed, Amethyst and Variable Sunbirds plus Spotted-flanked Barbets fighting over flowering territories. Out in the dry scrub there were other heat-tolerant birds such as Village Weavers, Lesser Grey Shrike, Northern and Pied Wheatears, another Cliff Chat and our first lovebirds disappearing before ID. We returned for a wash and brush-up by 11am and an early lunch.


The afternoon was spent continuing the short distance west to Ngorongoro Crater. After posting cards and buying cloth in Karatu we were at the overlook/viewpoint by about 3.45pm scanning down into the Crater below for Rhino. No luck there, so we set off around the Crater rim road towards the Sopa Lodge with time to stop for birds along the way. We didn’t find anything to halt for until we located my “waterhole” close to the lodge, from where I’d seen such great birds last year. We parked up by a much drier pool than last year and waited. Occasional bits of playback produced Brown-headed Apalis and fantastic looks at African Hill-Babbler. As the birds became used to our presence in the minivan they began flighting in from the thick surrounding forest undergrowth to have an evening bathe and drink. We spent a lovely 40 minutes or so here as we were treated to multiple close views of Montane White-eyes, Cape and Rueppell’s Robin-chats,  Mountain Greenbul, Abyssinian Crimsonwing,  Cinnamon-breasted Bee-eaters, Tambourine Dove, Golden-winged and Northern Double-collared Sunbirds and, by far best of all, several amazing little Oriole Finches – absolute magic. We tore ourselves away just after 6pm and checked in to the Sopa Lodge, which was, as expected, experiencing drought conditions, but otherwise, same as ever.

February 8th: The Ngorongoro Crater. Out at 6.30am just outside our rooms for some very productive birding in the forest edge and gardens of the Sopa Lodge – the best birding of any of the Crater Rim Lodges. The Lodge is 2000′ above the crater floor at over 7,800′ amidst lovely moss-draped acacia forest, so very cool at this time of day. Here we found special birds of the highlands such as White-eyed Slaty-Flycatcher, Streaky and Thick-billed Seedeaters, Eastern Double-collared, Tacazze and the flashy Golden-winged Sunbirds, a bright Schalow’s Turaco and brief looks at Grey-capped Warbler and White-starred Robin – both comparatively rare finds.


After breakfast we were down in the Crater the whole day, setting off at 8am and returning just before 6pm. Tanzania is experiencing an unusually dry time and the Crater was no exception. However, the permanent springs has kept some areas wet and I was pleasantly surprised to see the resident population of Wildebeest, Zebra, Cape Buffalo, Thomson’s and Grant’s Gazelles, all in good shape, having young and finding plenty of sustenance. The high concentration of predators that we saw today — a total of c.19 Lions, 2 splendid Cheetahs, 45+ Spotted Hyenas, numerous Black-backed and Common Jackals, plus a pair of fabulous Servals – were all no doubt pleasantly surprised too. The cats looked fat. The Hyenas were in good social spirit, cavorting with each other, splashing in the wallows and walking about with gory bits of Wildebeest calf surplus to requirements! The few African Elephants down in the Crater were another source of interest as these are impressive lone old bulls with huge tusks. However our main goal of finding Black Rhinoceros did not work out today – the first time after 13 visits that I’ve not seen this beast here. Geitan worked hard driving us to all the right areas, but nobody had seen one in days (weeks?) so it wasn’t for lack of trying. We scanned high and low and did a full and comprehensive circuit of the crater floor to no avail. Birding in the Crater was, as ever, rewarding. Big flashy species such as the storks, over a hundred Grey Crowned-Cranes, Kori Bustards, Lesser Flamingos, herons, storks (including single Black) etc were welcome along with more obscure finds and smaller fry.


February 9th: To The Central Serengeti. Before dawn I heard Montane Nightjar churring – an unusual wake-up call. Before breakfast we finally pulled out good looks of a cute pair of Hunter’s Cisticolas duetting as they sat side-by-side in the cold morning shrubbery. Then it was time to put the foot on the pedal and strike out further westwards all the way to the central Serengeti at Seronera Lodge. Our first brief halt was at the crater overview in vain hope of finding a Rhino below. Then on through dry and increasingly dusty dirt roads to Olduvai Gorge, arriving by about 11am. The archaeological site of Olduvai Gorge is fairly simple and the site, especially today in the drought and strong winds was unprepossessing. But the significance of the place is clear when visiting the little museum overlooking the layered rocks of the gorge where those early hominid remains were discovered. We ate a hurried and windswept early lunch here, found a few birds sheltering from the sun – Purple Grenadier, Slate-coloured Boubou, Southern Red Bishop, Speckle-fronted Weaver and Vitelline Masked Weavers – before heading off west again. The day grew hotter and dustier as we zipped on to Naabi Gate and entered the Serengeti National Park. Here we had another break, doing the short circular walk and finding further birds of interest such as Beautiful Sunbird, Red-fronted Barbet, Grey-capped Social-Weaver and Lesser Kestrels overhead. We’d driven many miles across exceptionally parched open short grass plains, yet the stalwart herds of Thomson’s and Grant’s Gazelles were still here finding forage. There had been no significant rain for months and the vast herds of Wildebeest were still far to the west, though as we zoomed on along the main road to Seronera lodge we began finding large aggregations of Common Zebra and Wildebeest ambling along on their slow but deliberate migration; all much further into the central Serengeti than on “normal” years.


We checked in, unpacked and sorted ourselves out at Seronera, nipping out for a short game drive at 4.30pm. Geitan toured us around the Seronera River with its tall Yellowbark Acacias looking for Leopards. The river was reduced to stagnant pools and the closest to a Leopard was a kill hung in a tree. Lions were everywhere though, cashing in on the unusually large number of Wildebeest, Zebra and Buffalo remaining in this area – presumably until rains freshen up new grass growth elsewhere? All looked well fed and the first Lion was playing cat-and-mouse with a live Wildebeest calf it had caught – poor little thing; such a short cruel life! A few good birds were added – especially a Greater Painted Snipe spotted by David on one of the fast drying-up pools. Other additions included Grey-backed Fiscal, Coqui Francolin, Pygmy Falcon and Long-tailed Glossy Starling. Having just completed the day’s checklist we saw a pair of Common Genets around the open dining/bar area as we were heading off for bed.

