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2014, Tanzania Birding Trip Reports

NORTHERN TANZANIA

 

(Birds & Wildlife in the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater and Beyond)

February 28th – March 14th 2014

&

Pre-Tour Extension to the “Lark Plains”, Pare Mountains and Mkomazi Game Reserve

 

February 24th – 28th

 

Tour Report & Checklist

 

Tour Leader

Peter Roberts

 

Local Leader

Martin Joho

 

Drivers

Abdul & Vincent

 

The Group

Lionel Cartlidge

Red Clarke

Matthew Connell

Ellen Gizzarelli

Alastair Henderson

Marlys & Larry Oosting

Wannetta Elliott

Penny Kneisler

Peg Raymond

Carol Weiss

 

Daily Notes

 

February 24: Arrival into Arusha: Lionel and I arrived on time into Kilimanjaro International Airport near Arusha from Nairobi at about 9.40am. We’d been travelling overnight on a direct London to Nairobi flight. Immigration and Customs were straightforward and our luggage arrived with us so all was well. The Birding & Beyond representative met us and by about 11am we were transferred to Arumeru River Lodge in a very pleasant temperature with lots of welcome sunshine. The land looked quite green and the rains had apparently started early this season.

After getting to our rooms and taking a break we were both keen to wander the very pleasant lodge grounds to see if any birds might pop up. We had a brief look in the remainder of the morning, another stroll after a pleasant al fresco lunch, then an evening stroll after a bit of a rest back in the rooms. Meantime I met up with Anthony Raphael, the owner of Birding & Beyond, to discuss the program.

We did indeed see a few good first birds and it was useful to reacquaint ourselves with the common species. Bronze Mannikins, Speckled Mousebirds and Common (Yellow-vented) Bulbuls predominated. Other regular, but perhaps more interesting species showed up such as Red-faced Cisticola, Yellow-breasted Apalis, White-browed Robin-Chat and Tropical Boubou. Some high treetops attracted quite a flow of birds coming and going, allowing us to sit at a table on the veranda with a beer or cup of tea and watch some interesting birds with great ease. Several fancy looking Red-headed Weavers and Violet-backed Starlings were knocked into second place by White-eared and Brown-breasted Barbets and African Paradise Flycatcher. Rarest find of the afternoon was probably Kenrick’s Starling sparring with Fork-tailed Drongos in the treetops.

After supper we went a few yards into the grounds and played call for African Wood Owl which responded quite quickly and gave us some very good views perched high in the trees.

Red, Peg, Carol, Marlys, Larry, Wannetta and Penny arrived into Kilimanjaro International Airport on the KLM flight direct from Amsterdam on schedule in the evening and were transferred to the lodge where I met them at about 10pm. After checking in they were still keen and awake enough to try for the Wood Owl, but sadly it had gone off hunting and there was no trace of it.

February 25: To the “Lark Plains” and on to Ndarakwai: We met for a 6.30am breakfast, packed up and stowed our stuff into the landcruisers to set out through Arusha, north on a good paved road towards Namanga. Before leaving the lodge I was pleased to spy a Lizard Buzzard perched in a nearby dead tree. Our drivers for this tour were Vincent and Abdul and our local guide Martin who came highly recommended. Along the way, with most people never having birded Africa before, it was difficult not to stop for every good bird that was being seen along the road, but we halted for first Abdim’s Storks and some lovely White-throated Bee-eaters. After an hour or so we were turning off the main road onto the so-called “Lark Plains” made famous by the discovery of what is now a full endemic and extremely scarce species – Beesley’s Lark. This is possibly the rarest bird in East Africa with estimates of its population rarely going above a hundred individuals. The local Maasai are aware of the bird’s importance and have them located for us. We were immediately birding once having pulled off onto a dirt track across a large flat short-grass plain. Red-capped Larks, Isabelline and Capped Wheatears were common and great views of scarcer birds such as Short-tailed Lark were a pleasant surprise. Not far down the road we came across our local Maasai “fixers” who had us walk a few hundred yards onto the plains where, sure-enough, were at least 6 Beesley’s Larks showing well and allowing some decent photos to be taken. Further along the flocks of Fischer’s Sparrow-Larks increased and loose groups of Lesser Kestrels hunted along with occasional Pale Chanting-Goshawks and Montagu’s Harriers. We continued eastwards across country through fairly remote and wild Maasai steppe: acacia scrub and thornbush interspersed with euphorbia (a cactus look-alike) and Sansevera (sisal) along with large patches of barren, bare ground. The birding was good throughout and we could easily have spent many hours birding this rich area. Stops were made at random or for interesting birds seen, which usually led to several further sightings of other good things. Our picnic lunch stop in the shade of acacias produced brilliant looks at two species unlikely to be found elsewhere – Grey Wren-Warbler and Red-fronted Warbler. Several Taita Fiscal Shrikes were noted and a stop for Yellow-browed Canaries turned up the much rarer Southern Grosbeak Canary too. Stopping for Pin-tailed Whydah produced a real bonus of gorgeous Cutthroat and a male Straw-tailed Whydah. Our first sandgrouse and francolins were seen along with lone Secretarybird. It had been a pleasant dry and warm day, the area not looking as if it has had as much rain as other areas are reported to have received. We decided to head off in the heat of the afternoon to reach the lodge at Ndarakwai in good time and our final birding stop proved again very fruitful. A pair of nesting sparrows looked large and heavy billed and were watched going in and out of a natural tree nest-hole. After careful scrutiny these were clearly the first Parrot-billed Sparrows I’ve seen in Africa for a very long time and pleasantly obvious despite how similar the books make them all look.

We arrived at Ndarakwai by mid-afternoon – a lovely, secluded tented camp on a 20,000 acre private ranch bordering close to Amboseli National Park in Kenya. We checked in to our spacious tents and reconvened at 4.30pm for a bird walk. There were so many new birds popping up at the spot where we reconvened that we never got to walk any further than the lovely veranda of the bar where large gin and tonics seemed a very pleasant way to watch the last few birds of a very successful first day out. In between the gins and the chatter we did find many classic acacia forest birds: both Little and Cinnamon-chested Bee-eaters, Slate-coloured Boubous, Tawny-flanked Prinias, Grey-backed Camaropteras, Red-fronted Barbet and Buff-bellied Warblers along with migrant Willow Warblers, Spotted Flycatchers and Tree Pipit.  We also had close-to-hand Blue Monkeys and Bushbuck wandering the grounds.

As we gathered again at the bar for the birdlist we were treated to hand-feeding one of three pretty little Senegal Galagos (bushbabies) that came in to take bits of banana proffered to them. After an excellent supper we took advantage of being in the only location possible for a night drive for chances of further nocturnal animals. We were out for about an hour or so and did very well indeed. Best of all was a superb look at a lone Aardvark – only the 3rd I’ve ever seen (and two of them have been here!). Another brilliant sighting was quite a few curious looking Spring Hares – a unique creature in a family of its own. 3rd prize was a look at a furtive African Wild Cat showing just its head in the tall grass. Birds were a bit thin on the ground, with just flashes of 2-3 unidentified nightjars and small birds including apparently Harlequin Quails flushing up in front of the vehicle. The only good sighting was an extremely close Nightjar sat in the road allowing for great photos to help ID it later and proving to be Square-tailed.

February 26: Ndarakwai and on to Same near Mkomaki Game Reserve: We had a very good breakfast at 6.30am in the open dining area, complete with a mass of bird song and activity. Then it was off in our safari vehicles for a full morning slowly driving around some of the Ndarakwai Ranch reserve. Apart from the first few Impala, Wildebeest and Zebra, there was nothing of mammalian note – but the birding was very good, with stops seemingly every hundred yards as new things were spied. The bird list here is extensive and we managed a good list of new species. Barbets were much in evidence with Brown-breasted, Red-fronted, Red-and-Yellow, Spot-flanked and Black-throated all showing well. The group was delighted with the flashier showings such as Grey-headed Kingfishers and European Rollers while I was thrilled to find Desert Cisticola. Big species such as Kori and Black-bellied Bustards, Secretarybird and Yellow-necked Francolins were a hit too, while for me the sighting of a rarely seen Shelley’s Francolin was a bonus. The area was full of Fawn-coloured Larks (now split and called Foxy) singing distinctively from the open scrubby acacia bush. We edged along some thicker riverine forest with fruiting figs, which produced a further variety of good birds and a good tally of raptors, pride of place going to a fine dark-phase Wahlberg’s Eagle conveniently close for comparison to a Tawny Eagle. Long-crested Eagle looked very spiffy and other sightings included a pair of Eurasian Marsh-Harriers and a dashing Lanner Falcon. We returned to the Camp for a far too tasty and lavish lunch by 12.30pm and managed to tear ourselves away by about 1.45pm on our journey to the town of Same.

The remainder of the afternoon was spent driving out to the main road and eastwards to Same through agricultural land and along the edge of the North Pare Mountains – part of the Eastern Arc Mountains, an isolated range of ancient massifs that stretch from south-eastern Kenya into southern Tanzania. We arrived a little after 5pm to find three Trumpeter Hornbills sat in the trees above the reception to the hotel – a good start as this species wasn’t even on the list and had not been seen by me before in all the 20+ previous tours. The hotel is OK for a couple of nights but is very much not a tourist lodge, but a motel for local passing business trade. Hence the rooms are all very varied in what they offer, very varied in what works in each and with a hotel staff that needs a bit of training! However, it will be adequate and is the only reasonable place to stay to explore this region so is definitely “best available”. The evening meal was OK, the beer is cheap and we look forward to a morning in a new place for birding tomorrow.

February 27: Mkomazi National Park and Scrub woodland near Same: Mkomazi National Park is located in North Eastern Tanzania bordering Tsavo National Park in Kenya. Formerly a Game Reserve it is now a National Park covering over 3,200 square km dominated by Acacia – Commiphora vegetation. It was only a 15 minute drive to the entrance gate from our hotel, so we were in there birding by close to 7.30am, returning to the hotel for lunch at 1pm. This was the “new” bit of Tanzania for me after over 20 visits to the country so I was very keen to see what it had to offer and knew it holds a number of species which are found at the southern limit of their range and that we wouldn’t come across elsewhere on the main tour. Soon after setting off, Martin in the lead vehicle stopped and got us on to a bright red and black bird – our first Zanzibar Bishop. Later, once into the National Park there were masses of other similar species all in fine breeding dress and displaying with the onset of the rains and the vegetation becoming lush. White-winged and Fan-tailed Widowbirds were common and we came across a couple of  Red Bishops too. Several flamboyant Northern Carmine Bee-eaters made our first Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters seem a bit pedestrian, but several male Eastern Paradise Whydahs looked almost as exotic as birds of paradise. Hornbills were everywhere this morning, with multiple sightings of Northern Red-billed, Von Der Decken’s and African Grey. Red-billed Queleas and other small flocking species such as Chestnut Sparrows and Chestnut Weavers were dashing about in the open Acacia scrub where we managed to call up brief looks at Ashy Cisticola – a special bird of the area with a distinctive song but not much else very distinctive about it – other than its undistinctiveness! Eastern Olivaceous Warblers sang from acacia canopies where White-bellied Go-away Birds and Long-tailed Shrikes called and sat up displaying. The comical duet displays of D’Arnauds Barbets were a hit too and sightings of White-headed Barbets meant that we’ve already just about seen the full list of possible barbets for the whole tour. There were some wonderful panoramic views across vast areas of savannah at times – but surprisingly few mammals to be seen. I am told that it is easiest to see the special antelopes in the dry season and even then they are more shy here because it was only until recently that they were being hunted in this region. Our first distant Coke’s Hartebeest and Giraffes were about the lot. The open grassland produced numerous little irruptions of fleeing roadside Harlequin Quails and at least one Common Quail seen well on the ground after it landed – something of a miraculous achievement given how small, fast and skulking they normally are. In the same vein, one bus reported seeing a Corncrake crossing the road – a remarkable sight as I’ve never seen this species in Africa, though they are a special breeding bird where I live on Islay. Raptors were again quite good with yet another Wahlberg’s eagle – this one a pale blond morph, while several Bateleurs and Brown Snake Eagle were new for the list. We finished up at a wonderful overlook down onto a huge wetland swampy area with a largish lake. From here we could scope distant Woolly-necked Storks on the shoreline.

After lunch we had a bit of down-time before setting out again at 3.30pm. Martin took us off to an area we could walk in for some further birding of acacia-commiphora scrub. This area was just 15 minutes from the hotel and gave us nearly three hours of slowly walking a wide track through this scrubby cover with a few larger trees looking for local specialties. It was hot to begin with and birding a bit slow except for a group of agitated roadside birds giving great views as they scolded at an unknown threat in the grass. Here were Red-backed (White-browed) Scrub-Robin, Black-necked Weaver and Brown-crowned Tchagra. Later we came across pockets of activity with just a few of the more localised birds popping up – Black-bellied Sunbird and (Zanzibar) Sombre Greenbul being most notable along with a single Rosy-patched Bushshrike and a lovely group of White-crested Helmetshrikes. We had super looks at a couple of trees simultaneously holding Levaillant’s and Pied Cuckoos, our first Pearl-spotted Owlet and colourful Sulphur-breasted Bushshrike. Other interesting stuff were several more Grey Wren-Warblers, White-breasted (Abyssinian) White-eye, Spotted Morning-Thrush, Amethyst Sunbird and Red-headed Weaver.

