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BIRD WATCHING; THE HIDDEN SECRET OF A BIRDING SAFARI AND TOUR IN KENYA

With varied number of vegetation cove ranging from grassland to desert, woodlands to bush Savannah. Kenya boast of being to a number of birds species some of which are on the verge of extinction, close to 300 species of birds destination magical Kenya promises to be a bird heaven for anyone who set out on a bird watching expedition. On the tour to search and view these magnificent being in Kenya and if possible the whole East Africa, these are some of the bird species you can come across.

 1 Vulture

Just so we are clear, I am a great fan of vultures, not only for their comical nature but above al the important role they play in ensuring ecological balance in the wild, typically referred to as the waste managers of the wilderness. It is worthwhile noting that there are a number of vulture species but the ones you are sure to see on your bird watching safari in Kenya are;

I lappet-faced vulture (Torgos tracheliotus)

A very large bird, pink head fleshy lappets both side of face with huge powerful greyish bill, brown eyes and always dominate at the kill.

Ii Rupell’s griffon vulture (Gryps rueppelli)

Large with long yellowish hornbill, white edges body feathers and upper wings coverts the rupell species has a yellow amber eyes with scaly pattern on wings.

Iii African white-backed vulture (Gyps africanus)

Compared to the other three vulture species the white backed species comes off a medium sized species with very broad wings, short tail and a white neck ruff.

Iv White headed vulture (Trigonoceps occipitalis)

This guy comes off smaller in size compared to the rest of the vultures before but very witty and canning to state the least. It has a white head and crop patch with bright pink-red bill with a blackish tip.

V hooded vulture (Necrosyrtes monachus)

Hooded vultures are dark brown in color where are as the adults have largely bare pink head and neck with slender hooked bills.

There are quite a number of vulture species that can be found in magical Kenya depending on the locality taken but as soon as you drop in the city; you can start by viewing the most common marabou stork. Not to forget the endangered Egyptian vulture. The next bird watching safari be sure to sport one or two of this vulture species if not all.

2 ostriches (Struthio camellus)

How can one go on a bird watching safari and not come across the world’s largest bird, ostriches are flightless but they are fleet and have strong feet which also act as their defense, an ostrich kick is believed can kill a  man. Ostrich exist in herds of less than a dozen, the herds have one dominant male and hen the alpha male and the dominate are the ones ton take turns while incubating the giant eggs from the rest of the herd.

Ostriches are typically omnivores feeding in plants and seeds, at times they may feed ion insects and lizards given their hash environmental conditions, contrarily ostriches do not burry their heads in the sand rather this is a survival tactic to make the them less visible to the existing danger.

In Kenya ostriches can be easily located in Kitengela as you head to Namanga the border between Kenya and Tanzania, pink-necked ostrich is the most common species found in the east African region.

3 Flamingoes (Phoenicoparrus minor)

Being the only birds in order phoenicopteriformes flamingoes are spread around the world, from Americas to Caribbean to Asia and Africa. The species found in Africa are located within the Great Rift Valley region. Within the shores of Lake Nakuru the flamingoes form a picturesque scene with their pink color coloring the back ground of the lake. Feeding on insects, mollusk, larvae and crustaceans the Lake has provided the birds a seasonal gateway spot to breed and hangout more often than not. During mating the birds split in groups ranging from 10 to 50 birds, each male and female couple up to ensure successful mating. Within the shores of lake Nakuru and Nakuru national Park you can spot birds such as African fish eagle, Goliath heron, ‘Hamerkop, pied kingfisher and Verreaux’s eagle aamong others of their kind.

4 The secretary bird (Sagittarious serpentarious)

When you spot this fella while on your safari, strut around the grassland with pen behind her ear like a 19th century secretary possibly haunting for snakes or lizards. The secretary bird is beautiful to watch and photograph, the bird has a hawk-like head with a hooked bill. Unlike other raptors the secretary bird is terrestrial hunting its prey on foot, they prey on insects, lizards and mammal ranging and varying in sizes. Secretary birds associate in monogamous pairs. During courtship, they exhibit a nuptial display by soaring high with undulating flight patterns and calling with guttural croaking. Spotting the secretary bird on your bird watching safari is more than a privilege, especially within the Mara National Reserve and the Serengeti National Park.

5 Lilac-breasted roller (Coracias coudatus)

Sheer beauty and colorful within the same means the lilac-breasted roller mostly found in open woodland and savannah vegetation is considered as one Kenya most beautiful bird. Usually spotted on top of trees cheerful and musical giving you the best scene to take some photographs for memories. Feeds on insects, lizards, scorpions, snails, small birds and rodents

6 The southern ground hornbill (Bucorvus leadbeateri)

This is one of the species of the two ground hornbill and only found in Africa ranging from Kenya to South Africa, where it inhabits both the woodlands and the savannah. Their nests are often found in high in tree cavities or other shallow cavities, such as rock holes in cliff faces. The ground hornbill usually hunt in large groups within some parks in Kenya and other parts of  East Africa, they normally feed on small reptiles, amphibians and they largely considered carnivorous.

It is worthwhile noting that there are a number of birds that we will be talking about in the next articles and details of our planned tours and visits to spot and locate this wonderful magnificent species. Birds are facing a lot of environmental challenges especially with regard to global warming and predators; this has drastically reduced the number of some birds’ species some that are on the verge of extinction. That why we as travelnet.co.ke advocate for environmental sustainability whenever we go on a trail to locate and hangout with class aves. Let us do our part in looking out for those that don’t have the privilege like us.

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