Birds of Kenya (Maasai Mara stories – 6)

Am on to the 6th story of this! I guess patience would be wearing thin already. Well, this is going to be the last of the series. Normal programming will soon resume. Which is, hopefully, normal posts from me. I haven’t been doing too much of those, and I am using these stories to buff up some post numbers. Kind of obvious, isn’t it? Anyway here goes.

Ostrich:

The first bird that comes to mind when you think of Africa is probably the Ostrich. These are the largest birds on the planet. And you can’t help noticing that. They are big. And this is from someone who has seen emus and cassowaries. And their legs! They are really stout. You don’t want to be at the receiving end of any kicks from them!
Ostrich
As with birds the males are more colourful, in this case black with white tufts in the back. The females are a duller grey.
Ostrich, female

We saw one with multiple females. Apparently there is no such ratio. Can be a male and a female, or one male with 3-4 females tagging along.
Ostrich, females and male
And one mating and then moving away.
A bunch of feathers
Turns out ostriches mating
They were one of the main highlights of the trip!

Vultures:

I did two posts just for vultures, but let me just plug in 2 more pics of them. The first is the Nubian Vulture (Lappet-faced vulture), one of the largest vultures in the world.
Nubian vulture
The other is the white-backed vulture. The pic below shows an immature on the left and an adult on the right.
Rüpell's Griffon vulture and white backed vulture

Raptors:

We really wanted to see secretary birds, and we saw just one of them. These are raptors and unlike anything we’d seen. They are taller than other birds with long stilt like legs and a serious continence.
Secretarybird
The best sighting was of a Lesser Spotted Eagle. It came down to feast on a nearby Eland carcass.
Lesser spotted eagle
We saw a few ground hornbills foraging in the ground. Although not eagles or hawks they do feed on smaller insects and mammals.
Crowned hornbills
We came across a bird sitting on a tree stump. This turned out to be a Gabar Goshwak.
Gabar Goshawk
There was this bird perched on a tree in Nakuru. Turned out to be an Augur Buzzard.
Augur Buzzard
I got a silhouette of this bird perched against the sun. Turned out to be a Brown Snake-eagle.
Brown Snake-eagle
Naivasha offered opportunities to spot African Fish Eagles. There were lots of them! The guide threw a fish into the water and drew an eagle to pick it up!
African Fish Eagle
AFE about to pick the fish thrown by the guide into water
AFE taking off after plucking a (dead) fish out of water

Smaller Birds:

Among smaller birds, the first and most interesting one is the Lilac-breasted roller. The name itself is interesting. This is a relative of the Indian Roller and they are in the same genus: Coracias.
Lilac-breasted Roller
Almost every bird was colourful! This is a very common bird, called a superb starling. Superb only!
Superb starling
We saw these little birds with banded eyes. They are Greater blue-eared glossy starling. Can do with a smaller name, eh?
Greater blue-eared glossy starling
This is an African Weaver bird. Vert bright and colourful.
Weaver bird

I almost missed the beautiful little bee-eater. Brilliantly green, but small and skittish, was glad to finally get a good shot of one at close range!
Little bee-eater
Water birds:

These below are Hammerkops and were seen close to water bodies in the Mara.
Hammerkop
Most of the water birding happened near Nakuru and Naivasha, though.

Yellow-billed storks were seen a lot, and quite close by too!
Yellow billed stork
Nakuru was home to many lesser flamingoes. But they were too far for really good shots. But here’s one of the flock from far away.
Lesser flamingoes on Lake Nakuru
We saw a lot of Pelicans in Nakuru, standing on one small island.
Pink-backed Pelicans
But the best shot was in Naivasha when one came really close to check us out! Apparently, tourist boats had been feeding her once in a while and she comes close to every boat to see if there’s anything for her! These are pink-backed pelicans and are seen in India too apparently.
Pink backed pelican
There were a couple of grey-crowned cranes. We had never seen cranes before, being restricted to storks and herons so far. They are very colourful with the crown on their heads.
Grey-crowned crane
Kingfishers were seen a lot in Lake Naivasha. This one is a pied kingfisher, also seen in India.
Pied Kingfisher
We spotted a Giant Kingfisher. This is the largest of the Kingfishers. The one here is a male which has a band on its chest.
Giant Kingfisher
There were two species of cormorants. The long-tailed cormorant.
Long tailed cormorant
And the great cormorant.
Great cormorant
We saw a lot of Egyptian geese. I finally got a good shot of one after spotting quite a few farther away everywhere.
Egyptian Goose
This ibis below is the sacred Ibis. Not sure why it is called so, but best guess is the Egyptians. You might remember their hieroglyphs and the Ibis in them. The photo isn’t a great one.
Sacred Ibis
This Ibis is the Hadada Ibis.
Hadada Ibis
This last stork is the Marabou stork. They were even seen hanging around a carcass in the plains and scavenging on them!
Marabou stork

Anyway, that’s all from the Africa trip. Thanks for hanging along so far.
Here’s the album of Maasai Mara:
Masai Mara - Aug 2017

Here’s the one of Lake Nakuru and Lake Naivasha:
Lake Nakuru-Naivasha - Aug 2017

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