 

February 28: Mkomazi and return via  Nyumba Ya Mungu Reservoir to Arusha: After a “sumptuous” breakfast at 6.15am, we were ready to jump into the landcruisers and head off to places unknown for some more birding in this dry maasai scrub before it got too hot. We drove towards Arusha for about 40 minutes and turned down towards the reservoir at Nyumba Ya Mungu and stopped to take a bird walk in an area of low bushy scrub that stretched as far as the eye could see. I think we did pretty well in finding a number of the more special species that we’d come to see in this new part of Tanzania and that we’d not find on the main part of the tour. It was another sunny, dry day, but the heat was tolerable until about 10.30am when we packed up. There multiple good views of Pringle’s Puffback and some reasonable looks at White-headed Mousebird, sharing the habitat with Blue-naped. There were several Grey Wren-Warblers and Red-fronted Warblers singing and showing off as we peered to get decent looks at the bright little Tsavo Sunbird – a recent split from Purple-banded and my one “Lifer” of the tour!  Another dapper little bird and surprisingly identifiable was Pygmy Batis. Another unexpected and very welcome find, seen beautifully was a lone Madagascar Bee-eater.

It was only a short drive further on to reach the shores of the Reservoir where we pulled up and scoped the waterbirds. There weren’t the throngs of birds I’d hoped for, but enough to keep us busy with a selection of “standard” species such as African Spoonbill, both Whistling Ducks, Egyptian Geese, Whiskered and Gull-billed Terns, Grey-headed Gulls, Sacred and Glossy Ibises and so on. By far the finest sight however was a large gathering of 150-200 African Skimmers – rarely seen on my regular route and certainly not in such impressive numbers. By about 11.30am we left here to drive to a more shaded sight for our picnic lunch where Abdul knew there might be a chance for Taveta Golden Weaver by a river fringed with extensive papyrus. We duly ate our lunch and were soon watching a small colony of these bright orange-yellow birds nest-building and displaying – another of the more localised species under our belts. From there on it was a straight drive to Ngare Sero lodge on the outskirts of Arusha – a peaceful haven and much nicer accommodation for the next two nights.

Two more of our group – Alastair and Matthew – had arrived this afternoon and were already in their rooms. After checking in and getting ourselves sorted out, some of us wandered the short distance down to the small lake fringed by mature woodland all within the grounds of the lodge. As hoped, this produced excellent looks at African Black Duck – the only time we’d see this species on the tour. Other hoped-for species popped up on cue  – most spectacular being a stunning Giant Kingfisher, that perched up for ages filling the scope view in bright sunlight – absolutely glorious. The wet edges of the lake held nesting Taveta Golden and Grosbeak Weavers, while the large trees overhead supported Blue Monkeys and Silvery-cheeked Hornbills.  Some managed to find time for a dip in the pool, others just relaxed with a beer. Just before supper we called in a pair of African Wood Owls.  I waited up to greet in Ellen, the last of our group to arrive, which she did about on time off the KLM flight at just after 10pm. Having travelled non-stop from East coast USA she was understandably tired and went directly off to bed with instructions for a 7am breakfast tomorrow.

 March 1: Arusha National Park. After a 7am breakfast we set off towards a day in beautiful Arusha National Park a little before 8am. We were minus three folks who between them decided that a relaxed day around the beautiful lodge would suit them better. The Park is dominated by rugged Mt. Meru (14,979 ft.), which was clear in view much of the day, with even the flat top of Kilimanjaro showing early on. With Abdul, Vincent and Martin driving across country today to meet us in Mwanza tomorrow, we had two stand-in drivers who did a perfectly adequate job of getting us about this small jewel of a park (just 55 sq. miles). Although many of the better-known big game animals are present, we managed to concentrate on the outstanding birdlife, with just the occasional stop – especially for a group of Black & White Colobus Monkeys and a remarkable albino Baboon. Where we stopped to check in to the Park I called for Singing Cisticola and Moustached Grass-Warbler and had both pop up well giving excellent scope views. This done we continued as directly as we could up the slopes of Mt. Meru on a bumpy track through increasingly lush forest of  Mahogany, Fig, Cedar, and Wild Mango to the famous Fig Tree Arch, where we bailed out and started our first serious birding session. It was embarrassingly slow to start with! I know the place over many years to produce some excellent and special forest birds that we’d be unlikely to see elsewhere, but it was deathly quiet. Eventually things picked up, and by the end of our two hours or more in this one area we’d notched up a very reasonable selection of the birds I’d hoped for. The drivers were interested and helped us locate birds as they eventually moved through. The much expected Montane (Broad-ringed) White-eyes came by in distinctive groups and a resident Dusky Flycatcher or two gave us something to look at at all times. Eastern Mountain Greenbul is another of the more regular birds here, but it was a while before any showed, but had several pass through by the end of the time here, along with less expected Northern Brownbul and Stripe-cheeked Bulbuls. Another LBJ was Brown Woodland Warbler and after that it was slightly brighter and more fancy species such as a couple of great looks at stunning little White-starred Robins, a fantastic Bar-tailed Trogon and a couple of Grey Wagtails – the latter a particularly uncommon wintering bird here. With the big prize of the Trogon seen well we had to give up on the loudly calling and tantalisingly close Hartlaub’s Turacos. We tried calling them often but they just weren’t playing ball – odd as often they respond well to playback. Up in the bright blue skies above the canopy we spotted a drab Mountain Buzzard just as a Crowned Eagle started calling loudly in the air. Some lucky ones managed a convincing glimpse of it before it sailed away into the blue yonder. We descended to the Ranger Station to eat our picnic done up in neat little lilac sacks. Here too was one of the day’s few loo stops before heading out across the Park to the Momella Lakes. En route we tried for various other birds I know to be present in the lower, more open scrub. We managed to call out one of several Trilling Cisticolas before arriving to do a circuit of the lakes with a whole different array of birds to watch. Apart from a few shorebirds and Little Grebes there was a nice group of Southern Pochards seen as we exited and a very good showing of Lesser Flamingos with a few Greater thrown in for good measure. The light was particularly good after a short rain-shower, with a lovely cool temperature as we got out at the viewpoint across the lakes to scope the flamingos and other birds gathered there. Particularly useful was a considerable number of low-flying swifts and hirundines allowing very good looks and some positive ID. It was particularly pleasing to be able to pick out a good few Horus Swifts amongst the throng. On leaving the Momella Lakes we made straight for Lake Longil, a small freshwater lake that often produces some great additional birds to finish with. Today was no exception, with some decent views of the localised White-backed Duck and a Lesser Jacana – only the second time that species has been recorded on the tour (the first was here too!). We had a spectacular African Fish-Eagle swoop down and take a fish, plunging into and sitting on the water until it got up enough energy to take off again.  Other good stuff here was Black Cuckoo-shrike, Black-backed Puffback and of course our first Hippos. We were out of the Park via our one and only group of Black & White Colobus Monkeys complete with white babies, by 5.30pm and back to the hotel by 6pm. Pennelope had been doing some birding of her own and found a lovely selection of birds including a rarely seen Peter’s Twinspot in the riverine forest. Wannetta had been enthralled by visiting a local orphanage and Larry had enjoyed a relaxed day with his camera.

After a long bird list and a good supper we all made it bed early in order for a 6.30am breakfast tomorrow before heading to Mwanza and Lake Victoria. The eerie, yet slightly comical calls of a couple of African Wood Owls lulled us to sleep.

 

March 2: To Lake Victoria. We were breakfasting by 6.30am today and departing by 7.30am for Kilimanjaro Airport to fly to the far west and land by the shores of Lake Victoria at Mwanza. The check in was quick, the plane on time and landed early – even catching our drivers out who were still finishing off their lunches in a cafe around the corner from the small terminal. We packed our bags and spent a couple of hours or so driving through quite different, quite heavily populated countryside along the flat plains edging Lake Victoria with many rice fields still lying fallow and awaiting the rains proper. It was hot and sunny and Speke Bay Lodge was a lovely haven to arrive at by 2.30pm. Settling into our rooms, we had time to chill and sip cold drinks on the shoreline veranda before embarking on our first bird walk around the lodge grounds at 4.30pm.

 

Lake Victoria has a good number of special birds not found elsewhere on our tour and I was keen to make a start on finding some of them this afternoon. We began with cold beers on the deck at 4.30pm where special and localised species such as Slender-billed Weaver and Swamp Flycatcher were showing and giving us a good excuse to continue this relaxed style of birding. Eventually we dragged ourselves up and wandered a very short distance around one small part of the grounds until people started disappearing back to their rooms by 6pm for showers before supper. We managed some great looks at Northern Brown-throated and Golden-backed (Jackson’s) Weavers nest-building by the lake shore. Inland were Silverbird, Spotted Thick-knees, Klaas Cuckoo (finally after hearing them for days!), Gabar Goshawk and a fine pair of African Fish Eagles. Eventually we found good looks at the exquisite little Red-chested Sunbird – a species we’d only be watching here today and tomorrow morning. Another goal was the regular Three-banded (Heuglin’s) Coursers that I’ve seen here on every trip I’ve made. I was a little alarmed at not finding them at their usual site, but persisted after almost everyone had gone to their rooms and eventually found a pair tucked in the grass behind the tents. I set up the scope and got everyone on to it in their own time as they came out for the bird list and supper.  Over 200 species of birds have been recorded on the Lodge’s 250 acres of grounds and we hope that tomorrow morning’s sessions will gain us a good selection of these starting with a pre-breakfast wander along the lake shore.

March 3: Speke Bay Lodge and on to the Central Serengeti. This morning we were all met up at 6.30am on the lake shore by cabin #8 to see the sunrise and start a pre-breakfast stroll in the grounds at Speke’s Bay. We skirted the papyrus and reed-fringing the lake, watching the various weavers going about their business – including the other localised species that we’d not see elsewhere: Yellow-backed. With the water level very high this year the shorebirds and wetland species were much reduced, but we did pick out wintering Sedge and Eurasian Reed Warblers and there were large numbers of prehistoric-looking African Openbills flying over from their roosts. Marlys found us the best bird of the session with a lovely Blue-headed Coucal that I’d been trying to call in.  We went inland from here wandering under the open acacia forest and grassland calling out other special species like the bright red and black Black-headed Gonolek. plus Klaas and Dideric Cuckoos. Pretty little Blue-capped Cordonbleus hopped about and brilliant Woodland Kingfishers all added brightness to the more sombre sightings of Pale and Grey Flycatchers. White-headed Sawwing was an unusual sighting here, but sadly only 2 or three of us caught it as it zipped by overhead.

Back for breakfast by 7.45am we took a short break and then did a second ramble across the grounds. The Heuglin’s Coursers were still in situ and a trio of tricky to ID nightjars turned out to be European. Other nice sightings were a fine male African Paradise Flycatcher complete with huge tail and a bright Grey-capped Warbler called in and singing its very fluty song. There were plenty more northern migrants present with Great Reed Warbler the most interesting amongst numerous Willow and Eastern Olivaceous. Raptors were noticeable, with both species of Marsh Harriers seen along with fine Gabar Goshawk, Long-crested Eagle and Steppe Buzzards.

After clearing our rooms by 11am, it allowed time for a final short wander to another area of the extensive grounds looking at our final views of so many species we’d be leaving behind when we set out for the Serengeti this afternoon.

Lunch was at 12.30pm and we reluctantly packed into the vehicles for the short distance to the entrance gate of the Serengeti National Park. The run through the Western corridor is unavoidably rushed as our next lodge at Seronera is perhaps 75 miles across a small part of this vast undisturbed natural habitat. We had two species targets to try for before heading off more determinedly to our lodge: Karamoja Apalis and Eastern Plantain-eater. The first was seen very quickly as it gave an immediate response to playback at the first spot we tried along the way. This is a bird that has only recently been discovered here and its habitat is the peculiar Whistling Thorn Acacia. After the quick success with the apalis it was worrying to try two places for the plantain-eater with no luck. Happily, Martin and the drivers knew of a third spot for this bird along the riverine thick forest habitat by the Grumeti River and we had good luck with it there – the call sounding like a crazed Disney character.

The rest of the afternoon was a fairly fast journey onwards, stopping here and there for our first mammal photos and various additional bird sightings. We of course had to pause for our first bizarre group of Southern Ground Hornbills – turkey sized, but still needing a tree nest hole as a breeding site! Uncommon Steel-blue Whydahs dashed by on a couple of occasions – we hope there may be others to view at a more leisurely pace later. We arrived at Seronera by 6.30pm. Grabbed our rooms, took a short break and went straight in to supper, too tired to do the bird list this evening.