February 10th: The Central Serengeti. We ventured into the Serengeti this morning at 7.30am, with the strong wind of yesterday largely gone, but still no rain. While the Ndutu area normally holds the bulk of the famous Wildebeest herds at this time of year, this year is seemingly anything but normal. Geitan drove us around the Seronera River area again, with the main goal of finding Leopards. We had a constant backdrop of Wildebeest and Zebra. There were small groups and large herds milling about, feeding on the parched long grasses (not much to the Wildebeest’s liking), shading themselves under acacias and going down to drink in the mucky pools of the remaining river course. The latter was quite a focal point as we watched them cautiously approach the water, aware all the time of the danger of Lions. As yesterday afternoon here, we easily came across numerous Lions this morning, all living the “Life of Reilly” at present. One magnificent male had a female all to himself and we stopped to see if they might get up to something! The male was disinterested, despite the female’s advances – she even woke him up with a paw in his face at one point. However, as a group of Cape Buffalo came near to drink and cross the river, he became alert and stalked off in half-hearted pursuit. A young calf was his interest, but the adult Buffalo chased him away many times as he trotted after them – finally getting nowhere and leaving his female far behind. As we searched and scanned trees for Leopards we found another female Lion fast asleep draped over a branch – an unusual sight and my first here. All along the way we were noting additional bird species. The endemic Grey-breasted Francolin was the top find along with Grey-backed Fiscals and Magpie Shrikes, Rueppell’s Griffon, a decent look at the gape of one eagle proving it to be a Steppe, plus Grey-headed Woodpecker and various smaller species – weavers and dull little Swaheli Sparrows. After a coffee break and a long morning out we began our return. Of course, just as we pondered lunch, the excitement began! A couple of vehicles gathered under a fine acacia produced our first splendid Leopard very comfortably draped over a wide horizontal branch not far from its fresh Wildebeest calf kill “hanging to season”. After due admiration we set off, late, back to the lodge, only to be waylaid again by a bigger gathering. Here, amazingly, was another Leopard, but in the grass remarkably close to a completely unaware bunch of grazing Zebra. The Zebra were too large for it to tackle, but a “lost” young one was running around calling, making itself a very conspicuous and tempting bait. The Leopard did indeed slink out of its sitting mode, down into the grass and was presumably making its way towards the prey. We never saw it again, but waited with tension rising, until the adult Zebra alarmed and all went on their way – disaster averted for the young zebra!
Back at the Lodge by 1.40pm, we took some time out before a late afternoon return to the Leopards. The one who had eyes for baby zebra was now sitting in the shade of a large classic flat-topped acacia. While we watched, it climbed up, flopped down, climbed some more, flopped again, turned around and finally found a comfortable position to lounge for the remainder of the day – dreaming of tasty baby zebra no doubt. We had remarkable full-frame ‘scope views before moving on. The other Leopard who had been up a tree this morning had apparently been harassed by baboons and had moved on, leaving its kill up in the tree for a later return. While going round to find this one we came across another fine Lioness with a fresh adult Wildebeest kill – but, like the other predators with kills today, not seeming too bothered about eating its meal. We returned by just after 6.30pm in lovely evening sunlight reflecting over the vast dry plains scattered liberally with Wildebeest and Zebra as far as the eye can see.


February 11th: To the eastern Serengeti. At 5,675 square miles, (larger than the entire state of Connecticut and with a further 3200 sq. miles protected in the surrounding Ngorongoro Conservation Area, making it as large as Vermont or New Hampshire) the Serengeti is a huge place! We certainly got a feel for that today as webegan our return eastwards out across the Serengeti Plains to the Ndutu region. We started with a bit of pre-breakfast birding in Seronera’s grounds where a bunch of Baboons were more interested in fighting for the territory than we were! Best find was a Pearl-spotted Owlet seen without recourse to the dratted call. After seeking in vain for the missing Big Dog T Shirt, we came to an amicable agreement with the management and set off the short distance to the Seronera Visitor Centre close to the airstrip. Here we wandered the lovely little outdoor Wildebeest migration trail with all its great metal sculptures, good information panels and a few birds and hyraxes too. (The perennial Hyrax ID debate continues – this year we decided on Bush Hyraxes with a few Rock Hyrax). After a bit of birding here, not finding much in the dry (non-breeding) conditions, we set off towards Naabi Gate. We didn’t get far before an interesting scene with a group of Lions that just had to be watched. Two very fine males, one clearly more dominant than the other were loitering around three females. The dominant male corralled all but one, which wandered off followed by the less dominant male. Dominant male ran back and forth keeping all in check but never getting all his harem in the same place. Closer to Naabi we had time to detour around some kopjes with good results – finding 3 lovely Cheetahs trying in vain to find shade in the near-vertical midday sun. A few interesting birds were noted along the way including a pair of Spotted Thick-knees. At Naabi Gate, one of the official entrances to the National Park, we had our picnic lunch and did the short bird walk again finding Brubru and a mystery raptor that may well be an extremely rare sighting of a Long-legged Buzzard. Then by 2pm on towards Ndutu Lodge across the parched short grass plains. Quite a few Thompson’s and Grant’s Gazelles were still finding a living on the tinder-dry herbage. Larks were much in evidence including our first Red-capped Larks and a couple of much scarcer Short-tailed Larks. 2 pairs of Yellow-throated Sandgrouse were a delight. We arrived at the lodge by 3.40pm, in time for afternoon tea and to relax in the grounds for the remainder of the afternoon – we’d had enough of the inside of the vehicle for today.


We took a gentle stroll around the open acacia of the grounds from 5.15pm for an hour. The Pearl-spotted Owlet playback brought in the Owlet and attendant mobbers including Eastern Olivaceous, Buff-bellied and Banded Warbler (Parisoma), Red-faced Crombec and female sunbirds. A fine male Scarlet-chested Sunbird feeding on one of the few flowering shrubs was a real stunner, as were sunlit iridescent Dideric Cuckoo and bright coloured Fischer’s Lovebirds. We enjoyed a cool beer by the open campfire as the sun set and a good supper thereafter.


February 12th: Ndutu.  Despite the very dry and atypical weather resulting in few Wildebeest gathering here so far, people staying at the Lodge were having a productive time. After hearing of excessive amounts of good luck from one group yesterday, who’d seen Aardvark, Ratel and Striped Hyena all in one day, we set off this morning at 7.30am to see what we could do. As expected it was dry and dusty, but we quickly located a den of Spotted Hyenas with young. Geitan intended to take us off to the swamp, but first skirted some woodland then travelled to the swamp all the way along the edge of the dried up Lake Ndutu – impossible in wet years. As we slowly moved along the parched soda lake edge we found the anticipated Bat-eared Foxes at the mouth of a den – always cute and quite shy. While watching these David spotted the star of the day – a splendid, loping, shaggy-maned Striped Hyena walking through the undergrowth. These seem quite lone and shy animals, so it kept going, but eventually crossed the dried lake further down, so we could watch it clearly, if distantly for a good while. This certainly raised spirits as we headed on to the swamp, which on arrival, I was pleased and surprised to find had plenty of water and vegetation in it – obviously fed by springs that had not run dry yet. This area was a magnet for wildlife. A fine male Pallid Harrier was noted on the way in and the muddy shores were full of the usual shorebirds. Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse and exotic-looking Fischer’s Lovebirds were dropping in to drink, though our main attention was captured by a small group of African Elephants with young heading to the swamp for a bath and drink. We positioned ourselves in the shade with a mid-morning coffee and watched the fun. They drank seriously for a while then splashed, flicked mud over their backs and bellies, while tiny offspring suckled – an idyllic sight. We meandered our way back to the lodge for about midday as the heat intensified. Our return was punctuated with a long stop to admire two very supercilious Verreaux’s Eagle-Owls peering at us from the canopy shade of a large Acacia; classic pose and classic Africa.

After some down time in the heat of the day, we ventured out again at 4pm, circling around the Lake Masek area. A few remnant patches of water held shorebirds, a group of 5 Lesser Flamingos and about 15 Hippos, in a mud wallow, flicking mud over their backs and looking a bit worried should it dry out any further. All the while this afternoon, clouds were building up and it probably rained over the central Serengeti, but not here. Our main find of the afternoon was another fine Leopard up in a comfortable acacia with a calf Wildebeest kill.


