Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Gilgamesh

First time Safari to Kenya - Bird species to look for?

16 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

My first ever safari, other than to Yellowstone in USA, is coming up in less than 2 months. Therefore, first and foremost  I am excited for all the animals we will be seeing in their natural habitat. However, I do not want to completely ignore the birds, and I do find them very fascinating. But, not as much as lions, cheetahs, leopards, and even the various antelopes etc.

 

I am visiting Amboseli, Ol Pejeta and Masai Mara.

 

I don't get too excited on seeing a rare bird species. I am interested in pretty birds or large birds of most types. Something anyone with no knowledge of birds can appreciate due to its looks or behavior.

 

I have this list of birds I want to see and photograph, so I can inform our guide/driver. Is there any interesting birds I am missing?... Thank you!

 

- Secretary bird - Especially on a tree top

- Hornbill - any species (Can I expect to see these?)

- Bea eater - any species (looks so good on photos)

- King fisher - pretty on photos too

- Eagle - any species, Hawk - any species or similar looking bird of prey.

- Vulture - should be easy

- Ostrich - should be easy, but hoping to catch one in a nice surrounding...to cement a landscape photo.

- Falcon, Kestrel like birds

- I would love to see common birds like Cormorants, Pelicans, Heron, Egret, Stork, Crane  like birds

 

 

Edited by Gilgamesh
2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And you need to see 'The Blue Bird' the Lilac Breasted Roller which has magnificent iridescent blue wings. They are pretty common to he honest but spectacular.

3 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, wilddog said:

And you need to see 'The Blue Bird' the Lilac Breasted Roller which has magnificent iridescent blue wings. They are pretty common to he honest but spectacular.

Wow! That is one pretty bird...I'll study that one too. Thanks!

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I saw many weavers in Amboseli.  They make the most interesting nests and the males are quite loud as they compete amongst each other to entice a female in to nest with them.

 

The Maribou stork is one of the Ugly Five, but I find them fascinating to watch especially on a kill when they show up with the vultures and other scavengers.  The first one I ever saw was at our lodge near Ngorongoro and one was going table to table in the outdoor patio area taking silverwear off the tables.

 

I love the lilac breasted roller.  You'll see plenty of them.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, amybatt said:

I saw many weavers in Amboseli.  They make the most interesting nests and the males are quite loud as they compete amongst each other to entice a female in to nest with them.

 

The Maribou stork is one of the Ugly Five, but I find them fascinating to watch especially on a kill when they show up with the vultures and other scavengers.  The first one I ever saw was at our lodge near Ngorongoro and one was going table to table in the outdoor patio area taking silverwear off the tables.

 

I love the lilac breasted roller.  You'll see plenty of them.

Those weaver nests are awesome! I'm glad you mentioned them as I definitely want to photograph that...cool!

 

yeah! That Marabou stork is positively ugly...never heard of the ugly five, so I looked up...but I find the hyena's and Warthog good looking though...oh well!

 

I didn't know the Marabou stork joins in on a kill too,...fascinating info....so stoked to learn and see all of these animal behaviors....

 

I am so glad I asked...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Gilgamesh said:

Wow! That is one pretty bird...I'll study that one too. Thanks!

What's nice is they are rather plentiful.  You'll see them perched often.  Photographing one in flight is tough, but the beautiful colors are very visible when they are sitting.  You might also see the Eurasian Roller or the Purple Roller, which are similar but not quite as brightly colored.

Do ask about the Martial Eagle and the Fish Eagle, two very majestic specimens.

The Khori Bustard is a large bird that stalks around on the ground.  The pronunciation of your guide may sound like "bastard."  That's always a funny initiation.  First time safari goers often think there is some kind of bastard bird out there.

Not real common is the Ground Hornbill with its bright red face and black body.  The other hornbills that take to the sky more often are more common.

The beautiful iridescence of some of the starlings is worth photographing--the Superb Starling or Burchell's Starling.  These birds like to hang around camps and lodges and anywhere people eat outside, so sometimes you can get very close.

The biggest heron, Goliath Heron, is seen often near water.

The Saddle billed stork is very striking!

The helmuted guinea fowl is very common and if you can get them in good light, the blue on their faces is attractive. 

The sand grouses can be very sweet, such as the yellow throated sandgrouse or maybe even chestnut bellied. 

 

Good question to ask in advance so you will prepared.

 

 

 

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Agree with @Atravelynn on the Kori bustard.  I saw a male doing his courtship performance and he can blow his neck up like a balloon, it was very strange (and I'm not sure how that makes him attractive!). While I wouldn't consider myself a bird fan, I find that there are some unique ones with interesting behaviors to see!  I also love the secretary bird and how regal it looks as it walks along, and that it eats snakes!

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, Atravelynn said:

What's nice is they are rather plentiful.  You'll see them perched often.  Photographing one in flight is tough, but the beautiful colors are very visible when they are sitting.  You might also see the Eurasian Roller or the Purple Roller, which are similar but not quite as brightly colored.

Do ask about the Martial Eagle and the Fish Eagle, two very majestic specimens.

The Khori Bustard is a large bird that stalks around on the ground.  The pronunciation of your guide may sound like "bastard."  That's always a funny initiation.  First time safari goers often think there is some kind of bastard bird out there.