 

March 4: The Central Serengeti. The Serengeti is a vast preserved area. At 5,675 square miles, it is larger than the entire state of Connecticut! With a further 3,200 sq. miles protected in the surrounding Ngorongoro Conservation Area, the total is as large as Vermont or New Hampshire. Having already traveled through the “western corridor” and Grumeti River yesterday, we had time to a very leisurely approach in our explorations today. Setting off at 7.45am after breakfast, we let the drivers and guide take us wherever they thought best to begin our sightings of the local birds, game animals and to finally allow some better photographic opportunities. The Seronera River area with its braided small meandering streams and associated riverine or gallery forest of Yellowbark Acacias (“fever” trees) was the main area of our watching. It was hot dry and dusty, but there were plenty of good birds to be seen.  Rueppell’s Glossy Starling, Yellow-billed Oxpeckers, Brown (Meyer’s) Parrots, plenty of gross Marabou Storks, flamboyant Lilac-breasted Rollers posing for photos, the first Croaking and Zitting Cisticolas and more. But this is prime Leopard country and this was the main underlying target for the morning. After an hour or so the drivers got word of a classic leopard in a tree, so we headed off in that direction, only pausing to admire the first small group of Lions of the tour, one of them a little way up a tree – not an everyday occurrence. We arrived at the where the Leopard had been seen only to find it had dropped out of its tree to disappear into the vast acreage of tall savanna grassland – lost for good. But not long afterwards it was located again up another tree a little further along the trail. This was a tiny tree for a large Leopard, but it allowed some great views and the ‘scope allowed us to count the white whiskers on its face! After a bit of repositioning, this gorgeous animal posed halfway down the trunk and then slid back into the long grass again – a brilliant start to our time in the Serengeti. Further Lion sightings during the morning included another large Lioness up a tree. There was a single largish herd of Wildebeest roaming around lost and not in the usual location for the time of year. Close by was a substantial herd of Cape Buffalos allowing close approach and plenty of good photos. Elephants were encountered in small family groups on several occasions, and again came extremely close, crossing the road right by us.

 

A welcome break until 4pm was used for snoozing, swimming in an ice-cold pool and at 3.30pm a quick bit of birding from the viewpoint terrace where I called in Grey-backed Camaroptera by popular request and saw a few other goodies such as Red-fronted Tinkerbird, Rock Martin, Swaheli Sparrow and more. At 4pm we headed out again to a different area (though with the vastness of the savanna here we could have been going round in circles and nobody would have been much the wiser). We went as far as the Maasai Kopjes – an interesting geological feature in themselves – though there was nothing particularly noteworthy seen there, except for our first Speckled Pigeon. A further good array of birds were seen during our hot and quite dusty ambling – a couple of pairs of elegant little Temminck’s Coursers were well-received, and even more “spiffy” was first Grey-crowned Crane of the trip. On our return just as I called a halt for first Black Coucal – a fine looking bird all black and dark tan – Vincent spotted a magnificent Leopard in a close-by tree. It is always good to see Leopards, but finding “our own” is special and to have it all to ourselves was a great treat. This gorgeous beast stayed low in the tree for a while then climbed down and we were able to watch it slowly walking away in the tall grass – sometimes disappearing from view, other times the marvelously spotty back showing with its tail above the grass line. Back by 6.40pm we dashed for showers then back for the bird list in the bar before a buffet supper.

 March 5: To the Eastern Serengeti. We left Seronera all packed up in our safari vehicles at 8.15am, heading off eastwards with the intention of reaching the edge of the National Park at Naabi Gate (c. 35 miles away) by lunchtime. This gave us plenty of time to allow Abdul, Vincent and Martin to conjure up some good side-trips, which they did par excellence. First out we cruised up to a very nonchalant resting Cheetah under a tree by one of the muddy water courses close to the lodge where we’d seen our first Lions yesterday. We continued on, stopping for a congregation of vultures and eagles including a lovely pair of White-headed Vultures. While watching these we realised the large grey lump near to the vultures was a dead Elephant and by it was a fine male Lion guarding it. After relishing this sight we continued on to find a couple of female Lions sat very comfortably up in a broad-limbed tree keeping in the breeze and shade and away from the hordes of flies. This was a fine sight – and apparently tree-climbing Lions are on the increase in the Serengeti. Further along and we reached the pinnacle of the morning’s wildlife viewing – a phenomenal Leopard in a small dead tree complete with freshly killed reedbuck. We watched in awe for a good while as it chewed away at its meal. We left only when the safari vehicles began to accumulate and cause a traffic jam. All the while we were finding interesting birds – the pair of Saddle-billed Storks showed well. A fine, (ethereal according to the field guide) male Pallid Harrier perched in a tree then set off on the wing across the vast grasslands. Various “small fry” kept us busy – cisticolas, larks, weavers, sparrows etc. We did a couple of other short loops off the main track towards Naabi and encountered several magnificent groups of Elephants involved in mud-bathing and dust-bathing. One group in particular was finishing off these activities with a lie-down in the middle of the road. We waited for some time for them to move, but they didn’t. We gingerly went off road in a loop around them, hoping they wouldn’t mind the intrusion – we survived! Closer to Naabi we found great looks at my hoped-for Greater Kestrel and then we were there – the end of the Park and time for our picnic at 1pm.

After a quick lunch we did a short bird-walk to the viewpoint for half an hour, playing the owlet call and attracting in some small birds in response – most notably Beautiful Sunbird and Yellow-bellied Eremomela. With 1-2 folks feeling a lot less than 100% today I thought it best to hit the road and get to the lovely Ndutu Lodge sooner rather than later. We stopped at times for goodies such as Spotted Hyenas and flocks of Black-winged Plovers, but reached the lodge through clouds of dust by 3pm – a great chance to chill-out and relax for the remainder of the afternoon in some lovely quiet surrounds. Once checked in some reconvened for afternoon tea in the lounge area. Rather than do a bird walk, I asked the staff to fill the little bird bath pool and we set up chairs to watch the activity. Within minutes there was a continuous stream of birds coming and going at close range splashing about in the little concrete depression. It was an extremely easy and pleasant way to watch birds without making any effort at all other than raising binoculars. We tallied about 16 or more species in this way, getting lovely comparisons of some of the Streptopelia doves, gray-headed sparrow complex, various weavers and wonderfully bright sunbirds, cordonbleus and lovebirds.

At 7pm we met again for the bird list, sadly still minus Penny and Wannetta who were languishing in their room with the ills. A good supper was enlivened by the expected appearance of the Large-spotted Genets (an adult and young tonight) and rounded off with a shot or two of my own Bruichladdich Single Cask Whiskey.

 March 6: The Ndutu area. We set off for a morning’s safari at 7.45am, though sadly we were 4 people short due to illness. This is potentially the prime area in the Serengeti to witness the massed concentrations of calving Wildebeest and this was one of the goals today. The Wildebeest are at the end of their 500-mile circular migration here, following the rains and the resultant regeneration of green grasses all the way north to the Mara area of Kenya and back again during the ensuing long rains on the short-grass plains of the south-east of Serengeti around Ndutu where they calve and rear their young to a stage when they can again move on north and west by May or June. We didn’t connect with vast numbers, but did have many, many thousands in small groups and lines all around us out on the vast, flat plains. It was pleasant too, to be virtually the only people out in this area, making the experience all the more special. We witnessed many aspects of this dynamic ecosystem – from herds with many young calves, through to bachelor herds, yearlings and the inevitable predation. There were various small gatherings of virtually all the possible vultures at places where kills had been made and where some within the herds that had tried to cross Lake Ndutu had got stuck in the mud and died. There were a couple of sightings of Spotted Hyenas clutching leg bones, but none of the big cats this morning. Bird sightings were quite good, with plenty of perched raptors at the cool start to the morning and more in the air as things heated up later. Big flocks of Wattled Starlings followed the Wildebeest herds and the substantial numbers of Zebra encountered both with and separate to the Wildebeest. There were large numbers of larks out on the dusty plains – mostly Fischer’s Sparrow-larks, but also Rufous-naped and Red-capped. Later on, once we’d stopped and “communed” with the Wildebeest herds, we drove down to the large Swamp area and had a change of scenery, circling the swamp to check out the waterbirds, then along the edge of the lake to admire the large gatherings of mostly Greater Flamingos. We managed to pick out Curlew Sandpiper, Spotted Redshank and pretty little Chestnut-banded Plovers amongst commoner species.

Arriving back at the lodge by 12.35pm, we had a tasty lunch at 1pm after which there was down time coinciding with a classic  storm with black clouds, thunder and heavy rain from about 2.30pm until just before we were due to go out at 3.45pm – very convenient timing! We drove out into a very different situation of running water and mud compared to the morning’s dust. Abdul decided that Lake Masek was the best bet. This smaller soda lake outside the National Park was, like Lake Ndutu, surprisingly full of water. We were hoping for sightings of smaller cats, but had no luck, though we saw a few birds to keep our interest going. A quick play of owl call pulled in a number of Beautiful Sunbirds, Chinspot Batis, both cordonbleus, Purple Grenadiers and Buff-bellied Warblers.  Further along we found a stunning Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl sat fully exposed and preening itself after the rain – a magnificent beast with thick legs and large vicious-looking claws. Along the shore were first Pied Avocets, Kittlitz’s Plovers and more usual shorebirds. A reasonable selection of raptors included Bateleur, Black-breasted Snake Eagle, Gabar Goshawk and many vultures. The lake held a number of very contented Hippos bearing their teeth in enormous open-mouthed toothy grins. It was good to see Penny and Wannetta back with us at supper, though they were both still far from A1. The Genets turned up again tonight for their feed, but there was a family of 4 on the beams overhead instead of 2 last night. As we retired the thunder and lightning stormed away in the background with intermittent showers.

March 7: The Ndutu area. Several people were still not firing on all 4 cylinders this morning, so there were just eight of us on safari this morning. We set out onto the short grass plains behind the lodge but found it tough going in muddy conditions after the rains last night and yesterday afternoon. We only got stuck once – just enough to add a bit of excitement without inconvenience and delay. Birding was a bit slow all morning, though it was lovely and cool with clear skies again – at least for the earlier part of the morning. Coqui Francolin and Pygmy Falcon were pleasant sightings as were single male Montagu’s Harrier. The main interest came from mammals, starting with my sighting of a couple of distant Bat-eared Foxes – I hope we’ll see closer ones! We had to leave the grassy plains after watching the Wildebeest for a while as it was just too slick and muddy to be worth risking. Thus we returned down into the swamp area and the lower salt flats that had much firmer footing for the vehicles. At the edge of the swamp were two magnificent male Lions complete with large, dark manes. These were lazing on the cool muddy shore at first, giving some great photo shots of large, teeth-bearing yawns, then one got up and wandered over to the vehicles checking us out in a very superior, unconcerned and relaxed air. They sat back down in the shadow that the safari vehicles produced, then scent-marked one of the vehicles before wandering off further around the swamp edge. From here we edged further back into the short edge vegetation and found a lone Cheetah resting up and again unperturbed by our presence.  We enjoyed this spectacle for a while and continued on only to find another Cheetah – a female with two delightfully cute, small cubs. There were some fine photos taken of this group as they quietly lay sheltered in the shadows. On our way back to the lodge a final little bit of serendipity was Abdul noticing a good-sized Flap-necked Chameleon crossing the track in front of us. As it did so it made its absurd two steps forward / one back, and rocking back and forth motion – quite bizarre. It was a bright yellow with a few shadowy blotches here in the open, and once it reached the bushes it began to climb up and immediately turned green with dark grey shadowing blotches – how do they do it!? Martin popped out of the vehicle and caught it for us, whereupon it stood quietly gripping his hand with strange oven-mitt type fingers, the body now a pasty grey.

Back at the lodge for a good lunch, we checked on the walking wounded who were all seemingly on the mend. I did a short bit of birding around the lodge grounds from 3.15pm until we set out for the afternoon game drive at just before 4pm. We checked on the weaver nest colonies, which seemed to be all Village and Lesser Masked. We called in Pearl-spotted Owlet and a small array of hangers-on including a fine little migrant Icterine Warbler, a species I don’t often encounter here. The game drive had the same problems as this morning’s – mud and slick tracks. Vincent and Abdul did a grand job getting us out onto the open plains through the open, short acacia woodland. We passed further large concentrations of Zebra with small herds here and there of Wildebeest. There was an extremely close encounter with a benign, lone, bull Elephant that walked up to within a few feet of our vehicles. We had engines turned off and nobody breathed as it quietly passed by! The best find of the afternoon was at the turn-round point out on the grass plains when a herd of Wildebeest spooked an African Wild Cat from cover. It raced across in front of us giving brief, close views for some before it was lost in the foot high scrubby grass tufts. A few interesting birds were encountered such as called in Banded Warbler and a pretty little Pygmy Falcon. We were back early by just after 6pm, with time to clean up before bird list at 7pm and supper thereafter. Most people who have been feeling “less than perfect” seem to be a lot better tonight and I hope that they’ll be fit for the day of travel tomorrow to Ngorongoro.