February 13th: Ndutu. Out at the usual time of 7.30am this morning, Geitan driving us off to the south and west, first through open acacia woodland – almost like parkland, then onto open plains, followed by odd Whistling Thorn scrub. All the differences presumably due to subtle changes in soil, lost on us, but clear to the plants and the birds using them. After days of not seeing “common” birds, there they all were today, tucked away on this slightly different, but presumably far preferable habitat. European Rollers, Mourning Doves, Dark and Pale Chanting Goshawks all popped up as if they’d never been away! Other additions were Abyssinian Scimitarbill, Chestnut Sparrow, Bearded Woodpecker, but apart from occasional small groups of Zebra and Wildebeest, the star mammal attraction was a distant Eland or two. We worked our way back, coming across a family of Verreaux’s Eagle-Owls en route and finally came out to Lake Masek, which now had discernible puddles of water in its bed attracting larger groups of Zebra and Wildebeest. Driving up the lake edge we neared the tree where we’d seen yesterday’s Leopard. Geitan had no sooner commented that it and its prey were of course no longer in the tree, than we saw a superb Leopard on the ground at the edge of thick grass with a freshly killed Wildebeest calf in its jaws! Amazing to see Leopards active like this in daytime, it fairly quickly walked into the long grass. We waited for ages, hoping it would go back up its tree. Other vehicles joined us, but had no luck. We watched along the Lake edge for awhile, then came back for lunch, just as it at last began to rain serious thundery showers.


It rained for much of the middle of the day break, so that by 4pm we set off with roof down in drizzle and cold along instantly slick and slippery roads How quickly things change! Bird activity seemed greater as they anticipated greenery, insects and the breeding season. A bedraggled Martial Eagle sat out the storm, while little Black-cheeked Waxbills seemed to be enjoying life. The “highlight” of the afternoon was rather grizzly. After all the killing and carnage that besets the herbivore ungulates of the Serengeti, we found a dead Wildebeest which had seemingly not died through predation, but while trying to give birth. A pair of Black-backed Jackals led us to the scene, where a selection of vultures had already pecked what they could from the poor beast’s rear end. The jackals fed a bit more but are too dainty to really bite into the carcass, so eventually left the scene where the damp and bloated vultures struggled to take off into nearby acacias to digest their sorry meal.


February 14th: Gibb’s Farm. We left Ndutu at 7.30am and headed directly across the vast flatness of the short grass plains beyond Olduvai and up to the Crater Highlands, to reach Gibb’s Farm by midday. We didn’t have much time for stops, but a few Golden Jackals and Spotted Hyenas, plus masses of scattered Thompson’s and Grant’s Gazelles attracted our attention. A few brief bird stops were made in particular for a roadside Lanner Falcon, then a couple of African Harrier-Hawks and Jackson’s Widowbird once up in the cool of the Ngorongoro highlands. We of course stopped at the Ngorongoro view to have a last check for Rhino, but again no luck. It was confirmed by a Hyena Researcher waiting there that the Rhinos had been going up into the forested slopes during the excessive dry period.


After a good lunch at Gibbs we did the walk up into the Conservation Area forest and the “Elephant Caves” for the afternoon (2 – 5.30pm) with excellent re3sults. Unfortunately Alex was unable to join us as his back was out after we hit speed bumps rather hard on the way here this morning. We managed a very good cross-section of the hoped for species special to the area: Mountain Buzzard, a pair of Lanner Falcons, Bar-throated, Yellow-breasted and Brown-headed Apalises, Klaas’ Cuckoo, Sulphur-breasted and Black-fronted Bushshrikes, Red-headed Cisticola, Schalow’s Turaco, Mountain Wagtail, Moustached Tinkerbird and Purple-throated Cuckooshrike. We got as far as the caves where the Elephants dig mineral soils to ingest and found a couple of the endemic White-tailed Blue Flycatchers. Blue Duiker on our return was a new mammal never previously recorded for this tour. Back amidst the idyllic and beautifully laid out ornamental and vegetable gardens we watched the bird-feeders full of Speckled Mousebirds, Baglafecht and Grosbeak Weavers, had afternoon tea brought out to our recliners, then finished off with some further garden birding until dusk. we found more great birds – such as Oriole Finch (new for the Gibbs Farm List), Bronze Sunbird and a White-tailed Blue Flycatcher for Alex. After supper the Montane Nightjar called but didn’t respond to playback – perhaps it knew that it was just about to pour heavily with rain for much of the evening.


February 15th Tarangire National Park . The grounds were cool and damp this early morning as we did a bit of birding amidst the loud and frenzied, fluty songs of the Robin-Chats. Immediately after breakfast at 8.30am, we dragged ourselves away for the drive westwards along excellent paved roads, down the steep escarpment of the Rift Valley and on to Tarangire National Park. Only a short distance down the road was a grand little gathering of related brood-parasitic birds all paired up and in fine plumage with the onset of the rainy season. A dandy black and white striped Pin-tailed Whydah (parasitic on waxbills) was accompanied by several Straw-tailed Whydahs (Purple Genadiers are their favourite victim), whilst they were considerably outnumbered by Village Indigobirds – brood parasites of African Firefinches of which several were present and presumably blissfully unaware of what their flock-mates might do. Along the main road to the junction we found White-Bellied Go-away Birds, then Taita Fiscal Shrikes, then Schalow’s (Mourning) Wheatears at a small quarry complete with Long-billed Pipit; all thanks to Geitan’s sharp eyes as he drove along.


We were at the entrance to Tarangire National Park by 10.45am and took a break to wander on foot around the open-air displays, finding more new birds such as Green-winged Pytilia and better looks at lots of “old favourites”. The habitats in Tarangire are subtly different, as is the bird and wildlife. Thorn-bush is studded with absurd, giant Baobab trees, which are useful stores of moisture for the large Elephant herds in drier times as witnessed by the gargantuan trunks, scarred through generations of gouging by Elephant tusks. The weather was drier here, but it had also rained in recent times, making everywhere look quite fresh and green. Crested Francolins and Yellow-necked Spurfowls were paused for as we headed for the Sopa Lodge, arriving by 12.30pm – in good time for a buffet lunch by the pool.


We ventured out again from 4pm until 6.30pm, just slowly wandering along nearby tracks along the Tarangire River with wide grassy palm-dotted flood plains and open scrub either side.  Our main time was spent viewing the various endearing and intriguing family groups of African Elephants. One tiny baby particularly held our attention as it seemed too short even to reach up to suckle as its mother kept slowly  plodding along browsing as it went. The afternoon also proved exciting for birds, with quite a number of new species popping up one after the other, bringing our trip total to a very substantial c.380 so far. The endemic Ashy Starling and Yellow-collared Lovebird were both seen commonly. Crested and Hildebrandt’s Francolins plus the “missing” sandgrouse (Black-faced) all appeared close by on the roadside. A Red-chested Cuckoo was coaxed in with playback. The grand finale as the sun cooled and set was a trio of larger than life Southern Ground Hornbills slowly working their way through the grassland – such a bizarre bird! At dusk we tried around the lodge for any owls that might respond to playback, but none did.


