Wildlife in Tanzania and Kenya – birds

Birds have always held a certain fascination for me, and on my journey around Tanzania and Kenya I saw an incredibly diverse range of them all coexisting in the same habitat.

(Below: ostriches grazing – male is black and female is brown)

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This blog post will introduce just a few of the feathered creatures that I came across – and I might just add in here that they are significantly harder to photograph than the mammals in my previous post!

These yellow-collared lovebirds (otherwise known as black-masked lovebirds) were perched at the top of this dead tree. Often with parrots and parakeets there is a notable difference between the males and females however with this particular species that is not the case, so I was unable to identify the genders of these birds.

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My first encounter with glossy starlings was when I was sat very quietly and one landed in a tree close by. It was minute, with iridescent green feathers – I was so annoyed that I didn’t have my camera with me! On safari we saw a different type of glossy starling – the superb starling. This species was much larger but still had that amazing metallic gleam to its feathers.

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The ‘barbet’ was not a bird I had ever heard of before I went to Tanzania – it bears some resemblance to a woodpecker and does chisel holes in trees to make its nest, but is in fact an entirely different species. The striking red and yellow barbets shown below were feeding from a termite mound.

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I had been hoping to see some larger birds on my adventure as well, and I was not disappointed. Marshall eagles swooped over us from time to time while we were on safari, and we were even lucky enough to see one perched in the top of a tree. The wing span of these birds was enormous: they even made the trees seem small!

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However, one of my favourite moments was seeing marabou storks. When I was younger I saw one of these birds in a conservation area at a nature reserve near to where I lived in Norfolk. I was in awe of the huge beak and the size of the bird itself – it was so unlike anything I had seen before, so of course I was absolutely thrilled when we stopped below a group of marabou storks that were circling, looking for a recent kill.

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Keep an eye out for my final blog post about Tanzania and Kenya – it should be posted within the next week.

Thanks for reading!

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