March 8: To the Ngorongoro Crater via Olduvai. We left Ndutu Lodge at about 8am, with everyone seemingly feeling OK ad looking forward to the day travelling journeying east to arrive at the famous Ngorongoro Crater by early evening. This is a splendid area, firstly of seemingly endless short grass plains, flat as a pancake, but dotted with countless thousands of Zebra, Thompson’s and Grant’s Gazelles. Then comes famous Olduvai followed by the drive up into scrubby acacia of the Ngorongoro highlands complete with Maasai villages. It was more or less a non-stop game-drive and birding all day with so much to see and do on the way. We first drove for tens of miles across the flat plains appreciating the huge scale of this ecosystem that we’ve been travelling through west to east for several days by now — all the more remarkable for being preserved fully intact. We managed “catch-up” on birds such as Fischer’s Sparrow-lark and Red-capped Lark, Capped Wheatear, and seeing Pallid Harriers, Great Spotted Cuckoos, lovely groups of Yellow-throated Sandgrouse and masses of White and Abdim’s Storks dotted across the landscape.

We arrived at Olduvai quite early (about 11.15am) and found the place pleasantly empty of other tourists. We took advantage of this and enjoyed this famous archaeological site with a visit to the small museum for as long as people needed, then a brief orientation talk by one of the young guides as we overlooked the layered rocks of the gorge and pondered the life and times of early hominids dating back 3.5 million years ago. We also did a bird walk here, but it was very windy, hot and dusty and a little disappointing, with nothing too exciting seen. We then had lunch accompanied by attendant weavers and sparrows (including House Sparrows!) before heading out at about 1.30pm.

As nobody wanted to visit a Maasai village en route, we drove fairly directly up to highlands, taking our last look below at the Serengeti plains spreading out as far as the eye can see. En route here we began to note the special higher altitude birds of this quite cool zone – Cape Crow was a welcome catch-up, while Dusky Turtle-doves and Northern Ant-eater Chats were new for us. The arrival at the descent road is quite spectacular with a sudden left turn off the main road and there, suddenly below is the whole of the Crater, vast and bathed in sunshine. We got out while Vincent and Abdul did the paperwork and quickly saw a further good array of classic birds of the Ngorongoro. I called out the Wailing Cisticola at the only place anybody ever seems to see it in the whole of Tanzania, followed by Red-faced Cisticola, Streaky Seedeater, Yellow Bishop and more. We then slowly descended in our vehicles to the Crater floor about 2000′ below. We took another break out of the vehicles at a loo-stop conveniently placed by a small stream and mature Yellowbark Acacias where we scoped for all some fine Holub’s Golden Weavers nest-building.

Once on our way around the Crater floor, we followed tracks on the western side that we’d not do tomorrow and first passed by some marshy, freshwater pools where our first Great White Pelicans and feeding African Spoonbills were noted. The Wildebeest and other game animals are especially confiding here and as so many had young we made a few stops for the keener photographers amongst us. A particularly good and unusual photo opportunity was presented by one of several Spotted Hyenas that was suckling cubs. Roadside Black-bellied Bustards amused us with their odd popping calls, while the bright colours of the quite localised Rosy-throated Longclaw was a great hit. Working our way towards our ascent out of the Crater on the Sopa (northern) end we came across a group of extremely sleepy Lions and a pair or two of Black-backed Jackals. The upward climb was enlivened by sightings of first Hildebrandt’s Francolin. Everybody seems fairly happy with the lodge – good food, large comfortable rooms and a fantastic location – even if it is a large lodge and very full.

March 9: The Ngorongoro Crater. Most of the group was up at dawn (6.30am) on the overview terrace to have a little pre-breakfast birding for an hour or so in the lodge grounds, perched 2000′ above the crater floor and amidst a very distinct moss-draped acacia forest. It was cool and the birds a bit slow to get started, but we managed to find a few of the special species present. White-necked Ravens perched on the lodge roof, White-eyed Slaty Flycatchers, Streaky Seedeaters, Eastern Double-collared Sunbirds and Tropical Boubous were evident in the flower beds and forest edge. We heard first Schalow’s Turacos and gained some distant views, while the cheeky little Hunter’s Cisticolas were a very much easier bird to see as they perched up duetting their trilling songs. Baglafecht Weavers, a couple of Cape Robin-Chats and a few Montane (Broad-ringed) White-eyes showed quite well, but call for some of the more skulking species didn’t produce results.  We finished back at the overview as the sun rose and lit up the huge expanse of the Ngorongoro Crater below us. As the sun warmed up the flowering trees we gained better views of the flamboyant black and gold coloured Golden-winged Sunbirds and a superb Tacazze Sunbird as a bonus. Eventually the wafting smell of bacon lured us in for breakfast by about 7.45am.

We were away to spend the whole day down in the Crater (sometimes called “the eighth wonder of the world”), by 8.30am. We birded the forest from the vehicles as we proceeded down, finding further Golden-winged Sunbirds for all, I called in Brown Warbler (Parisoma) and got everyone great views, but it just didn’t hit the spot after the brightness of the adjacent sunbirds! At the check-in gate we quickly found the expected Red-collared Widowbirds displaying nicely and looking very dapper indeed atop the low scrub. Abdul, with his amazingly sharp eyes found us our first African Green Pigeon of the trip. Thereafter we made a fairly direct descent to the floor where the resident population of Wildebeest, chunky Cape Buffalo, Thomson’s and Grant’s Gazelles and Common Zebras awaited us in their throngs. They all seemed quite relaxed at this time of day, having survived another night avoiding predators. A group of 11 Lions found early on certainly seemed to pose little threat as a pair separated themselves for mating and the remainder including 3 further magnificent heavily-maned males lounged by the track. Two males were putting on a real show as they had loped over to one of the assembled vehicles and used it as shade, leaning against the landcruiser at arm’s length from the bemused/amazed tourists therein!

We followed the usual circuit winding up at the Hippo Pools by mid-morning where, apart from the usual Hippos rolling in the water and mud-bathing, we called in Lesser Swamp Warbler and watched the rather more colourful Fan-tailed Widowbirds over the rush clumps. Many hirundines were present and a perched group on the rush clumps included a single Banded and single Plain Martin, giving much better looks and a chance for size comparison. Waterbirds were not too numerous or varied, though our first Intermediate Egrets were clearly visible. With the edge of the soda lake (Lake Magadi) now off-limits (the authorities became fed-up with having to pull stuck vehicles out all the time!), we could only look from a distance at the masses of flamingos – mostly Lesser out on the shallow saline waters. From here we cruised slowly on towards our picnic spot at the largest freshwater area in the Crater, where all the vehicles gather as the only permitted spot for getting out of vehicles and where there are toilet facilities.  Most people wisely sat inside the vehicles to eat their picnics as the marauding Black Kites patrolled for anyone not grasping their lunch tightly. I employed my patent anti-kite system of sitting outside, but under my tripod – it works every year! A few good birds are always to be found here and sure enough and right on cue, Carol found us one of them – an African Darter sat on the lake edge showing just its skinny, snaky neck and shoulders. This is the only place I ever find it on the tour. Also here were some great looks at male Speke’s Weaver – finally separable from Lesser Masked.

Our main goal of the afternoon was to gain views of some of the 15 to 20 Black Rhinoceros that survive here. Despite being forest browsers, here they conveniently spend a fair bit of time in the open, short-grass areas, so they are usually fairly easy to sight. They were this afternoon, with first a huge lone animal, followed by two together, possibly mother with well-grown calf. They were all quite a long way off into the savannah, standing stock-still, so sadly no close looks or any “action”, but wonderful to see nonetheless, especially in light of the horrific level of poaching that is going on currently across the world. 1,000 were reported slaughtered for their horn last year alone – totally unsustainable and the creature is fast-tracking to extinction.

After the success of finding the Rhinos we opted to start heading towards the exit, seeing what there was to be seen along the way. Birding continued to be fairly rewarding, with further Black-bellied Bustards, on the Crater floor before we began our ascent to the rim. Once out of the Crater we turned left towards the area of montane grassland, heavily populated with Maasai villages to seek out the two last special birds of the day; Jackson’s Widowbird and Moorland (Alpine) Chat. We located the bizarre Jackson’s Widowbird almost immediately with two males in tussocky grassland doing their crazy jumping up and down into the air displays – as if on pieces of elastic. While watching these I was excited to find several fly-bys and eventually 1-2 perched views of African Snipe – a classic resident of these high damp grasslands, but a species I’ve only located once before. The dull little brown Moorland Chat took more searching, with a further drive along the road producing several splendid Yellow-crowned Canaries. We’d just about given up on the chat and had turned back towards the lodge when I got out for a quick wander through suitable habitat right back where we’d started. No sooner was I down from the Landcruiser when I flushed the chat right from under our noses: job done and back to the lodge for 5pm tea and biscuits!

After a freshen-up some of us looked out for birds in the grounds again until dusk. There wasn’t much doing, though a pair of fine Tacazze Sunbirds were seen feeding on the red-hot poker flowers and the morning’s Tree Hyrax was watched again still in the same large fig tree. I played for Montane Nightjar several times and had just given up and gone back to the room when Carol, Penny and others saw the bird fly by the large reception windows – I believe Carol ticked it off from the bar! The lodge was much emptier and quieter tonight and the meal was waiter service – a more pleasant affair than the scramble of last night’s buffet.

 

March 10: Further birding in the Ngorongoro Highlands and on to Gibb’s Farm and Tloma Lodge. Optional early birding from dawn in the Sopa grounds didn’t produce anything particularly new or ground-breaking, though a few additional good catch-up views were had by those in attendance. We departed Sopa at about 8.30am, just popping down to the main Crater Rim road and stopping by my favourite little roadside pool for close to an hour. This spot has produced some excellent birding over the years as birds come in from the depths of the forest to take a bath or to drink. It was a slow start this morning, but after I’d called in a fine little Tambourine Dove it started getting lively and the half hour I’d intended, extended to double that. A backdrop of coming and going doves of various species included Dusky Turtle Doves, while in the trees we picked our way through Montane (Broad-ringed) White-eyes and the inevitable Common Bulbuls to find a number of scarcer species such as Grey Cuckoo-Shrike and Brown-backed Woodpecker (a really great find). We finally continued on around the Crater Rim Road, pausing for our final look down into the Crater before heading the short distance down to the gates and exit of the NCA – and behold – a paved road. From here it was another short run down to Karatu and up the 5km to Gibbs Farm, arriving at about 11.30am.

We had time now for birding at the lovely Gibb’s Farm Lodge with wonderful flower gardens and exotic shrubbery. We quickly connected with Bronze Sunbirds and managed some brief looks at Green-headed Sunbird and White-tailed Blue Flycatcher too, which I’d hoped we might find here – especially as the latter is only ever seen in this location. After one of the best lunches in Tanzania the group split into two groups for the afternoon; some declining the afternoon birding hike into the forests and opting for a restful afternoon at Gibbs for a while then checking in early to our nearby lodge at Tloma. The rest of us set off at about 1.30pm for the afternoon. It was hot, and at times steep up and down, but everybody made it and we saw some good birds with the help of Martin and a keen young local guide to assist us. We were away for about 4 hours covering about 2.5-3 miles on a round trip into the Conservation Area – our last chance to seek out more of the highland forest species. We called in a nice variety of small skulkers such as Brown-headed and Bar-throated Apalises, dapper little Grey-headed Nigrita (formerly Negrofinch, but now politically incorrect to call it such!), dinky little Moustached Green Tinkerbird, African (Dark-capped) Yellow-Warbler and the somewhat enigmatic Sharpe’s Starling. I was delighted to gain brief views of a pair of Ayre’s Hawk-Eagles displaying overhead – a species not too often seen on the tour. We reached the Elephant Caves – an area where elephants and other game dig out and eat mineral-rich soils by a small stream. We took a break here and returned via the waterfall overview and were delighted to see that our drivers had kindly driven up to the little NCA check-in hut to meet us. We transferred the very short distance to Tloma Lodge – another lovely site full of flower gardens for our overnight stay, where we met up with those having taken the afternoon off. After settling in, showering and changing, we met on the deck (with a refreshing G & T for some), before calling in the Montane Nightjar by the pool, the bird landed and gave us quite good views.

March 11: Lake Manyara National Park. Most of the group was assembled with binoculars akimbo ready for pre-breakfast birding at 6.30am today. It was overcast and still barely light – the Montane Nightjar putting in an appearance for the very earliest on parade. We wandered around, mostly down in the extensive vegetable gardens until about 7.30am, with just 1-2 good birds for our efforts. We failed to turn any White-browed Robin-chats into Rueppell’s. There were a few Southern Citrils and in a line of sugar cane amidst the cabbages, bananas, leeks and tree tomatoes was a fine Yellow-crowned Bishop – not a regular bird on the tour by any means.

