Thursday, March 30, 2017

Backyard birding - Marico sunbird

Marico sunbird or Mariqua sunbird (Cinnyris mariquensis)


A welcome frequent visitor to my garden

Male

Male

Female

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Birds of Uganda - Black-headed Heron

Black-headed Heron (Ardea melanocephala)

Backyard birding on a very cloudy day.

Black-headed Heron is a wading bird of the heron family Ardeidae, common throughout much of sub-Saharan Africa and Madagascar. It is mainly resident, but some west African birds move further north in the rainy season.
This species usually breeds in the wet season in colonies in trees, reedbeds or cliffs. It builds a bulky stick nest, and lays 2–4 eggs.
It often feeds in shallow water, spearing fish or frogs with its long, sharp bill. It will also hunt well away from water, taking large insects, small mammals, and birds. It will wait motionless for its prey, or slowly stalk its victim.
The black-headed heron is a large bird, standing 85 cm tall, and it has a 150 cm wingspan. It is nearly as large as the grey heron, which it resembles in appearance, although it is generally darker. Its plumage is largely grey above, and paler grey below. It has a powerful dusky bill.





Monday, March 27, 2017

Backyard birding

Lesser Masked Weaver (Ploceus intermedius)


Lesser Masked Weaver (Ploceus intermedius) - song

www.xeno-canto.org   Jacek Betleja


The lesser masked weaver (Ploceus intermedius) is a species of bird in the family Ploceidae. It builds its nests in large colonies, often alongside the village weaver and sometimes the red-billed buffalo weaver.



Sunday, March 26, 2017

Birds of Uganda

Hadada Ibis (Bostrychia hagedash)

Hadada ibises are long-legged wading birds who belong to the same order as herons, storks, and flamingos. Ibises were buried with ancient Egyptian mummies as gifts to their gods. Hadadas are so named because of their loud call while in flight, “Haa-daa-daa.” They prefer to nest in isolation, unlike other more social ibises that gather in nesting sites consisting of thousands of birds. While adapted to wetland habitats, the hadada is more terrestrial (living on land) than aquatic (living in water). When feeding in water, ibises use their down-curved bills to locate food by touch rather than sight.

Hadada Ibis (Bostrychia hagedash) - call

www.xeno-canto.org   Rory Nefdt





Saturday, March 25, 2017

Birds of Uganda

African Grey Hornbill (Lophoceros nasutus)

On our walk at Lake Mburo National Park we saw a few of these. Checked this one off my life list. 😉




Thursday, March 23, 2017

Backyard birding

Red-billed Firefinch (Lagonosticta senegala)


The red-billed firefinch is 10 cm in length. The adult male has entirely scarlet plumage apart from brown wings. The bill is pink, and there is a yellow eye-ring. Females have uniformly brown upperparts and buff underparts. There is a small red patch in front of both eyes, and the bill is pink.
This widespread and abundant species is often found around human habitation, often with other species such as the red-cheeked cordon-bleu, and its soft queet-queet call is a familiar African sound. The song is a rising chick-pea-pea-pea.  It is a small gregarious bird which feeds mainly on grain and other seeds. It frequents open grassland and cultivation. The nest is a large domed grass structure with a side entrance, built low in a bush, wall or thatch into which three to six white eggs are laid. The nest of this species is parasitised by the village indigobird.

Red-billed Firefinch - male

Red-billed Firefinch - female

Backyard birding

Variable Sunbird (Cinnyris venustus)


The Variable Sunbird is a fairly common resident breeder in equatorial Africa. Two eggs are laid in a suspended nest in a tree. This species is found in open woodland and cultivation.  Variable sunbirds are small, only 10 cm long. They have medium-length thin down-curved bills and brush-tipped tubular tongues, both adaptations to their nectar feeding.  The adult male has a glossy green head, throat and nape, and a maroon breast band. In most subspecies, the belly of the male is yellow, but in a few it is orange or white. The female has gray-brown upperparts and yellowish underparts, and an obvious pale supercilium. The eclipse male is like the female, but shows some green, especially on the throat. The call is a clear tew-tew-tew-tew-tew .

Adult male

Adult female

Immature male

Immature male

Immature male


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Birds of Uganda - Trilling Cisticola

Birding at Lake Mburo Camp


The Trilling Cisticola (Cisticola woosnami) is a species of bird in the Cisticolidae family. It is found in Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia. Its natural habitats are dry savanna and subtropical or tropical dry lowland grassland.