February 16th: Tarangire: Out in the vehicle towards Silale Swamp by 7.30am, spending a full 5 hours out until a lunch time return. We didn’t find any new large mammals, but some close studies of Elephant groups mud-bathing and Giraffes along the swamp edge were great. Our first snake – a coiled up Python in a tree was noteworthy. Much of the morning was spent working along the swamp edge (fairly dry, but freshened by recent rains) and the open scrub/grassland adjacent to it. Plenty of good new birds were found and seen well. Another super Northern Carmine Bee-eater was found amidst European and Blue-cheeked. There were also many brightly coloured Rollers – both European and Lilac-breasted. All along the swamp were Winding Cisticolas on the wet side of the track, with equally large numbers of Rattling on the bushier, dry side. Quite a few good raptors were noted including our first, belated Black-breasted Snake-Eagle. Less expected was a pair of fine Grey Kestrels. Kori Bustards displayed and there was generally masses of activity all round from starlings, tchagras, shrikes, fiscals, francolins, parrots and lovebirds.  Despite the dry conditions, the Tarangire River still flows and attracts a few waterbirds, including our only Goliath Heron of the tour and the first proper look at an African Fish-Eagle.


Back at lunch a “mystery” raptor flew by while eating which, after some prevarication proved to be a dark phase Wahlberg’s Eagle. A swim in the pool to cool down while relaxing in the heat of the day, then out for our last proper game drive at 4pm. There was nothing sensational on the final drive – sadly no final sighting of Leopards or Lions (and far too many sightings of Tsetse Flies!), but it was still pleasantly productive. We wove our way down one side of the river Tarangire and back up the other, calling in to little side loops to view over the water and sandy banks. Elephants and Giraffes seemed soporific in the afternoon heat. A huge troop of over 100 Baboons came down to drink in the latter part of our time out; all noisy and boisterous and then settling down to chew on those hard, huge and supposedly poisonous Sausage Tree pods. A few more birds were inevitably discovered- you’d have to spend a long time here before running dry. A young African Hawk-Eagle perched up in a tree giving good views. A very brief fly-by of Little Rock Thrush was unusual and only seen fleetingly. On our return a nice little flock of Senegal Plovers got up and paraded their distinguishing features, bringing our bird tally close to 390.


February 17th: Return to Arusha and homeward. We did an hour of pre-breakfast birding around the lodge at Tarangire finding nothing startling, but additional views of regular stuff. After breakfast we were packed and away by 8.30am to make the short journey back to Arusha. We spent a bit of time game-viewing and birding in Tarangire, arriving at the gate by 11am: last good byes to the Elephants and a few last minute good bird additions such as Mottled Spinetail at the gate. We were in Arusha at the big emporium of Cultural Heritage by 1.30pm where we had lunch and did some shopping. Then to our day rooms at Ilboru Lodge by 3.30pm, to wash, change and re-pack before a transfer to the airport by 6.30pm for the overnight flight to Amsterdam via Dar Es Salaam. I stayed behind to start my expedition to Pemba Island tomorrow.