 

After a good al fresco breakfast we dragged ourselves away, packed into the landcruisers for the very short drive westwards, down the steep escarpment of the great Rift Valley to Lake Manyara National Park where we spent the remainder of the day. Manyara is a small Park (by African standards) centered round a soda lake directly below some impressive Rift Valley cliffs. Once our drivers had checked us in we popped the roofs and set off into the Park. The first section is through a forest of impressively large trees growing at the base of the Rift where freshwater springs produce little streams and plenty of moisture to support them. This cool, shady area always harbours large troops of Olive Baboons and we encountered a big one soon after setting off. We stopped for photos and had several young inquisitive individuals jumping up onto the vehicle – not a good sign, so we started engines and shook them off: baboons done for the day! The next goal in this forested area is always to try for Narina Trogon and Purple-crested Turaco. We tried playback extensively for both and frustratingly had the turaco respond but barely show itself other than as a shadow moving in the canopy.

After this area we were out on the open, dry acacia scrub fringes of the lake. We called various halts for sightings of Silvery-cheeked, Grey, Crowned and Von Der Decken’s Hornbills and a family group of 6 Southern Ground Hornbills. Red-chested Cuckoos were very noisy and responding to playback, dashing back and forth. A little further on and a tiny patch of palms is “the” spot to call for Collared Palm-Thrush – the only spot on the tour for this species. Happily, after the poor luck with the turaco, the Palm-thrush popped up immediately and gave excellent views for all. Then we were down to wetland edge, which, depending on water levels, can be very productive. The Parks Dept. have put up a raised viewing platform of sorts which is a great help in looking out over the fringe of hippo pools, papyrus and open marshy bits, but every year the birdlife seen is different. The area seems still quite dry this year, despite being late towards the start of the rainy season, thus wasn’t as bird-rich as I’d hoped. A lone Long-tailed Cormorant, Sacred Ibis, Black-headed and Grey Herons and better numbers of a few other species were about it for this year, shorebirds and ducks being conspicuous by their absence. There were, however, large flocks of Collared Pratincoles adding a little difference and excitement to the scene. In fact by far the best bird of the session at the Hippo Pools was a gorgeous look at Little Sparrowhawk, seen only on 4 previous occasions on this tour.

 

By now it was midday and time to continue slowly along following the game circuits towards our lunch stop. This is one of the few areas where we are allowed out and, thankfully today, the site was free of marauding baboons.  The only creatures after our picnic were some birds including the brightly coloured Red-and-Yellow Barbet, a Black Bishop, various Superb Starlings and yellow and black Vitelline Masked Weavers. It was a hot, sultry and slightly humid day with little breeze, so there was a distinct air of lethargy in the vehicles during the afternoon as we weaved our way further around the game trails. Main mammal interest were large groups of very close Elephants, otherwise many of the classic big game animals including some large and very dark examples of Giraffes (and of course many Hippos at the pools) were noted. We returned back through the forested areas desperately trying to coax a turaco from cover but there was no joy this year. We caught people up on Mountain Wagtails, saw more huge Silvery-cheeked Hornbills and an array of small species, but nothing too dynamic.. We called it a day close to 4.45pm and drove the short distance back up the Rift Valley road to Lake Manyara Wildlife Lodge, checking into the rooms by a comfortable 5.30pm. Some of us reconvened by 6pm to walk the grounds for some last minute birding and a change of scene with a chance to stretch our legs. This gave us a last little blast of really good species to brighten up a long, hot and hard day. Scarlet-chested and a drab, partially breeding plumaged Amethyst Sunbird were seen. The Little Swifts were screaming over the cliff-tops where the signs warned us to go no further. On this spectacular edge with a view right down to the Lake Manyara National Park a thousand foot or more below, we had a huge Crowned Eagle sail past several times. This is a rare eagle and to see it so close at eye-level was truly remarkable and by far the best view I’ve ever had of the species. At the same time as watching this there was a lovely little Red-fronted Tinkerbird singing away in bare treetops giving great looks too. We also had Holub’s Golden Weaver in the lawns in front of the lodge and finally 1-2 last remaining stalwarts were rewarded with rooftop Mocking Cliffchat. After supper, everyone was away to their beds early as the sultry air gave way to quite spectacular storms of thunder and lightning and heavy rain at times from horizon to horizon – just what we need to reduce temperatures and brighten things up for tomorrow.

March 12: To Tarangire National Park. Intermittent heavy rain overnight left the morning pleasantly damp and cool for a bird walk before leaving at 8.30am. With windows left open in the heat, the Olive Baboons were quick to check out the rooms of some and steal packets of sugar and give folks a nasty surprise wake up call! We managed to rustle up a few good bird sightings, aided considerably by the rains that had caused termites to go on the wing in thousands. This meant that birds were everywhere – from Black Kites down to cisticolas, leaping into the air snapping up this temporary food bonanza. The pair of Mocking Cliff Chats put on a show at various stages of our walk in the extensive and pleasant lodge grounds. We stopped for a long while in open bush country just watching what popped up to chase termites and came away with an impressive list including many Yellow-rumped Seedeaters, a bright Eurasian Golden Oriole, displaying Flappet Lark in its weird wing-clapping aerial flights, Eurasian Hobby taking “termites-to-go” on the wing, several Yellow-throated Longclaws and Brown-crowned Tchagra. We were all breakfasted and packed away in the Landcruisers by 8.30am to head east again along the excellent paved road to Tarangire for our final two-night stay of the tour. Realising that the usual nesting colonies of pelicans and storks was not present on the road by the Park entrance, we paused halfway down the Rift road to scope a more distant colony of Pink-backed Pelicans from the road as these are likely going to be the only ones we see. A bit of good fortune here was finding an adult Palmnut Vulture sitting on one of the pelican colony trees.

 

The roads in this part of Tanzania are now excellent, so no longer do we spend hours on rutted dusty tracks between the National Parks. Thus we were close to Tarangire ahead of schedule and with time to take a short diversion into dry acacia scrub that Abdul and Martin know to be good for birds. We were able to take a reasonable stroll here and find a few good birds. Most noteworthy was hearing a Rosy-patched Bush-shrike – the first recorded on the main tour, but sadly not seen. Other good stuff included African Black-headed Oriole, Foxy (Fawn-coloured) Lark and various dry acacia scrub specialists. We carried on the short distance to the entrance to Tarangire National Park, making a few purchases from the Maasai Women’s Cooperative beforehand. We had time to make the usual little bird walk at the entrance while the drivers did the paperwork. This gained us first views of the endemic Yellow-collared Lovebird and Ashy Starlings amongst other species. It was a short run from here down to the Tarangire Safari Camp for lunch by 1pm. As hoped, one of the staff had an owl staked out and thus we ticked off a cute little African Scops-Owl roosting in the roof of one of the tent shelters before we tucked into a very good lunch. A short walk afterwards didn’t produce any new birds, but gave us lovely (“awesome” according to the info!) views down into the Tarangire river where vultures including a few Rueppell’s Griffons gathered and the first of many African Elephants wandered, drinking from the still flowing water – though everything here is very dry, despite the onset of the rainy season.

On leaving our lunch stop at 2.30pm, we allowed for a couple of hours to drive the short distance to the Sopa Lodge. The habitats here reflect a drier region subject to seasonal rains and drought. Thornbush is studded with giant Baobab trees, which are useful stores of moisture for the large Elephant herds in drier times. The Baobab’s gargantuan trunks are scarred through generations of gouging by Elephant tusks. Running through its center is the Tarangire River with wide grassy palm-dotted flood plains. We wandered through this lovely landscape to Sopa finding plenty of both Red-necked and Yellow-necked Francolins en route and many Elephant encounters including one with an absolutely tiny baby (at least, for an Elephant). By mid-afternoon there were 1-2 heavier rain-showers causing the roof of our landcruisers to go up and down like a yoyo.

 

We reached our accommodation on time; a pleasant Lodge situated in the heart of the National Park, and much refurbished since my last visit two years ago. We took a little down time before a pleasantly cool bird walk in the grounds, followed by a first nightjar session at dusk (7pm), where Slender-tailed Nightjar came out a few times and confirmed its identity with decent views and lots of calling.. The evening meal was very good and well-received, everyone to their beds early for a 6.30am breakfast tomorrow.

 

March 13: Tarangire National Park. A 6.30am breakfast allowed us to be out on the road by about 7am this morning for a visit to the Silale Swamp area. After some rain overnight it was pleasantly cool to start with and we made various brief stops along the way for birds of interest. Various poor looks were had of Northern Pied Babblers, while Coqui Francolins wandered along the road to keep out of the wet grass. A couple of Black-bellied Bustards and roadside Black-faced Sandgrouse were much admired. Once at the swamp and driving up the track along its side, it seemed very quiet and still very dry despite the impending rains. However, we did eventually come across some open water areas after our brief stop at the picnic stop for a leg-stretch and toilets. A particularly pleasant and bright find were many Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters, along with European and Little Bee-eaters in smaller numbers, plus both Go-away-Birds. Other “bright and colourful stuff” included the inevitable Superb Starlings, White-headed Buffalo-Weavers, Yellow-collared Lovebirds and Orange-bellied Parrots. Wahlberg’s Eagles seem to be numerous this tour and we had another 1-2 this morning, perched in the crowns of acacias.  Along the swamp edge were plenty of African Openbills, egrets (mostly Intermediate), African Jacanas and a few other waterbirds such as both Whistling Ducks, a surprising number of White-backed Ducks,  a few Spur-winged Geese, but not “hooching” with birds. Four lovely cisticolas were much in evidence; Croaking, Rattling, Winding and Zitting, while the buzz of Flappet Larks was audible throughout much of the earlier part of our morning’s viewing. A few other raptors of interest were seen. Especially pleasing was a lone African Harrier-hawk, plus a family of African Hawk-Eagles on our fast return. One productive session with owlet playback produced excellent looks at Yellow-bellied Eremomelas and a whole bunch of other small passerines including brief looks at first Red-faced Crombec.  The usual variety of mammals was noted, especially good numbers of Elephants and a pretty group of Bohor Reedbuck (female with two young) on our return.  We also saw our first Leopard Tortoises of the tour this morning – one large, one small and one squashed on the road!

Back by 1pm for a good lunch by the pool, we then took a break until our final game drive at 4pm. This was a fairly gentle, local affair, pottering around the tracks and circuits close to the lodge and around the very dry riverbeds of the Tarangire. Although there had been quite a few Leopard sightings of late, we had no luck with that, but just had a pleasant time ambling along enjoying last long looks at the many Elephants, large herds of Cape Buffaloes, stately Giraffes and an array of birds. We found a couple of Brown Snake-Eagles perched up in acacias, saw a pair of dashing Gabar Goshawks and found a tiny Pearl-spotted Owlet in a tree. We had no less than two pairs of huge Verreaux’s Eagle-Owls at roost, one pair doing their gruff “hoo-hoo-hooting” calls to each other. We could see black clouds building up as the afternoon went on and our excellent drivers managed to get us back to the lodge by 6.30pm just as the weather began to look really threatening, with flashes of lightning and crashes of thunder. It managed to hold off long enough for us to take our G & Ts onto the bar terrace and call in a Freckled Nightjar, which perched up on the roof for all to enjoy. We didn’t have a squeak from this species yesterday, and today despite further playback at the pool, we couldn’t elicit a response from the Slender-tailed Nightjar that had been so obliging last night. As we ate supper the heavens opened and some very heavy, persistent rain ensued.

 

March 14: Return to Arusha and homeward. It had rained heavily overnight, but was dry enough for a little birding in the grounds before we set off towards the exit of Tarangire National Park at 8.15am. Best bird was a called in Brown-crowned Tchagra before it started spotting with rain again.  There is always a last minute chance for that final Leopard or new bird for the list as we drive out of the Park, but the hoped-for final quick drive-by game-drive was thwarted by the weather and the need to keep the roof down. However, the one “bird-request” from Penny and Wannetta (who had missed it yesterday afternoon) was Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl. Abdul’s sharp eyes spotted a pair of these as we drove along, and because of the heavy rains overnight and overcast conditions now, these were unusually perched on the top of an acacia, not beneath the canopy as normal. Thus excellent looks were had by all, then the bird performed even better by flying off to another tree. We did a last little leg-stretch at the Park exit, but didn’t find anything of significance – the bird list ground to a halt as we rejoined the paved road and headed directly back to Arusha. Despite road-works, we arrived by late morning and, because of some of the group’s early flight departure times, had lunch at midday. Thereafter there was time for some shopping, a look in the beautiful new Art Gallery and checking details for our departures at three different times. We met up with Anthony Raphael, the owner of our specialist ground agency, Birding & Beyond, who took group photos for us with our trusty driver/guides and expert bird guide Martin. We said sincere thanks to the team at this point and then a goodbye to Matt & Alastair who were first away, directly to the airport at 2pm. The rest of transferred to Arumeru River Lodge to take some time washing, changing and repacking in dayrooms before we too were transferred to KIA for our homebound overnight flights.

