Thursday, July 18, 2013

Kenya : Birds

My main interest in visiting Kenya was animals. Still, here were a couple of bird species that I wanted to see and I was lucky to see them.

First, the birds from Lake Naivasha area. This is a large freshwater lake, and attracts many birds that feed on fish. The most abundant bird was Great White Breasted Cormorant.

I think the white bird that is sitting next to the cormorant in this photo, is Little Egret.

They are generally sitting in groups.

In very large groups ! Entire trees are full of these.

The next I think is Grey Goliath Heron.

Now two photos of what I think is a Black Headed Heron.

See how many thorns are there on the tree ! There are countless trees with just thorns - 6 inch thorns - and all these birds peacefully nest on them.

Next, two photos of the Pink Backed Pelican. First, a take-off.

Next, in flight.

Now two photos of the Yellow Billed Stork. It's really beautiful.

For the next one, you have to admit that it was perfectly timed :-)

The last bird from Lake Naivasha is Pied Kingfisher. Also pretty.

Now, the birds of the Savannah. The one bird I wanted to see was an Ostrich. In front of the ostrich is a Topi.

The next photo will give you some idea of a typical scene in the savannah. All these were really far away, but in front is an ostrich, in some distance are the elephants, and even further away is a herd of zebras! Animals everywhere you can see.

We rarely got too close to an ostrich. Maybe once.

Another common bird that comes to everyone's mind at the mention of the African savannah, is of course the Vulture - the main janitor of the area. They play such an important role in the circle of life here. What I didn't know was there is another scavenger bird - Marabou Stork. We always found them together!

Two vultures were happily eating a wildebeest carcass, when a Marabou stork walked up to them.

Surprisingly there was no altercation - they shared the feast. We know vulture is a big bird, but look at this stork. It is huge. It dwarfs the vulture. In the background are of course wildebeests.

There was a zebra carcass, and all these birds were patiently waiting for us to leave, to begin their lunch. We also saw the lioness who most likely had killed this zebra, and was sleeping with a full tummy in nearby bushes.

So many of them, and as usual, the background is dotted by countless wildebeests and zebras.

It gave me another opportunity to take photos !

Some other birds of the savannah, use their legs to walk around and find food. These are not flightless birds (like an ostrich is) but walking is a better way of looking for insects and lizards in the tall grass.

The next two photos are of Crowned Lapwing.

There is another similar species, Black-winged Lapwing.

Apart from Ostrich, the one bird that I was really hoping to see was the Secretary Bird. Very striking in appearance, it is an African symbol to an extent, being featured in flags, national emblems and stamps. Their population is dwindling due to loss of habitats, and it's currently listed as "vulnerable". So I was really thrilled to see it, just a few feet away from us. This bird is beautiful!

That completes all the birds and animals, except of course the big cats.

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