SPECIES SCIENTIFIC NAME 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
Ostrich Struthionidae
Ostrich Struthio camelus * * 24 10 10 * 12 15 15
Grebes Podicipedidae
Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis *
Pelicans Pelecanidae
Great White Pelican Pelecanus onocrotalus 1
Pink-backed Pelican Pelecanus rufescens *
Cormorants Phalacrocoracidae
Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 1
Long-tailed Cormorant Phalacrocorax africanus 15
Herons, Egrets & Bitterns Ardeidae
Gray Heron Ardea cinerea 2 8 6 2 2 4 5 2
Black-headed Heron Ardea melanocephala 1 20 2 1 15 50 2 10
Goliath Heron Ardea goliath 1
Great Egret Ardea alba 3 10
Black Heron Egretta ardesiaca 10
Little Egret Egretta garzetta * 1 1
Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides 3 20
Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis * * * * * * * * *
Striated Heron Butorides striatus 1
Black-crowned Night-Heron Nycticorax nycticorax 3 30
Hamerkop Scopidae
Hamerkop Scopus umbretta 1 1 1 1 1
Storks Ciconidae
Yellow-billed Stork Mycteria ibis 2 40 4 1 10
Black Stork Ciconia nigra 1
Abdim’s Stork Ciconia abdimii * * 1
White Stork Ciconia ciconia 1 * 5 1 15
Saddle-billed Stork Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis 1
Marabou Stork Leptoptilos crumeniferus * * * 2 * * 1 * * *
Ibises & Spoonbills Threskiornithidae
Sacred Ibis Threskiornis aethiopicus 30 50 * * 5 15 10
Hadada Ibis Bostrychia hagedash 5 5 h
Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus 25 20
African Spoonbill Platalea alba 6 3
Flamingos Phoenicopteridae
Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus *
Lesser Flamingo Phoenicopterus minor * * 5 4
Ducks, Geese & Swans Anatidae
Fulvous Whistling-Duck Dendrocygna bicolor 1 20
White-faced Whistling-Duck Dendrocygna viduata *
White-backed Duck Thalassornis leuconotus 1
Egyptian Goose Alopochen aegyptiacus 10 * * 10 10 10 10 15 2 10 * 15
Spur-winged Goose Plectropterus gambensis 10 6 2 1
Comb Duck Sarkidiornis melanotos 3 40
Cape Teal Anas capensis * 15 10 15
Yellow-billed Duck Anas undulata 2
Northern Pintail Anas acuta 4
Red-billed Duck Anas erythrorhyncha 6 20 5 4 4
Hottentot Teal Anas hottentota 10 10 15 4 5
Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata 6 10
Southern Pochard Netta erythrophthalma *
Maccoa Duck Oxyura maccoa 12
Hawks, Eagles & Kites Accipitridae
Black-shouldered Kite Elanus caeruleus 1 3 3 1 1
Black Kite Milvus migrans * 10 2 2
African Fish-Eagle Haliaeetus vocifer 1 1 1
SPECIES SCIENTIFIC NAME 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
Palm-nut Vulture Gypohierax angolensis 1
Hooded Vulture Necrosyrtes monachus 10 10 10
White-backed Vulture Gyps africanus * * * * * * * * 15 * * *
Rueppell’s Griffon Gyps rueppellii 1 6
Lappet-faced Vulture Torgos tracheliotus 2 1 4 4
White-headed Vulture Trigonoceps occipitalis 1
Black-breasted Snake-Eagle Circaetus pectoralis 2
Brown Snake-Eagle Circaetus cinereus 1 2 2 2
Bateleur Terathopius ecaudatus 1 2 6 2 2 4 2 6 4
Western Marsh-Harrier Circus aeruginosus 2 2 2 1
Pallid Harrier Circus macrourus 1
Montagu’s Harrier Circus pygargus 6 2 2 8 6 1 6 2
African Harrier-Hawk Polyboroides typus 2 1 1
Lizard Buzzard Kaupifalco monogrammicus 1
Dark Chanting-Goshawk Melierax metabates 3
Eastern Chanting-Goshawk Melierax poliopterus 2 1
Gabar Goshawk Micronisus gabar 1 2
Eurasian Buzzard Buteo buteo 1 1 * 1
Mountain Buzzard Buteo oreophilus 1
Augur Buzzard Buteo augur 1 4 1 2 2 1 4 2 6
Tawny Eagle Aquila rapax 4 2 2 4 2 3 5 4
Steppe Eagle Aquila nipalensis 1 1
Wahlberg’s Eagle Aquila wahlbergi 1
African Hawk-Eagle Aquila spilogaster 1
Martial Eagle Polemaetus bellicosus 1 1
Long-crested Eagle Lophaetus occipitalis 1 1 1 2
Crowned Hawk-Eagle Stephanoaetus coronatus 1
Secretary-bird Sagittariidae
Secretary-bird Sagittarius serpentarius 3 2 2 1 1 2 4 2 2
Falcons & Caracaras Falconidae
Pygmy Falcon Polihierax semitorquatus 1 1
Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni 6 5 5 10 6 5
Eurasian Kestrel Falco tinnunculus 1 2 4
Gray Kestrel Falco ardosiaceus 2
Lanner Falcon Falco biarmicus 3
Pheasants & Partridges Phasianidae
Coqui Francolin Francolinus coqui 2 2 1
Crested Francolin Francolinus sephaena 4 4 2
Hildebrandt’s Francolin Francolinus hildebrandti 2 2
Yellow-necked Francolin (Spurfowl) Francolinus leucoscepus * * *
Gray-breasted Francolin (Spurfowl) Francolinus rufopictus 2 10 * * 10
Red-necked Francolin (Spurfowl) Francolinus afer * * *
Guineafowl Numididae
Helmeted Guineafowl Numida meleagris * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Cranes Gruidae
Gray Crowned-Crane Balearica regulorum 9 100 25 15 2
Rails, Gallinules & Coots Rallidae
Black Crake Amaurornis flavirostris 2 3 2 1
Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus 4 1
Red-knobbed Coot Fulica cristata 20 1
Bustards Otididae 3
Kori Bustard Ardeotis kori 20 3 3 3 4
White-bellied Bustard Eupodotis senegalensis 2 4 2
Black-bellied Bustard Lissotis melanogaster 3 2
Jacanas Jacanidae
African Jacana Actophilornis africanus * *
SPECIES SCIENTIFIC NAME 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
Painted-Snipes Rostratulidae
Greater Painted-snipe Rostratula benghalensis 1 2
Stilts & Avocets Recurvirostridae
Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus 10 * 15 15 15 10 10 10 1
Pied Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta * 10 40 2 10
Thick-knees Burhinidae
Water Thick-knee Burhinus vermiculatus 6 2
Spotted Thick-knee Burhinus capensis 2 3
Coursers & Pratincoles Glareolidae
Double-banded Courser Smutsornis africanus 2 2 4
Collared Pratincole Glareola pratincola 5 1
Plovers & Lapwings Charadriidae
Long-toed Lapwing (Plover) Vanellus crassirostris 10 1
Blacksmith Plover Vanellus armatus 6 * * * * * * * * * * *
Spur-winged Plover Vanellus spinosus 2 15
Senegal Lapwing (Plover) Vanellus lugubris 10
Black-winged Lapwing (Plover) Vanellus melanopterus 10
Crowned Lapwing (Plover) Vanellus coronatus 25 15 25 20 * * * * * * *
Wattled Lapwing (Plover) Vanellus senegallus 1
Common Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula 4 4 1
Kittlitz’s Plover Charadrius pecuarius 10 1
Three-banded Plover Charadrius tricollaris 4 10 20 10 20 10 5
Chestnut-banded Plover Charadrius pallidus 20 5
Sandpipers & Allies Scolopacidae
Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago 10 1 1 1 10 1
Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata 1
Marsh Sandpiper Tringa stagnatilis 10 5 5 5 5
Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia 2 1 3
Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus 2 2
Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola 5 10 10 5 10 2 1
Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos 3 10 2 5 2 2 2
Little Stint Calidris minuta * * * 15 10 15 * 10 1 *
Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea 10
Ruff Philomachus pugnax 4 10 30 15 15 15 * 25 5 5
Terns Sternidae
Gull-billed Tern Sterna nilotica 30 20 2
Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybridus 10 5
Sandgrouse Pteroclidae
Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse Pterocles exustus 50
Yellow-throated Sandgrouse Pterocles gutturalis 4 10 4 4
Black-faced Sandgrouse Pterocles decoratus 2 5 4
Pigeons & Doves Columbidae
Rock Pigeon ( I ) Columba livia * *
Speckled Pigeon Columba guinea 2 5 10 10 15 10 10
Dusky Turtle-Dove Streptopelia lugens 2 4 5
African Mourning Dove Streptopelia decipiens * h 20 * *
Red-eyed Dove Streptopelia semitorquata * * * * * * * *
Ring-necked Dove Streptopelia capicola * * * * * * * * * * *
Laughing Dove Streptopelia senegalensis 5 4 5 5 *
Emerald-spotted Wood-Dove Turtur chalcospilos 10 h h 2
Tambourine Dove Turtur tympanistria 2 1 1
Namaqua Dove Oena capensis 1 1 1 3 4 1
African Green-Pigeon Treron calva 2 1
Macaws, Parrots & Allies Psittacidae
Fischer’s Lovebird Agapornis fischeri 5 6 * * 10
Yellow-collared Lovebird Agapornis personatus * * 8
Meyer’s Parrot Poicephalus meyeri 4
SPECIES SCIENTIFIC NAME 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
Red (Orange)-bellied Parrot Poicephalus rufiventris 1 5 4
Turacos Musophagidae
Schalow’s Turaco Tauraco schalowi h 1 2
Hartlaub’s Turaco Tauraco hartlaubi 2
Bare-faced Go-away-bird Corythaixoides personatus 10 10 5
White-bellied Go-away-bird Corythaixoides leucogaster 1 4 5
Cuckoos Cuculidae
Levaillant’s Cuckoo Clamator levaillantii 1
Red-chested Cuckoo Cuculus solitarius h 1 1 h
Black Cuckoo Cuculus clamosus 1
African Cuckoo Cuculus gularis 1
Klaas’ Cuckoo Chrysococcyx klaas 1 h
African Emerald Cuckoo Chrysococcyx cupreus h
Dideric Cuckoo Chrysococcyx caprius h 1 2 1 h 1 1
White-browed Coucal Centropus superciliosus 4 3 1
Typical Owls Strigidae
Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl Bubo lacteus 2 3
Pearl-spotted Owlet Glaucidium perlatum 1 3 2 3 h
Nightjars & Allies Caprimulgidae
Abyssinian (Montane) Nightjar Caprimulgus poliocephalus h h
Swifts Apodidae
Mottled Spinetail Telecanthura ussheri 1
African Palm-Swift Cypsiurus parvus 10 * * * * *
Alpine Swift Tachymarptis melba 1
Mottled Swift Tachymarptis aequatorialis 1
Common Swift Apus apus * * *
African Swift Apus barbatus *
Little Swift Apus affinis 10 25 10 2 * *
White-rumped Swift Apus caffer 1 1 15
Mousebirds Colidae
Speckled Mousebird Colius striatus * * 15 * * * * 10
Blue-naped Mousebird Urocolius macrourus 10 10 2
Trogons Trogonidae
Narina Trogon Apaloderma narina 1
Kingfishers Alcedinidae
Malachite Kingfisher Alcedo cristata 1 1
African Pygmy-Kingfisher Ispidina picta 1
Gray-headed Kingfisher Halcyon leucocephala 1 1 2
Woodland Kingfisher Halcyon senegalensis 1 2 6 2
Brown-hooded Kingfisher Halcyon albiventris 3
Striped Kingfisher Halcyon chelicuti 2 1
Bee-eaters Meropidae
Little Bee-eater Merops pusillus 2 2 10 * 10 5 2 2 10 10 * 10
Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater Merops oreobates 6 15 5
Blue-cheeked Bee-eater Merops persicus 10 * 2
European Bee-eater Merops apiaster 2 1 *
Northern Carmine Bee-eater Merops nubicus 1 2
Rollers Coraciidae
European Roller Coracias garrulus 1 15 10 *
Lilac-breasted Roller Coracias caudata 2 2 5 10 6 10 12 * * *
Broad-billed Roller Eurystomus glaucurus 1
Hoopoes Upupidae
Eurasian Hoopoe Upupa epops 1 4 3 1
Woodhoopoes & Allies Phoeniculidae
Green Woodhoopoe Phoeniculus purpureus 2 1 4
Abyssinian Scimitar-bill Rhinopomastus minor 2
SPECIES SCIENTIFIC NAME 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
Hornbills Bucerotidae 5
Red-billed Hornbill Tockus erythrorhynchus 3 5 2
Von der Decken’s Hornbill Tockus deckeni 4 6 2 6 5 2
Crowned Hornbill Tockus alboterminatus 2 2 2
African Gray Hornbill Tockus nasutus 4 2 1 4 2
Silvery-cheeked Hornbill Ceratogymna brevis 1 10 2
Southern Ground-Hornbill Bucorvus leadbeateri 3 1
Barbets Capitonidae
White-eared Barbet Stactolaema leucotis 2
Moustached Tinkerbird Pogoniulus leucomystax 1
Red-fronted Barbet Tricholaema diademata 4
Spot-flanked Barbet Tricholaema lachrymosa 2
Brown-breasted Barbet Lybius melanopterus 5 2
Red-and-yellow Barbet Trachyphonus erythrocephalus 4 2
D’Arnaud’s Barbet Trachyphonus darnaudii 1 2 2
Honeyguides Indicatoridae
Greater Honeyguide Indicator indicator h h 1 h
Green-backed Honeyguide (E. H/bird) Prodotiscus zambesiae 2
Woodpeckers & Allies Picidae
Nubian Woodpecker Campethera nubica 1 2 2
Cardinal Woodpecker Dendropicos fuscescens 2
Bearded Woodpecker Dendropicos namaquus 1 2
Gray-headed (Gray) Woodpecker Dendropicos spodocephalus 1 2
Larks Alaudidae
Rufous-naped Lark Mirafra africana 5 8 * 5 2 *
Foxy Lark Calendulauda alopex 1 2
Fawn-colored Lark Calend. (Mirafra) africanoides
Fischer’s Sparrow-Lark Eremopterix leucopareia 10 * * * * * * 5
Red-capped Lark Calandrella cinerea * 10 *
Short-tailed Lark Pseudalaemon fremantlii 2
Swallows Hirundinidae
Bank Swallow Riparia riparia 2
Plain Martin Riparia paludicola * * *
Banded Martin Riparia cincta 6 6 1 5
Gray-rumped Swallow Pseudhirundo griseopyga 2 2
Rock Martin Ptyonoprogne fuligula * * * * * 10 * * * *
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Wire-tailed Swallow Hirundo smithii 10 5 5 6 6
Lesser Striped-Swallow Cecropis abyssinica * * * * * * * * *
Mosque Swallow Cecropis senegalensis 2
Red-rumped Swallow Cecropis daurica 10 15 * 10 4 10
House Martin Delichon urbica 2 10
Black Sawwing Psalidoprocne pristoptera 25 2 10
Wagtails & Pipits Motacillidae
African Pied Wagtail Motacilla aguimp 1 1 2 2 1 2 1
Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava 6 10 8 4 10 40
Mountain Wagtail Motacilla clara 2
Rosy-throated Longclaw Macronyx ameliae 1
Plain-backed Pipit Anthus leucophrys 1
African (Grassland) Pipit Anthus cinnamomeus 1 2
Long-billed Pipit Anthus similis 1
Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis 1
Cuckoo-shrikes Campephagidae
Purple-throated Cuckoo-shrike Campephaga quiscalina 1
Bulbuls Pycnonotidae
Common Bulbul Pycnonotus barbatus * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Eastern Mountain-Greenbul Andropadus nigriceps 6 6 2 4
SPECIES SCIENTIFIC NAME 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