In Conclusion. This was my 23rd tour of the Northern circuit of Tanzania and still I never tire of my visits here. It was of interest for me to reach a new location (Mkomazi National Park), adding a few different species to the experience and especially gaining a single lifer – Tsavo Sunbird. It appears from the accompanying checklist of birds, mammals and other wildlife seen that there was a total of 471 species of birds recorded and 49 mammals. The main tour recorded 421 species, 5 of which were “heard only” – including those 2 frustrating turacos! The average for the past 10 tours is 412, so in terms of numbers this was an above average year, with only two others exceeding this total. There were of course some odd “no-shows” – especially the Martial Eagle that we tried for until the very end. But there were also many species on this year’s list that are only seldom recorded – so it is a classic “win some – lose some” scenario. The pre-tour extension produced an additional 50 species not seen on the main tour and of these I consider about 30 to be scarcer and (for me at least) more exciting species, several of which have never been recorded on the main tour (which now has a cumulative total of 609 species over the 23 years of operation since 1993).

We are indebted to our driver/guides Abdul and Vincent and our local birding guide Martin – I believe they did an excellent job for us – brilliant observers, great drivers, good company and always so attentive – a pleasure for me to work with and for all of us as companions on the tour.

The Checklist: In the checklist of birds and other animals seen, the pre-tour is shaded and any species only seen on the pre-tour are also shaded. An “x” in the column means seen but not counted. A “h” in a column means heard only.