Not real common is the Ground Hornbill with its bright red face and black body.  The other hornbills that take to the sky more often are more common.

The beautiful iridescence of some of the starlings is worth photographing--the Superb Starling or Burchell's Starling.  These birds like to hang around camps and lodges and anywhere people eat outside, so sometimes you can get very close.

The biggest heron, Goliath Heron, is seen often near water.

The Saddle billed stork is very striking!

The helmuted guinea fowl is very common and if you can get them in good light, the blue on their faces is attractive. 

The sand grouses can be very sweet, such as the yellow throated sandgrouse or maybe even chestnut bellied. 

 

Good question to ask in advance so you will prepared.

 

 

 

Thank you...I have to say, Martial eagles, Fish eagles, Khori bustard, Ground hornbill, Goliath heron, saddle billed stork and even the Helmuted guinea fowl will all get me as excited as any animal would....I wish I'll see many of these.

 

Thank you for the whole list....They are all pretty and I would love to photograph them.

Edited by Gilgamesh
1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well you probably won't see them all - just due to time - but you have quite a list now. Ol Pejeta.won't typically be great for birds (actually it can be decent, especially for the big ground birds, but your primary goal here should be the northern species - reticulated giraffe, oryx, Grevy's zebras - and rhinos. Oh and wild dogs, if you are lucky enough that they are around when you are). However do ask if you can have breakfast next to the river and if you are really keen on waterbirds there are a number of "dams" you can visit where some can be spotted - although not in any great numbers. This request would not make you popular with vehicle mates!!!  I suspect your best.chance of a fish eagle will be here by the river, but it is an extremely dry year so don't count on that. You have a chance in the Mara too. 

 

The Mara will deliver birds in the same area as general game on a normal drive - especially birds of prey. But there will be so much to see you will have to ask your guide to tell you about the birds - most guides will assume you would rather see the lions.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Do not tell your guide to look for.kingfishers unless he is looking for leopards (or unless you want your vehicle mates to engineer an accident for you at breakfast). Then tell him to look for kingfishers for you. This really does work quite well, although it is far from a cert.

Edited by pault
1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, pault said:

Well you probably won't see them all - just due to time - but you have quite a list now. Ol Pejeta.won't typically be great for birds (actually it can be decent, especially for the big ground birds, but your primary goal here should be the northern species - reticulated giraffe, oryx, Grevy's zebras - and rhinos. Oh and wild dogs, if you are lucky enough that they are around when you are). However do ask if you can have breakfast next to the river and if you are really keen on waterbirds there are a number of "dams" you can visit where some can be spotted - although not in any great numbers. This request would not make you popular with vehicle mates!!!  I suspect your best.chance of a fish eagle will be here by the river, but it is an extremely dry year so don't count on that. You have a chance in the Mara too. 

 

The Mara will deliver birds in the same area as general game on a normal drive - especially birds of prey. But there will be so much to see you will have to ask your guide to tell you about the birds - most guides will assume you would rather see the lions.

I don't think I will ask the driver/guide to go too far looking for birds with the short time we have. But, if he is aware of a nest or a 'sure sighting' on the way to a big animal, then I will ask him to stop or take a small detour.

 

I am glad you mentioned the 'specialty' animals in Ol Pejeta, that's very helpful too.

Edited by Gilgamesh

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, pault said:

Do not tell your guide to look for.kingfishers unless he is looking for leopards (or unless you want your vehicle mates to engineer an accident for you at breakfast). Then tell him to look for kingfishers for you. This really does work quite well, although it is far from a cert.

Lol!...We will have our own driver and vehicle, so no worries on that...except the last two nights stay at the Lion camp. Where I will skip the birds and go with the flow.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am sure your guide will alert you to some bird sightings anyway particularly those you have listed, which are quite large and/or ostentatious. It is very likely you will come across quite a lot of them as you drive around looking for the mammals.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Where will I have the best chance to see the secretary bird?...this I have to see.

 

I am only planning to do two full day safari (packed lunch), both in Masai Mara. If either Ol Pejeta or Amboseli has secretary birds and I will have a higher chance of seeing them on a full day safari, I just may do that.

 

Thanks!

Edited by Gilgamesh
1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Any of the places you are going would be habitat for the Secretary Bird.  They like tall grasses and that's where you'd see them marching through.  They can be out any time of day, or roosting in the tree (which you mentioned) as evening approaches, but like most animals, they are most active mornings until it gets hot and then late afternoon.  A full day safari increases your odds of anything, including the Secretary Bird, simply because you're out there. 

 

Definitely let your guide know of your strong interest in the Secretary Bird. Having your own vehicle increases your odds of a Secretary Bird or your other preferred greatly because you can concentrate on that species. The guide could even use the radio to see if other guides have seen them.

 

I was born in the Buckeye State!

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Amboseli swamp is a good place for birds. And there is always good surprises on a game drive. In Amboseli while looking a martial eagle,  a honey badger appears out of his den.

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.


© 2006 - 2017 www.safaritalk.net - Talking Safaris and African Wildlife Conservation since 2006. Passionate about Africa.