Thrushes & Allies Turdidae
Rufous-tailed Rock-Thrush Monticola saxatilis 1 1 1
Little Rock-Thrush Monticola rufocinereus 1
Olive Thrush Turdus olivaceus 2 1 4
Cisticolas & Allies Cisticolidae
Red-faced Cisticola Cisticola erythrops 5 1
Singing Cisticola Cisticola cantans 3 2
Trilling Cisticola Cisticola woosnami 1
Hunter’s Cisticola Cisticola hunteri h 2
Rattling Cisticola Cisticola chiniana 2 h h 5 10 * * * * * *
Winding Cisticola Cisticola galactotes 1 *
Zitting Cisticola Cisticola juncidis 5
Desert Cisticola Cisticola aridulus 10 1
Pectoral-patch Cisticola Cisticola brunnescens * 5
Tawny-flanked Prinia Prinia subflava 2 h 1
Bar-throated Apalis Apalis thoracica 1
Yellow-breasted Apalis Apalis flavida 2 1 2 1 2
Brown-headed Apalis Apalis alticola 2 2
Gray-capped Warbler Eminia lepida 1
Green (Gray) – backed Camaroptera Camaroptera brachyura h h 2 1 h 1
Old World Warblers Sylviidae
Moustached Grass-Warbler Melocichla mentalis 1
Lesser Swamp-Warbler Acrocephalus gracilirostris 2
Eastern Olivaceous Warbler Hippolais pallida 1 4 h 4 h h 4
Olive-tree Warbler Hippolais olivetorum 1
Buff-bellied Warbler Phyllolais pulchella 1 1 1
Red-faced Crombec Sylvietta whytii 1 2
Brown Woodland Warbler Phylloscopus umbrovirens 2
Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus 1 h 1 1
Banded Warbler (Parisoma) Parisoma boehmi 2
Barred Warbler Sylvia nisoria 2
Old World Flycatchers Muscicapidae
Silverbird Empidornis semipartitus 3 4 2 1
Pale Flycatcher Bradornis pallidus 4
African Gray Flycatcher Bradornis microrhynchus 2 2
White-eyed Slaty-Flycatcher Melaenornis fischeri 1 6 * * *
Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata 2
African Dusky Flycatcher Muscicapa adusta 4 2
Ashy Flycatcher Muscicapa caerulescens 2
White-starred Robin Pogonocichla stellata 1
Cape Robin-Chat Cossypha caffra 1 1
Rueppell’s Robin-Chat Cossypha semirufa 1 1 3
White-browed Robin-Chat Cossypha heuglini 2 4
Red-capped Robin-Chat Cossypha natalensis 1
Spotted Morning-Thrush Cichladusa guttata 1 2
Red-backed (White-brow.) Scrub-Robin Cercotrichas leucophrys 1
Whinchat Saxicola rubetra 1 4
African Stonechat Saxicola torquata 6 4 10
Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe 1 * 5 2 5 2 2 2
Mourning (Schalow’s) Wheatear Oenanthe lugens 4
Pied Wheatear Oenanthe pleschanka 1
Capped Wheatear Oenanthe pileata 5 3 *
Isabelline Wheatear Oenanthe isabellina 2 * 10 5 5 2 5
Mocking Cliff-Chat Thamnolaea cinnamomeiventris 1 1
Wattle-eyes Platysteiridae
Black-throated Wattle-eye Platysteira peltata 2
Chinspot Batis Batis molitor 1
SPECIES SCIENTIFIC NAME 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
Monarch Flycatchers Monarchidae
White-tailed Blue-Flycatcher Elminia albicauda 4
African Paradise-Flycatcher Terpsiphone viridis 1 2 10 2
Babblers Timalidae
African Hill Babbler Illadopsis abyssinica 1
Black-lored Babbler Turdoides sharpei 6 6 6 20
Northern Pied-Babbler Turdoides hypoleucus 6 2
Arrow-marked Babbler Turdoides jardineii 2 10
Chickadees & Tits Paridae
Red-throated Tit Melaniparus fringillinus 2
Sunbirds Nectarinidae
Kenya (East.) Violet-backed Sunbird Anthreptes orientalis 3
Collared Sunbird Hedydipna collaris 2 2
Amethyst Sunbird Chalcomitra amethystina 1
Scarlet-chested Sunbird Chalcomitra senegalensis 1 1 2
Tacazze Sunbird Nectarinia tacazze 2
Bronze Sunbird Nectarinia kilimensis 15 6
Golden-winged Sunbird Drepanorhynchus reichenowi 2 6 4
Eastern Double-collared Sunbird Cinnyris mediocris 4 10 4 2 2
Beautiful Sunbird Cinnyris pulchellus 1 6 2 2 1
Variable Sunbird Cinnyris venustus 2 1 10 4 10
White-eyes Zosteropidae
Broad-ringed (Montane) White-eye Zosterops poliogaster 15 6
White-breasted (Abyss.) White-eye Zosterops abyssinicus 4
Old World Orioles Oriolidae
African Black-headed Oriole Oriolus larvatus 1 1 1 2
Shrikes Laniidae
Red-backed Shrike Lanius collurio 1
Rufous-tailed (Isabelline) Shrike Lanius isabellinus 12 4 2 1
Lesser Gray Shrike Lanius minor 1
Gray-backed Fiscal Lanius excubitoroides 1 15 5 1
Long-tailed Fiscal Lanius cabanisi 1 5 *
Taita Fiscal Lanius dorsalis 2 2 *
Common Fiscal Lanius collaris * * * * * 1 5 5
Magpie Shrike Corvinella melanoleuca 1 * * *
White-rumped (Wh.-crowned)  Shrike Eurocephalus rueppelli 2 1 10 15 * * * * * * *
Bushshrikes & Allies Malaconotidae
Brubru Nilaus afer 1 2
Black-backed Puffback Dryoscopus cubla 2 4 1
Brown-crowned Tchagra Tchagra australis 4 4
Tropical Boubou Laniarius aethiopicus 1 h 2 4 4 2
Slate-colored Boubou Laniarius funebris 2 2 2 6 6 2
Sulphur-breasted Bushshrike Telophorus sulfureopectus 1
Black-fronted Bushshrike Telophorus nigrifrons 2
Drongos Dicruridae
Fork-tailed Drongo Dicrurus adsimilis 2 2 6 2 1 2 4 4
Crows, Jays & Magpies Corvidae
Cape Crow (Cape Rook) Corvus capensis 6 8 2 2
Pied Crow Corvus albus *
White-necked Raven Corvus albicollis 1 1 3 1 1
Starlings Sturnidae
Wattled Starling Creatophora cinerea 20 * * * * * 10
Greater Blue-eared Glossy-Starling Lamprotornis chalybaeus 2 4 6
Rueppell’s (Long-tailed) Glossy-Starling Lamprotornis purpuropterus 4 10 10
Superb Starling Lamprotornis superbus * * 10 * * * * * * * * *
Hildebrandt’s Starling Lamprotornis hildebrandti 1 10 10 * * 10
Ashy Starling Spreo unicolor * * *
SPECIES SCIENTIFIC NAME 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
Red-winged Starling Onychognathus morio 4 4 2 10 10
Red-billed Oxpecker Buphagus erythrorhynchus 3 10 * 10
Yellow-billed Oxpecker Buphagus africanus 10 * * * 3 *
Old World Sparrows Passeridae
House Sparrow ( I ) Passer domesticus 1
Gray-headed Sparrow Passer griseus * * * * *
Swaheli Sparrow Passer suahelicus * * * * * * *
Chestnut Sparrow Passer eminibey 20 10 1 1
Weavers & Allies Ploceidae
Red-billed Buffalo-Weaver Bubalornis niger 4 * 10 * * * * * * *
White-headed Buffalo-Weaver Dinemellia dinemelli 1 20 * 5 *, *
Speckle-fronted Weaver Sporopipes frontalis 25 25 * 20 * 10
Rufous-tailed Weaver Histurgops ruficauda 10 * * * * * * 10
Gray-headed Social-Weaver Pseudonigrita arnaudi 2 *
Baglafecht Weaver Ploceus baglafecht 6 4 5 10 * * *
Lesser Masked-Weaver Ploceus intermedius 1
Spectacled Weaver Ploceus ocularis 1 6
Taveta Golden-Weaver Ploceus castaneiceps 4 2
African (Vitelline) Masked-Weaver Ploceus (velatus) vitellinus 20 10 * 2 1
Village Weaver Ploceus cucullatus 10
Speke’s Weaver Ploceus spekei 3
Red-headed Weaver Anaplectes rubriceps 1 4
Red-billed Quelea Quelea quelea 50 1 40 10
(Southern) Red Bishop Euplectes orix 4
Fan-tailed Widowbird Euplectes axillaris 15