SPECIES SCIENTIFIC NAME 24 25 26 27 28 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
Ostrich Struthionidae
1 Ostrich Struthio camelus 10 5 6 20 6 3 x 30 x x 10
Ducks, Geese & Swans Anatidae
2 Fulvous Whistling-Duck Dendrocygna bicolor x 10 1
3 White-faced Whistling-Duck Dendrocygna viduata x 10 15
4 White-backed Duck Thalassornis leuconotus 15 12
5 Egyptian Goose Alopochen aegyptiaca 2 10 4 x x 80 x 10 x x 2 5 4
6 Spur-winged Goose Plectropterus gambensis 2 3 12 6
7 African Black Duck Anas sparsa 2 2
8 Cape Teal Anas capensis x 20 2 10 6
9 Red-billed Duck Anas erythrorhyncha 6 2 2 2
10 Hottentot Teal Anas hottentota 3 1 3
11 Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata 2
12 Southern Pochard Netta erythrophthalma 25
Guineafowl Numididae
13 Helmeted Guineafowl Numida meleagris 1 10 x 12 x x x x x x x x x x x
Pheasants, Partridges & Allies Phasianidae
14 Coqui Francolin Francolinus coqui 1 1 4 6
15 Crested Francolin Francolinus sephaena 3 5 4
16 Shelley’s Francolin Francolinus shelleyi 1
17 Hildebrandt’s Francolin Francolinus hildebrandti 2 1 6 6 4 1
18 Yellow-necked Francolin (Spurfowl) Francolinus leucoscepus 2 10 x 10 x
19 Gray-breasted Francolin (Spurfowl) Francolinus rufopictus 1 20 x x
20 Red-necked Francolin (Spurfowl) Francolinus afer 15 x x
21 Common Quail Coturnix coturnix 1
22 Harlequin Quail Coturnix delegorguei 1 6
Grebes Podicipedidae
23 Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis 25 6 x 1 4 x
Flamingos Phoenicopteridae
24 Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus 12 x x x x x x
25 Lesser Flamingo Phoenicopterus minor x 10 40 x x x
Storks Ciconidae
26 African Openbill Anastomus lamelligerus x x 60
27 Abdim’s Stork Ciconia abdimii x x x x x 2 x x 1 1
28 Woolly-necked Stork Ciconia episcopus 3
29 White Stork Ciconia ciconia 1 3 x x x 5 x x x x 2 x
30 Saddle-billed Stork Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis 2 3
31 Marabou Stork Leptoptilos crumenifer 1 x x x x x x x 10 x x 5 x
32 Yellow-billed Stork Mycteria ibis 1 2 5 10 5 2 10
SPECIES SCIENTIFIC NAME 24 25 26 27 28 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
Cormorants Phalacrocoracidae
33 Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 1 4 1
34 Long-tailed Cormorant Phalacrocorax africanus x 10 x x 1
Darters & Anhingas Anhingidae
35 African Darter Anhinga rufa 1
Pelicans Pelecanidae
36 Great White Pelican Pelecanus onocrotalus 4 2
37 Pink-backed Pelican Pelecanus rufescens 50
Hamerkop Scopidae
38 Hamerkop Scopus umbretta 2 1 2 5 2 1
Herons, Egrets & Bitterns Ardeidae
39 Gray Heron Ardea cinerea 2 2 1 4 1
40 Black-headed Heron Ardea melanocephala 1 2 x 5 x 4 6 x x x x 5 x 10 5
41 Purple Heron Ardea purpurea 1 1
42 Great Egret Ardea alba 2 1 x x 2
43 Intermediate Egret Mesophoyx intermedia 1 4 10 25
44 Little Egret Egretta garzetta 5 x x 5
45 Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis x x x x x x x x x x x x x x
46 Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides 1 1 1 8
47 Striated Heron Butorides striata 1
48 Black-crowned Night-Heron Nycticorax nycticorax 1
Ibises & Spoonbills Threskiornithidae
49 Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus 25 5 15 4 20 40 20
50 Sacred Ibis Threskiornis aethiopicus 20 x 1 x 20 15 x 5
51 Hadada Ibis Bostrychia hagedash 10 4 4 6 10 5 x
52 African Spoonbill Platalea alba 2 6
Secretary-bird Sagittariidae
53 Secretary-bird Sagittarius serpentarius 1 2 3 4 1
Hawks, Eagles & Kites Accipitridae
54 Black-shouldered Kite Elanus caeruleus 1 1 1 2 4 2 1
55 African Harrier-Hawk Polyboroides typus 1
56 Palm-nut Vulture Gypohierax angolensis 1
57 White-headed Vulture Trigonoceps occipitalis 1 2 1
58 Lappet-faced Vulture Torgos tracheliotus 2 3 12 6 2 2
59 Hooded Vulture Necrosyrtes monachus 2 6
60 White-backed Vulture Gyps africanus 2 2 x x x x x 10 20 x 10 20
61 Rueppell’s Griffon Gyps rueppellii 15 5 5
62 Bateleur Terathopius ecaudatus 2 1 1 2 5 1 3 1 2 4 3 1
63 Black-breasted Snake-Eagle Circaetus pectoralis 1 1 1 2
SPECIES SCIENTIFIC NAME 24 25 26 27 28 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
64 Brown Snake-Eagle Circaetus cinereus 1 2
65 Crowned Hawk-Eagle Stephanoaetus coronatus 1 1
66 Long-crested Eagle Lophaetus occipitalis 1 1 1 2
67 Wahlberg’s Eagle Hieraaetus wahlbergi 1 1 1 1 1
68 Ayres’s Hawk-Eagle Hieraaetus ayresii 2
69 Tawny Eagle Aquila rapax 2 2 2 4 5 x 10 4 1 2 2 2
70 Steppe Eagle Aquila nipalensis 1
71 African Hawk-Eagle Aquila spilogaster 1 1 3
72 Lizard Buzzard Kaupifalco monogrammicus 1
73 Dark Chanting-Goshawk Melierax metabates 2 1
74 Eastern Chanting-Goshawk Melierax poliopterus 4 3 1
75 Gabar Goshawk Micronisus gabar 1 1 1 2 2
76 Eurasian Marsh-Harrier Circus aeruginosus 2 1 1 2 2 2 1 1 1 4 3
77 African Marsh-Harrier Circus ranivorus 1 1 1
78 Pallid Harrier Circus macrourus 2 1 3
79 Montagu’s Harrier Circus pygargus 5 1 1
80 Little Sparrowhawk Accipiter minullus 1
81 Black Kite Milvus migrans x 1 x x 1 x 10 x
82 African Fish-Eagle Haliaeetus vocifer 1 4 2 2 1 1
83 Common (Steppe) Buzzard Buteo buteo 1 2 1
84 Mountain Buzzard Buteo oreophilus 2 2
85 Augur Buzzard Buteo augur 1 3 2 2 3 3 5 4 4 2
Bustards Otididae
86 Kori Bustard Ardeotis kori 1 2 6 2 x 5 6 15 6
87 White-bellied Bustard Eupodotis senegalensis 1 1 2
88 Black-bellied Bustard Lissotis melanogaster 2 4 1 5 2 2
Rails, Gallinules & Coots Rallidae
89 Corncrake Crex crex 1
90 Black Crake Amaurornis flavirostra 5 4 10 5
91 Eurasian Moorhen Gallinula chloropus 3 5 1
Cranes Gruidae
92 Gray Crowned-Crane Balearica regulorum 4 1 3 2 2 40 2 6
Thick-knees Burhinidae
93 Water Thick-knee Burhinus vermiculatus 5 3 2 2 2
94 Spotted Thick-knee Burhinus capensis 2 2 4 1 6
Plovers & Lapwings Charadriidae
95 Long-toed Lapwing (Plover) Vanellus crassirostris 8 50
96 Blacksmith Plover Vanellus armatus 4 x x x x x x x x x x x x x 10
97 Spur-winged Plover Vanellus spinosus x 10 2
SPECIES SCIENTIFIC NAME 24 25 26 27 28 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
98 Black-winged Lapwing (Plover) Vanellus melanopterus 80
99 Crowned Lapwing (Plover) Vanellus coronatus x x 6 10 15 x x 10 6 10 4
100 Common Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula 4 10 2 6
101 Kittlitz’s Plover Charadrius pecuarius 4 4
102 Three-banded Plover Charadrius tricollaris 2 1 6 5
103 Chestnut-banded Plover Charadrius pallidus 2
Stilts & Avocets Recurvirostridae
104 Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus 3 x 1 x x 10 10
105 Pied Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta 4
Jacanas Jacanidae
106 African Jacana Actophilornis africanus 3 10 10 x
107 Lesser Jacana Micropara capensis 1
Sandpipers & Allies Scolopacidae
108 Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos 2 2 3 2 4 2 1
109 Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus 2 1 1 2
110 Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus 2
111 Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia 2 1 1 3 1 1
112 Marsh Sandpiper Tringa stagnatilis 1 1 6 3 1 1
113 Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola 4 1 2 20 10 8 4 1 5
114 Little Stint Calidris minuta 25 5 5 x x x x 2
115 Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea 1
116 Ruff Calidris pugnax 30 2 10 x x 4 10 10
117 African Snipe Gallinago nigripennis 3
118 Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago 1 2
Buttonquails Turnicidae
119 Small Buttonquail Turnix sylvaticus 1
Coursers & Pratincoles Glareolidae
120 Temminck’s Courser Cursorius temminckii 4
121 Double-banded Courser Smutsornis africanus 2 6 4 1 1
122 Three-banded (Heuglin’s) Courser Rhinoptilus cinctus 2 2 2
123 Collared Pratincole Glareola pratincola 2 75 5
Gulls, Terns & Skimmers Laridae
124 Gray-headed Gull Chroicephalus cirrocephalus x
125 Gull-billed Tern Gelochelidon nilotica x 5 5 x 5 10 25
126 Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybrida x x 10 20 10
127 African Skimmer Rhynchops flavirostris 150
Sandgrouse Pteroclidae
128 Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse Pterocles exustus 20
129 Yellow-throated Sandgrouse Pterocles gutturalis 12 25
SPECIES SCIENTIFIC NAME 24 25 26 27 28 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
130 Black-faced Sandgrouse Pterocles decoratus 2 4 6
Pigeons & Doves Columbidae
131 Rock Pigeon ( I ) Columba livia x x x x x x
132 Speckled Pigeon Columba guinea 1 2 10 x x 2 1
133 Rameron (Olive) Pigeon Columba arquatrix 5 10
134 Dusky Turtle-Dove Streptopelia lugens 40 2 5
135 Mourning Collared Dove Streptopelia decipiens x x x x x x x x x x x x x x
(African Mourning Dove)
136 Red-eyed Dove Streptopelia semitorquata x x x x x x x x x x x x
137 Ring-necked Dove Streptopelia capicola x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x
138 Laughing Dove Streptopelia senegalensis 3 x x x x x x
139 Emerald-spotted Wood-Dove Turtur chalcospilos 4 h 1 1 h h 1 3
140 Tambourine Dove Turtur tympanistria 1 5 2
141 Namaqua Dove Oena capensis x 5 2 6 2 4
142 African Green-Pigeon Treron calvus 1 1
Turacos Musophagidae
143 Schalow’s Turaco Tauraco schalowi 4 4
144 Hartlaub’s Turaco Tauraco hartlaubi h
145 Purple-crested Turaco Tauraco porphyreolophus h
146 Bare-faced Go-away-bird Corythaixoides personatus 5 2 6 x
147 White-bellied Go-away-bird Corythaixoides leucogaster 2 2 10 x
148 Eastern Plantain-eater Crinifer zonurus 3
Cuckoos Cuculidae
149 Pied (Jacobin) Cuckoo Clamator jacobinus 2 1
150 Levaillant’s Cuckoo Clamator levaillantii 2
151 Great Spotted Cuckoo Clamator glandarius 1 2
152 Red-chested Cuckoo Cuculus solitarius h 1 h h h 4 h h
153 Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus 1
154 African Cuckoo Cuculus gularis 1 1 2 2
155 Klaas’s Cuckoo Chrysococcyx klaas h h h 1 2 h h h
156 African Emerald Cuckoo Chrysococcyx cupreus h h h h
157 Dideric Cuckoo Chrysococcyx caprius 1 h h 2 1 h h 2 h 1
158 Black Coucal Centropus grillii 2
159 Blue-headed Coucal Centropus monachus 1
160 White-browed Coucal Centropus superciliosus 2 2 2 6 4 1 1 3 2 4 1
Owls Strigidae
161 African Scops-Owl Otus senegalensis 1
162 Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl Bubo lacteus 1 h 4 2
163 Pearl-spotted Owlet Glaucidium perlatum 1 1 2 1 1 h
SPECIES SCIENTIFIC NAME 24 25 26 27 28 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
164 African Wood-Owl Strix woodfordii 1 2 h
Nightjars & Allies Caprimulgidae
165 Eurasian Nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus 3
166 Abyssinian (Montane) Nightjar Caprimulgus poliocephalus 1 1 1
167 Freckled Nightjar Caprimulgus tristigma 1
168 Slender-tailed Nightjar Caprimulgus clarus 1
169 Square-tailed (Gabon) Nightjar Caprimulgus fossii 1
Swifts Apodidae
170 Common Swift Apus apus x x x
171 Little Swift Apus affinis x x x x x x x x x x x x x
172 Horus Swift Apus horus 10 5
173 White-rumped Swift Apus caffer 2 x 5
174 Alpine Swift Apus melba 1 1
175 African Palm-Swift Cypsiurus parvus x x x 1 x x x x
Mousebirds Colidae
176 Speckled Mousebird Colius striatus x x 10 10 x 1 3 1 10 x x x x x x
177 White-headed Mousebird Colius leucocephalus 3
178 Blue-naped Mousebird Urocolius macrourus 2 3 4 2 2 6 3 3
Trogons Trogonidae
179 Bar-tailed Trogon Apaloderma vittatum 1
Kingfishers Alcedinidae
180 Malachite Kingfisher Corythornis cristata 3 1 1
181 African Pygmy-Kingfisher Ispidina picta 1 1
182 Gray-headed Kingfisher Halcyon leucocephala 6 1 4 6 1 1 1 2
183 Woodland Kingfisher Halcyon senegalensis 2 4 1 1 4 1
184 Brown-hooded Kingfisher Halcyon albiventris 1
185 Striped Kingfisher Halcyon chelicuti 5
186 Giant Kingfisher Megaceryle maximus 1 2
187 Pied Kingfisher Ceryle rudis 1 x x
Bee-eaters Meropidae
188 White-fronted Bee-eater Merops bullockoides 6
189 Little Bee-eater Merops pusillus 4 2 2 10 6 5 2 6 5 5 20 2
190 Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater Merops oreobates 2 1 2 x
191 Blue-cheeked Bee-eater Merops persicus 20 30
192 Madagascar Bee-eater Merops superciliaris 1
193 European Bee-eater Merops apiaster h 10 5 10
194 Northern Carmine Bee-eater Merops nubicus 12
Rollers Coraciidae
195 European Roller Coracias garrulus 10 x 1 4 x x 6 2 10 x 2
SPECIES SCIENTIFIC NAME 24 25 26 27 28 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
196 Lilac-breasted Roller Coracias caudatus 1 5 5 x 10 x x x x 6
197 Rufous-crowned Roller Coracias naevius 1
198 Broad-billed Roller Eurystomus glaucurus 1
Hoopoes Upupidae
199 Eurasian Hoopoe Upupa epops 1 1 2 1 2 1 1
Woodhoopoes & Allies Phoeniculidae
200 Green Woodhoopoe Phoeniculus purpureus h 1 1
201 Abyssinian Scimitar-bill Rhinopomastus minor 4 1
Hornbills Bucerotidae
202 Northern Red-billed Hornbill Tockus erythrorhynchus x 2 5 2
203 Von der Decken’s Hornbill Tockus deckeni 6 2 2 2 2 2 2 8 10 2
204 Crowned Hornbill Tockus alboterminatus 1 4
205 African Gray Hornbill Tockus nasutus 2 6 2 2 6 1 6
206 Trumpeter Hornbill Ceratogymna buccinator 3 2
207 Silvery-cheeked Hornbill Ceratogymna brevis 2 3 6 6 6 4
Ground-Hornbills Bucorvidae
208 Southern Ground-Hornbill Bucorvus leadbeateri 6 5 8 12 12
African Barbets Lybiidae
209 Red-and-yellow Barbet Trachyphonus erythrocephalus 1 5 2 2
210 D’Arnaud’s Barbet Trachyphonus darnaudii 1 15 4 5 x 5 x 10 2
211 White-eared Barbet Stactolaema leucotis 6 2 3
212 Moustached Tinkerbird Pogoniulus leucomystax 2
213 Red-fronted Tinkerbird Pogoniulus pusillus 1 5 1 1
214 Red-fronted Barbet Tricholaema diademata 3 3 1 1
215 Spot-flanked Barbet Tricholaema lachrymosa 2 1 1
216 Black-throated Barbeet Tricholaema melanocephala 1 1 1
217 White-headed Barbet Lybius leucocephalus 2
218 Brown-breasted Barbet Lybius melanopterus 2 5 1
Honeyguides Indicatoridae
219 Greater Honeyguide Indicator indicator 1 h
220 Lesser Honeyguide Indicator minor 1 1 1
Woodpeckers & Allies Picidae
221 Nubian Woodpecker Campethera nubica 1 1 1 1
222 Golden-tailed Woodpecker Campethera abingoni 1
223 Cardinal Woodpecker Dendropicos fuscescens 1 2 1 1 2 1
224 Bearded Woodpecker Dendropicos namaquus 1 4 2
225 Gray-headed (Gray) Woodpecker Dendropicos spodocephalus 1 1 1 1
226 Brown-backed Woodpecker Dendropicos obsoletus 1
SPECIES SCIENTIFIC NAME 24 25 26 27 28 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
Falcons & Caracaras Falconidae
227 Pygmy Falcon Polihierax semitorquatus 1 2 2 2 5 1
228 Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni  x 1 1 10 x 1
229 Eurasian Kestrel Falco tinnunculus 1 1
230 Greater Kestrel Falco rupicoloides 5 1
231 Gray Kestrel Falco ardosiaceus 1 1
232 Eurasian Hobby Falco subbuteo 2 1
233 Lanner Falcon Falco biarmicus 1 1
