I don't know whether bird watching can be classed as a sport, but for convenience sake, I will be putting my bird pictures under this heading.
The crowned crane is a large, spectacular and gregarious bird with long, thin legs which lives in flocks of up to 10 birds. They mainly eat seeds and plants, but also worms, snakes, frogs and insects. As they walk, they stamp their feet, flushing insects out of the ground.
Although here seen with young on the water, Egyptian Geese spend most of their time on land. They are around 70cm high and weigh around 2 kg. They are quite territorial and found mostly in just a small family group. The female lays up to ten eggs and the incubation period is around 30 days, after which they are kept sheltered by the parents for two months. They feed mainly at night, eating seeds, grass and bulbs.
About 20 inches long, the hammerkop has a distinctive head shape which gives it its name, from the Dutch “hammerhead”. Seen usually in pairs, this is a sedentary bird which feeds mainly on tadpoles and frogs. The hammerkop is famous for its enormous nests, which will house several generations of birds. A female will lay 4-6 eggs and the incubation period is 30 days. Both sexes care for the young and after seven or so weeks, the youngsters are ready to fly. Hammerkops are subject of much superstition and are said to hold evil powers; it is considered bad luck to kill or harm a hammerkop.
The Nubian vulture is also known as the lappet-faced vulture because of its overlapping skin on its bare head. It is the largest African vulture and also the rarest vulture; and is considered an endangered species. It has a wing span of up to nine feet and stands more than three feet tall. It mainly eats carrion of large prey, but is also known to devour smaller animals and even live prey, relying on its excellent eye sight to locate food. An aggressive bird, it will fight other vultures for it share of the food, but does give way to Marabou storks. Territorial birds, the Nubian vultures are found in pairs only and build nests away from other vultures. A single egg is laid and incubation period is two months.
Also known as African Wattled Lapwing, both the male and the female have long yellow wattles on their head which gives them their name and their distinctive look. They are fairly commonly spotted in the Masai Mara, we saw them often alongside the tracks, raising its wings vertically as it lands. About 35 cm long, the plover feeds on grass seeds and insects. Mostly solitary, the wattled plover can also be found in pairs. It nests on the ground.
Four subspecies of the helmeted guineafowl are found in Kenya. The guineafowl is around 60cm long and weighs 1.5 kg, and are often found in large flocks on the ground. In the evening they will fly to the safety of tress, having spent most of the day foraging on the ground for food. The female lays up to 20 eggs and the incubation period is around 27 days. They are omnivorous birds, feeding on roots, berries, flowers, grass seeds, snail, termites and grasshoppers.
One of the most spectacular of the smaller birds found in Kenya, the lilac breasted roller is easily identified by its extravagant colouration. It feeds on invertebrates and lizards and sometimes even small birds. This noisy bird is mostly found in woodlands, and is reasonably unperturbed by human activity.
This bird of prey gets its name from its crest feather, which looks like the old fashioned quills secretaries used to use in the 19th century. A terrestrial and solitary bird, it will only fly if threatened. It feeds on snakes, grasshoppers and lizards, stamping the ground to dive out its prey. Once it has caught a snake, it will beat it to death on the ground with its beak. The secretary bird mates for life and returns to the same nest site every year. Two or three eggs are laid, followed by a gestation period of 42 days. The youngsters will be ready to fly after about eight weeks.
One of three subspecies found in Kenya, the tawny eagle will feed on prey as large as a dik dik, steel food from other predators (kleptoparasites) and even scavenge alongside vultures. The tawny eagle is found in south-eastern Europe, Russia, many parts of Asia and all over Africa. It is roughly 27 inches tall with a wing span of 20 inches, the female being larger than the male. Two eggs are laid, followed by an incubation period of around 43 days.
Marabou storks stand up to 1.5m tall and have a bald head and long spindly legs. They have a reputation for being somewhat unsavoury, with their fondness for carrion and their habit of squirting excrement onto their own legs. It is one of the largest flying birds in the world, with a wingspan of nearly three metres
Silly-Silly animals! They come out nowhere.
I have a few more shots of these guys. Thats for later. Run stop look, Run stop look! They take turns doing this. Which one will cross the line first?
This LION was what my driver believes. Running from the MASAI PEOPLE! We followed him for a very short time. He was
getting so tired, I told my driver "ENOUGH, LETS GO!"
With the DREAM CAMP driver, we were able to get out above the MARA RIVER. It smelled reall bad here! But, worth it!!
MASAI MARA, 10/2001
I have many shots of these birds in flight! The
other didn't come out that good! Then finally,
a good shot!
These BLACK n WHITE GIRAFFES good stuff! To get them fighting is another first for me! They weren't really hurting each other.