Jackson’s Widowbird Euplectes jacksoni 2
Grosbeak Weaver Amblyospiza albifrons 10 * 10 10
Waxbills & Allies Estrildidae
Green-winged Pytilia Pytilia melba 6 2
Abyssinian Crimson-wing Cryptospiza salvadorii 3 2
Red-billed Firefinch Lagonosticta senegala 4
African Firefinch Lagonosticta rubricata 10 4 4 6
Red-cheeked Cordonbleu Uraeginthus bengalus 1 4 10
Blue-capped Cordonbleu Uraeginthus cyanocephalus 1 2 2 4 15 10
Purple Grenadier Uraeginthus ianthinogaster 1 2 2 1 5
Yellow-bellied Waxbill Estrilda quartinia 1 10 4
Crimson-rumped Waxbill Estrilda rhodopyga 6
Common Waxbill Estrilda astrild 10
Black – (faced) cheeked Waxbill Estrilda erythronotos 4 2
African Silverbill Euodice (Lonchura) cantans 2
Cut-throat Amadina fasciata 2
Indigobirds Viduidae
Village Indigobird Vidua chalybeata 20
Straw-tailed Whydah Vidua fischeri 1 10
Pin-tailed Whydah Vidua macroura 1
Eastern Paradise-Whydah Vidua paradisaea 1 1
Siskins, Crossbills & Allies Fringillidae
Oriole Finch Linurgus olivaceus 3 1 1
Southern Citril Serinus hypostictus 1 4
Reichenow’s (Yell.-rump.) Seedeater Serinus (atrogularis) reichenowi 10
Yellow-fronted Canary Serinus mozambicus 5
White-bellied Canary Serinus dorsostriatus 2 1 6 2
Streaky Seedeater Serinus striolatus 6 10 * *
Thick-billed Seedeater Serinus burtoni 2 2
SPECIES SCIENTIFIC NAME 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
Colobid monkeys Colobidae
Guereza (Black & White) Colobus Colobus guereza 3
Cheek-pouch Monkeys Cercopithecidae
Vervet Monkey Cerc. (aethiops) pygerythrus 10 * 10 25 20 1 2 15 15 10
Gentle (Blue/Syke’s)  Monkey Cercopithecus (nictitans) mitis 6 15 4 4 1
Olive Baboon Papio anubis * * * * * * * * 100 *
Galagos or Bushbabies Galagonidae
Bushbaby sp. 1
Large-winged Bats Megadermatidae
Yellow-winged Bat Lavia frons 1 1
Unidentified Small Bats Microchiroptera
Bat sp. 2
Rabbits & Hares Leporidae
Scrub Hare / Cape Hare Lepus saxatalis / capensis 2 2
Squirrels & Chipmunks Sciuridae
Unstriped Ground Squirrel Xerus rutilus 2
Tree Squirrel sp. 1
Rats & Mice Muridae
Grass Rat sp. * 5 10 5
Foxes, Jackals & Dogs Canidae
Common (Golden) Jackal Canis aureus 2 6
Black-backed Jackal Canis mesomelas 6 2 2 4
Bat-eared Fox Otocyon megalotis 1 4
Mongooses Herpestidae
Slender Mongoose Herpestes sanguinea 1
Dwarf Mongoose Helogale parvula 12 2 5 10
Banded Mongoose Mungos mungo 20 10 6 15
Marsh Mongoose Atilax paludinosus 2 1
Hyenas & Aardwolf Hyaenidae
Spotted Hyena Crocuta crocuta 45 h h 6 1 6 1
Striped Hyena Hyaena hyaena 1
Genets & Civets Viverridae
Common (Small-spotted) Genet Genetta genetta 2 1 2 2 2
Cats Felidae
Serval Felis serval 2
Leopard Panthera pardus 1 2 1 1
Lion Panthera leo 19 8 12 9
Cheetah Acinonyx jubatus 2 3
Hyraxes Procavidae
Black-necked Rock Hyrax Procavia johnstoni * *
Tree Hyrax Dendrohyrax arboreus
Bush (Yellow-spotted) Hyrax Heterohyrax brucei * * * 5 5
Elephants Elephantidae
African Elephant Loxodonta africana 20 6 15 25 15 20 2 5 30 35 30
Zebras, Asses & Horses Equidae
Common Zebra Equus africanus (burchellii) 4 * * * * * * * * * * * 30
Hippopotamidae Hippopotami
Hippopotamus Hippopotamus amphibius 6 30 20 10 10 15 15 15
Pigs Suidae
Common Warthog Phacochoerus africanus 20 * * * * * * * 2 10 15
Giraffe & Okapi Giraffidae
Giraffe Giraffa camelopardalis 45 12 30 10 20 25 20 20 15 40 15
Antelope & Buffalo Bovidae
African (Cape) Buffalo Syncerus caffer 8 * * * * * * 4 10 * 2
Bushbuck Tragelaphus scriptus 10 10 2 2
SPECIES SCIENTIFIC NAME 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
Common Eland Taurotragus oryx 1 2
Harvey’s Duiker Cephalophus harveyi 6
Blue Duiker Cephalophus monticola 1
Steinbuck Raphicerus campestris 1 3
Kirk’s Dik-dik Madoqua kirkii 6 1 1 2 10 2 10 10
Bohor Reedbuck Redunca redunca 10 2 10 5
Common Waterbuck Kobus ellipsiprymnus 10 * 1 2 3 15 10
Grant’s Gazelle Gazella granti * * * * * * * 15 *
Red-fronted (Thomson’s) Gazelle Gazella rufifrons (thomsonii) 10 * * * * * * *
Impala Aepyceros melampus * 10 10 * * * * * *
Topi Damaliscus lunatus 50 * 25
Kongoni (Coke’s Hartebeest) Alcelaphus buselaphus 1 25 50 * 25 10
Brindled Gnu (Wildebeest) Connochaetes taurinus 50 * * * * * 50 * *
Nile Crocodile Crocodilus niloticus 1 1
Nile Monitor Lizard Varanus niloticus 1
Leopard Tortoise Geochelone pardalis 1 1
Helmeted Terrapin Pelomedusa subrufa 1
Red-headed (Common) Agama Agama agama 2
Mwanza Flat-headed Agama Agama mwanzae 5 10 * 5 *
Skink sp. 2
Gecko sp. 1
Rock Python sp. Python natalensis/sebae 1
PEMBA 18 19 20 21
Pemba Flying Fox Pteropus voeltzkowi * 25 2
Galago sp. h h h
Great Egret Ardea alba 2
Black-headed Heron Ardea melanocephala 2
Little (Dimorphic) Egret Egretta garzetta dimorpha 5 1 6
Striated Heron Butorides striata 2
Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis 2
Palm-nut Vulture Gypohierax vocifer 1
Black Kite Milvus migrans 1
Black-bellied Plover Pluvialis squatorola 1
Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula 10
Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius 1
Lesser Sandplover Charadrius mongolus *
Greater Sandplover Charadrius leschenaultii *
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus 1
Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia 1
Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola 1
Terek Sandpiper Xenus cinereus 5
Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea 10 25
Sanderling Calidris alba 15
Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres 1 5
Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleuca 2
Sooty Gull Larus hemprichii 35
Pemba Green Pigeon Treron pembaensis
Brown-headed  Parrot Poicephalus cryptoxanthus 15 6
Black Coucal Centropus grillii 1
Pemba Scops-Owl Otus pembaensis
Mangrove Kingfisher Halcyon senegaloides 2
Blue-cheeked Bee-eater Merops persicus 10 12 5
Broad-billed Roller Eurystomus glaucurus 3 2 2
Crowned Hornbill Tockus alboterminatus * * 4
Wire-tailed Swallow Hirundo smithii 10 * *
Grassland Pipit Anthus cinnamomeus 5 6 10 4
Zitting Cisticola Cisticola juncidis 2 1
Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata 3 4 4 2
Pemba White-eye Zosterops vaughani 5 * 10
Pemba Sunbird Cinnyris pembae 1 3 2
Eurasian Golden Oriole Oriolus oriolus 4
House Crow Corvus splendens 1 4 3
Pied Crow Corvus albus 5 * * *
Violet-backed Starling Cinnyricinclus  leucogaster 1
Southern Grey-headed Sparrow Passer diffusus 2 10
Bronze Mannikin Spermestes cucullata 10 6

Other Tanzania Trip Reports arranged by years.

2014  |   2013  |  2012  |  2011  |  2010   |  2008   |  2006 2005    |  2003