Macaws, Parrots & Allies Psittacidae
234 Fischer’s Lovebird Agapornis fischeri 10 2 x x x x x
235 Yellow-collared Lovebird Agapornis personatus x x x
236 Meyer’s Parrot Poicephalus meyeri 1 2 10
237 Red (Orange)-bellied Parrot Poicephalus rufiventris 2 5 10 20 6
Wattle-eyes Platysteiridae
238 Pygmy Batis Batis perkeo 3
239 Chinspot Batis Batis molitor 2 1 1 1 1
Vangas, Helmetshrikes & Allies Vangidae
240 White (White-crested)  Helmetshrike Prionops plumatus 6
Bushshrikes & Allies Malaconotidae
241 Brubru Nilaus afer 3 2 2 1 1 1 1 2 h
242 Black-backed Puffback Dryoscopus cubla 1 1 2 1
243 Pringle’s Puffback Dryoscopus pringlii h 5
244 Black-crowned Tchagra Tchagra senegalus 1
245 Brown-crowned Tchagra Tchagra australis h h 1 h 1 1 h h 1
246 Tropical Boubou Laniarius aethiopicus 2 h h 6 15 x 4
247 Black-headed Gonolek Laniarius erythrogaster 5
248 Slate-colored Boubou Laniarius funebris 6 3 x x 2 2 4 2 1 4 6 5 2
249 Rosy-patched Bushshrike Rhodophoneus cruentus 1 1 1 h
250 Sulphur-breasted Bushshrike Telophorus sulfureopectus 1 1
251 Black-fronted Bushshrike Telophorus nigrifrons h
252 Gray-headed Bushshrike Malaconotus blanchoti h
Cuckooshrikes Campephagidae
253 Gray Cuckoo-shrike Coracina caesia 3
254 Black Cuckoo-shrike Campephaga flava 1 1
255 Purple-throated Cuckoo-shrike Campephaga quiscalina 1
Shrikes Laniidae
256 Red-backed Shrike Lanius collurio 1
257 Rufous-tailed (Isabelline) Shrike Lanius isabellinus 1 12 5 1 1 2
258 Gray-backed Fiscal Lanius excubitorius 2 4 6 5 6 x
SPECIES SCIENTIFIC NAME 24 25 26 27 28 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
259 Long-tailed Fiscal Lanius cabanisi 2 x 1 2 6
260 Taita Fiscal Lanius dorsalis 3 6
261 Northern Fiscal Lanius humeralis 2 x 5 x 5 4
262 Magpie Shrike Corvinella melanoleuca 12 10 15 x x
263 White-rumped (Wh.-crowned)  Shrike Eurocephalus rueppelli 4 5 x x x x x x 5 x x x
Old World Orioles Oriolidae
264 African Black-headed Oriole Oriolus larvatus 1
265 Eurasian Golden Oriole Oriolus oriolus 1 1
Drongos Dicruridae
266 Fork-tailed Drongo Dicrurus adsimilis 4 x x x 2 4 2 10 4 x 6 x 5
Monarch Flycatchers Monarchidae
267 African Paradise-Flycatcher Terpsiphone viridis h 1 1 2 2 5 5 1
Crows, Jays & Magpies Corvidae
268 Cape Crow (Cape Rook) Corvus capensis 3 3
269 Pied Crow Corvus albus x x x x x x 10 x x x
270 White-necked Raven Corvus albicollis 2 4 2
Larks Alaudidae
271 Rufous-naped Lark Mirafra africana 3 10 x x x x x x x h
272 Flappet Lark Mirafra rufocinnamomea 1 2
273 Foxy Lark Calendulauda alopex 25 2 1
(Fawn-colored Lark) Calend. (Mirafra) africanoides
274 Pink-breasted Lark Calendulauda poecilosterna 10
275 Beesley’s Lark Chersomanes beesleyi 6
276 Fischer’s Sparrow-Lark Eremopterix leucopareia x 10 20 10 x x x x x
277 Red-capped Lark Calandrella cinerea x 2 5 x
278 Short-tailed Lark Pseudalaemon fremantlii 6
Swallows Hirundinidae
279 Plain Martin Riparia paludicola 1 1 20
280 Banded Martin Riparia cincta 1 1 1
281 Bank Swallow Riparia riparia 20
282 Rock Martin Ptyonoprogne fuligula 10 x x x x x x 5 x x 10
283 Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x
284 Angola Swallow Hirundo angolensis x x
285 Wire-tailed Swallow Hirundo smithii 5 1 5 2
286 Black Sawwing Psalidoprocne pristoptera 2 15 15 2 10 6
287 White-headed Sawwing Psalidoprocne albiceps 1
288 Lesser Striped-Swallow Cecropis abyssinica 2 1 6 2 5 2
289 Mosque Swallow Cecropis senegalensis 1 1
290 Red-rumped Swallow Cecropis daurica 2 5 6 6 x x x
SPECIES SCIENTIFIC NAME 24 25 26 27 28 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
291 Common House Martin Delichon urbicum 20 10 x 5 1
292 Gray-rumped Swallow Pseudhirundo griseopyga 1
Fairy Flycatchers Stenostiridae
293 White-tailed Blue-Flycatcher Elminia albicauda 5
Chickadees & Tits Paridae
294 Red-throated Tit Melaniparus fringillinus 4 2 1 2
Bulbuls Pycnonotidae
295 Sombre Greenbul Andropadus importunus 5 5
296 Eastern Mountain-Greenbul Arizelocichla (Andr.) nigriceps 10 h h
297 Stripe-cheeked Bulbul Arizelocichla (Andr.) milanjensis 1
298 Northern Brownbul Phyllastrephus strepitans 1
299 Common Bulbul Pycnonotus barbatus x x x x x x x x x x x x x 2
African Warblers Macrosphenidae
300 Red-faced Crombec Sylvietta whytii 1 1 1
301 Moustached Grass-Warbler Melocichla mentalis 1
Leaf Warblers Phylloscopidae
302 Brown Woodland Warbler Phylloscopus umbrovirens 3
303 Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus 2 2 1 20 4 1
Reed-Warblers & Allies Acrocephalidae
304 Eastern Olivaceous Warbler Iduna pallida h 5 10 1 2 4 6
305 African Yellow-Warbler Iduna natalensis 1
306 Mountain Yellow-Warbler Iduna similis 3
307 Icterine Warbler Hippolais icterina 1
308 Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus h 2
309 Eurasian Reed-Warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus 1
310 Great Reed-Warbler Acrocephalus arundinaceus 1
311 Lesser Swamp-Warbler Acrocephalus gracilirostris 2
Cisticolas & Allies Cisticolidae
312 Bar-throated Apalis Apalis thoracica 3
313 Yellow-breasted Apalis Apalis flavida 1 1 1 1 1
314 Brown-headed Apalis Apalis alticola 2
315 Karamoja Apalis Apalis karamojae 2
316 Green (Gray) – backed Camaroptera Camaroptera brachyura 3 3 2 2 1 2 4 4 5 4 2 2
317 Red-fronted Warbler Urorhipis (Spiloptila) rufifrons 2 4
318 Gray Wren-Warbler Calamonastes simplex 2 1 2 6
319 Red-faced Cisticola Cisticola erythrops 2 1 4
320 Singing Cisticola Cisticola cantans 3 3
321 Trilling Cisticola Cisticola woosnami 4
322 Hunter’s Cisticola Cisticola hunteri h x x x x h
SPECIES SCIENTIFIC NAME 24 25 26 27 28 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
323 Rattling Cisticola Cisticola chiniana h x x x 2 h x x x x x h x x
324 Ashy Cisticola Cisticola cinereolus 2
325 Wailing Cisticola Cisticola lais 2
326 Winding Cisticola Cisticola galactotes h h h 4 4 4 2 4 x h
327 Croaking Cisticola Cisticola natalensis 5 2 2
328 Zitting Cisticola Cisticola juncidis 2 x x 2 5 5 h
329 Desert Cisticola Cisticola aridulus 2
330 Pectoral-patch Cisticola Cisticola brunnescens h h 4 x
331 Gray-capped Warbler Eminia lepida 3 1
332 Buff-bellied Warbler Phyllolais pulchella 2 2 2 4 6 2 h
333 Tawny-flanked Prinia Prinia subflava 2 1 h 5 1 1 h
334 Yellow-bellied Eremomela Eremomela icteropygialis 1 6
Sylvids Sylviidae
335 African Hill Babbler Sylvia abyssinica 1
336 Brown Warbler (Parisoma) Sylvia (Parisoma) lugens 1
337 Banded Warbler (Parisoma) Sylvia (Parisoma) boehmi 5 h 1 h h 2
Yuhinas, White-eyes & Allies Zosteropidae
338 Broad-ringed (Montane) White-eye Zosterops poliogaster x 4 x
339 White-breasted (Abyss.) White-eye Zosterops abyssinicus 1 2
Laughingthrushes Leiothrichidae
340 Black-lored Babbler Turdoides sharpei 5 10 2
341 Northern Pied-Babbler Turdoides hypoleuca 10
342 Arrow-marked Babbler Turdoides jardineii 10 6 2
Old World Flycatchers Muscicapidae
342 Silverbird Empidornis semipartitus 1 x 10 5 10 x 5
344 Pale Flycatcher Bradornis pallidus 1 1 1
345 Grayish (Afr. Gray) Flycatcher Bradornis microrhynchus 6 3 2 4 5 4 5 x 5
346 White-eyed Slaty-Flycatcher Melaenornis fischeri 15 x
347 Southern Black-Flycatcher Melaenornis pammelaina 1
348 Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata 2 6 x 5 2 1 2 2 5 2
349 Swamp Flycatcher Muscicapa aquatica x x
350 Dusky-brown (Afr. Dusky) Flycatcher Muscicapa adusta 4 5
351 Red-backed (White-brow.) Scrub-Robin Cercotrichas leucophrys 1 3 4 2 2
352 Cape Robin-Chat Cossypha caffra 4 6
353 White-browed Robin-Chat Cossypha heuglini 4 1 1 10
354 Collared Palm-Thrush Cichladusa arquata 1
355 Spotted Morning-Thrush Cichladusa guttata 3 1 5 6 6 2 5 1
356 White-starred Robin Pogonocichla stellata 3
357 White-throated Robin Irania gutturalis 1
SPECIES SCIENTIFIC NAME 24 25 26 27 28 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
358 Common Nightingale Luscinia megarhynchos 1 h h
359 Rufous-tailed Rock-Thrush Monticola saxatilis 1 1 1
360 Whinchat Saxicola rubetra 1
361 African Stonechat Saxicola torquatus 4 12 6
362 Northern Anteater-Chat Myrmecocichla aethiops 15 5
363 Mocking Cliff-Chat Thamnolaea cinnamomeiventris 1 2
364 Moorland Chat Cercomela sordida 2
365 Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe 1 2 2 2 2
366 Mourning (Schalow’s) Wheatear Oenanthe lugens 12
367 Pied Wheatear Oenanthe pleschanka 1
368 Capped Wheatear Oenanthe pileata x 1 2 10 2
369 Isabelline Wheatear Oenanthe isabellina 10 1 1 2
Thrushes & Allies Turdidae
370 Abyssinian (Olive) Thrush Turdus (olivaceus) abyssinicus 1 2 3
Starlings Sturnidae
371 Wattled Starling Creatophora cinerea 6 10 x x x x x 15
372 Rueppell’s (Long-tailed) Glossy-Starling Lamprotornis purpuropterus x x x
373 Superb Starling Lamprotornis superbus 5 x x x x x x x x x x 15 x x x x
374 Hildebrandt’s Starling Lamprotornis hildebrandti 10 10 x x x x x x 1
375 Violet-backed Starling Cinnyricinclus leucogaster 4 2
376 Ashy Starling Spreo unicolor x x x
377 Red-winged Starling Onychognathus morio 4 6 2 6 6 4 10 10
378 Kenrick’s Starling Poeoptera kenricki 1 2 4
379 Sharpe’s Starling Pholia sharpii 1
Oxpeckers Buphagidae
380 Red-billed Oxpecker Buphagus erythrorhynchus 2 2 x x x x x x x
381 Yellow-billed Oxpecker Buphagus africanus x x x x x
Sunbirds Nectarinidae
382 Kenya (East.) Violet-backed Sunbird Anthreptes orientalis 2 3
383 Collared Sunbird Hedydipna collaris 2 2 1 2
384 Green-headed Sunbird Cyanomitra verticalis 1
385 Eastern Olive Sunbird Cyanomitra olivacea 2 1
386 Amethyst Sunbird Chalcomitra amethystina 1 1 1
387 Scarlet-chested Sunbird Chalcomitra senegalensis 1 1 1 1 3
388 Tacazze Sunbird Nectarinia tacazze 4 2
389 Bronze Sunbird Nectarinia kilimensis 2 6 2
390 Golden-winged Sunbird Drepanorhynchus reichenowi 8 2
391 Eastern Double-collared Sunbird Cinnyris mediocris 10 10
392 Beautiful Sunbird Cinnyris pulchellus 1 3 10 10 4 1 1
SPECIES SCIENTIFIC NAME 24 25 26 27 28 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
393 Tsavo Sunbird Cinnyris tsavoensis 1
394 Black-bellied Sunbird Cinnyris nectariniodes 1
395 Red-chested Sunbird Cinnyris erythrocercus 6 x
396 Variable Sunbird Cinnyris venustus x 1 2 1 1 4 6 5 4
Wagtails & Pipits Motacillidae
397 African Pied Wagtail Motacilla aguimp 1 4 2 5 x 2 4 2 2
398 Western Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava 6 2 10 15 10 6 10
399 Gray Wagtail Motacilla cinerea 2
400 Mountain Wagtail Motacilla clara 2 3 2
401 Plain-backed Pipit Anthus leucophrys 1 1 2
402 African (Grassland) Pipit Anthus cinnamomeus 10 2 6 4 10
403 Long-billed Pipit Anthus similis 2
404 Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis 1 2 1 2 2
405 Yellow-throated Longclaw Macronyx croceus 1 2 1 3
406 Rosy-throated Longclaw Macronyx ameliae 4
Buntings & New World Sparrows Emberizidae
407 Cinnamon-breasted Bunting Emberiza tahapisi 1 1
408 Somali Bunting Emberiza poliopleura 2
Siskins, Crossbills & Allies Fringillidae
409 Yellow-crowned (Cape) Canary Serinus (cani.) flavivertex 10 2
410 Southern Citril Serinus hypostictus 2 1 10 10 2
411 Reichenow’s (Yell.-rump.) Seedeater Serinus (atrogularis) reichenowi 10
412 Yellow-fronted Canary Serinus mozambicus 10 2
413 Southern Grosbeak-Canary Serinus buchanani 3 10 1
414 White-bellied Canary Serinus dorsostriatus 6 10 x x x x x
415 Brimstone Canary Serinus sulphuratus 4
416 Streaky Seedeater Serinus striolatus 4 x x 5
417 Thick-billed Seedeater Serinus burtoni 2 10
Old World Sparrows Passeridae
418 House Sparrow ( I ) Passer domesticus x 1 5 6 2 x 5
419 Kenya Rufous Sparrow Passer rufocinctus 10 1 10 2
420 Northern Gray-headed Sparrow Passer griseus x x x x 5 x x x
421 Parrot-billed Sparrow Passer gongonensis 2
422 Swaheli Sparrow Passer suahelicus x x x x 5 x x
423 Chestnut Sparrow Passer eminibey x x x 25 x 1 x
434 Yellow-spotted Petronia Petronia pyrgita 10 1 1
Weavers & Allies Ploceidae
425 Red-billed Buffalo-Weaver Bubalornis niger 6 x x 5 x x 1 10 x
426 White-headed Buffalo-Weaver Dinemellia dinemelli 1 3 5 x 5 x x
SPECIES SCIENTIFIC NAME 24 25 26 27 28 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
427 Speckle-fronted Weaver Sporopipes frontalis x x x x x 3 2
428 Rufous-tailed Weaver Histurgops ruficauda x x x x x x x 10 5
429 Gray-headed Social-Weaver Pseudonigrita arnaudi 1 x 5 10 10
430 Red-headed Weaver Anaplectes rubriceps 2 2
431 Baglafecht Weaver Ploceus baglafecht 2 2 4 20 15 15
432 Slender-billed Weaver Ploceus pelzelni x x
433 Lesser Masked-Weaver Ploceus intermedius 2 6 x 5 10 6
434 Spectacled Weaver Ploceus ocularis 2
435 Black-necked Weaver Ploceus nigricollis 1 2 6 5 1
436 Holub’s Golden-Weaver Ploceus xanthops x x 2 2
437 Taveta Golden-Weaver Ploceus castaneiceps 15 x
438 Northern Brown-throated Weaver Ploceus castanops 20 x
439 African (Vitelline) Masked-Weaver Ploceus (velatus) vitellinus 3 1 2 5 x 2 x x
440 Village Weaver Ploceus cucullatus 5 10 5 x
441 Speke’s Weaver Ploceus spekei 1
442 Black-headed (Yellow-backed) Weaver Ploceus melanocephalus 5
443 (Jackson’s) Golden-backed Weaver Ploceus jacksoni 10 25 1
444 Chestnut Weaver Ploceus rubiginosus 30 10
445 Red-billed Quelea Quelea quelea x x x x 25 x
446 Yellow-crowned Bishop Euplectes afer 1
447 Black Bishop Euplectes gierowii 1 1
448 (Southern) Red Bishop Euplectes orix 2 1 1 1
449 Zanzibar (Red) Bishop Euplectes nigroventris 2
450 Yellow Bishop Euplectes capensis 2 10 10
451 Fan-tailed Widowbird Euplectes axillaris x 20 6 15
452 White-winged Widowbird Euplectes albonotatus x 2
453 Red-collared Widowbird Euplectes ardens 4
454 Jackson’s Widowbird Euplectes jacksoni 2
455 Grosbeak Weaver Amblyospiza albifrons 12 x 10 15
Waxbills & Allies Estrildidae
456 Gray-headed Nigrita Nigrita canicapilla 2
457 Crimson-rumped Waxbill Estrilda rhodopyga 8 4
458 Red-cheeked Cordonbleu Uraeginthus bengalus 10 5 10 x
459 Blue-capped Cordonbleu Uraeginthus cyanocephalus x x x x 5
460 Purple Grenadier Granatina  ianthinogaster 3 4 5 6 6 4
461 Peter’s Twinspot Hypargos niveoguttatus 1
462 Green-winged Pytilia Pytilia melba 2 1 1 1 2 1 5
463 Red-billed Firefinch Lagonosticta senegala 2 1 2 2 6
464 African Firefinch Lagonosticta rubricata 1
SPECIES SCIENTIFIC NAME 24 25 26 27 28 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
465 Cut-throat Amadina fasciata 2 2 4
466 Bronze Mannikin Spermestes (Lonch.) cucullata x x 10 5
Indigobirds Viduidae
467 Village Indigobird Vidua chalybeata 1
468 Steel-blue Whydah Vidua hypocherina 2
469 Straw-tailed Whydah Vidua fischeri 1 1
470 Pin-tailed Whydah Vidua macroura 2 2 3 2 1 1
471 Eastern Paradise-Whydah Vidua paradisaea 4

 

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