Trilling Cisticola (Cisticola woosnami) - song

www.xeno-canto.org   Rolf A. de By



Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Backyard birding - Southern Red Bishop



The southern red bishop or red bishop (Euplectes orix) is a small passerine bird belonging to the bishop and widowbird genus Euplectes in the weaver family, the Ploceidae. It is common in wetlands and grassland in Africa south of the Equator. North of the Equator, it is replaced by the northern red bishop or orange bishop (E. franciscanus) which was formerly regarded as a subspecies of this species.


Monday, March 20, 2017

Bronze Mannikin - Communal roosting nest

Birds of Uganda


Bronze Mannikin (Lonchura cucullata) - call


www.xeno-canto.org   Rory Nefdt

The bronze mannikin or bronze munia (Lonchura cucullata) is a small passerine (i.e. perching) bird of the Afrotropics. This very social estrildid finch is an uncommon to locally abundant bird in much of Africa south of the Sahara Desert, where it is resident, nomadic or irruptive in mesic savanna or forest margin habitats. It has an estimated global extent of occurrence of 8,100,000 km². It is the smallest and most widespread of four munia species on the African mainland, the other being black-and-white, red-backed and magpie mannikin. It co-occurs with the Madagascan mannikin on the Comoro Islands, and was introduced to Puerto Rico. Especially in the West Africa, it is considered a pest in grain and rice fields.

Adult


The song is a concatenated and somewhat repetitive series of notes. Before going to roost at nightfall, they usually visit a watering hole where vegetation is hanging into the water. They roost at night in ball-shaped nests, which in the non-breeding season are built solely for this purpose. These slovenly communal roosting nests are dismantled (for reuse of material) and rebuilt almost daily at the same or a new location, in a communal effort. Each party, numbering 8 to 20 birds, seems to be dominated by a single adult male. The flock defends the immediate vicinity of a nest against intruders, but newcomers to a flock are easily accepted. They may associate with waxbill or other mannikin species, and may also use their vacated nests. Pairs often allopreen.

Communal roosting nest


The flock having a drink

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Backyard birding - Common Bulbul

Birds of Uganda


In my garden

The Common bulbul (Pycnonotus barbatus) is a member of the bulbul family of passerine birds. It is a ubiquitous resident breeder throughout Africa. Other names include black-eyed bulbul and common garden bulbul.

sunning after a bath

Catching insects

Preening




Saturday, March 18, 2017

A bad day birding is better than a good day working

Birding at Lake Mburo Camp

Lake Mburo National Park, Uganda


I left Mbarara in the rain heading for Kimbla-Mantana Lake Mburo Camp to do a little maintenance at the lodge. I loaded up in a pickup that was waiting for me in Sanga to take me on to the camp. Just after we entered the park, the truck broke down. Luckily the rain was slowing down enough to let me get out take a few photos while they worked on the truck.

The muddy road

The buffalo were curious about us, I think they were making fun of us for breaking down in the park.

African buffalo

African buffalo

The rangers came while we were working on the truck, they were herding the cows out of the park. One of the cows had strange looking horns, they were hanging down. 
Another ranger came by on a tractor pulling a water tank, he stopped and helped with the repairs.

Rangers chasing cows out of the park

Rangers chasing cows out of the park

While they worked on the truck I walked around and took a few pictures. A few zebras gather to see what was going on. I spotted a Red-cheeked Cordon-bleu and a Rüppell's Vulture drying it's wings in the tree just next to us. There was a few Impala and a couple of vervet monkeys close by but it started raining again and I had to cover the camera and head back to the truck.

Zebra

Red-cheeked Cordon-bleu

Rüppell's Vulture

All in all it was not a bad start to my birding trip. Below is a list of all the birds we saw in about a 5 hour birding outing.



1. Rüppell's Vulture - 1  *
2. African Wattled Lapwing - 4
3. Spot-flanked Barbet - 6
4. Trilling Cisticola - 6
5. Bare-faced Go-away-bird - 1
6. European Bee-eater - 7
7. Tropical Boubou - 2
8. African Grey Hornbill - 4  *
9. Northern Grey-headed Sparrow - 8
10. Western Cattle Egret - 11
11. Fork-tailed Drongo - 2
12. African Thrush - 2
13. Rüppell's Starling - 16
14. Golden-breasted Bunting - 2
15. Red-headed Weaver - 2
16. Grey Crowned Crane - 2
17. Nubian Woodpecker - 1  *
18. Black-headed Gonolek - 3
19. Speckled Mousebird - 11
20. Cardinal Quelea - 17  *
21. Bateleur Near-threatened - 1  *
22. African Pied Wagtail - 3
23. Ring-necked Dove - 4
24. Shikra - 1
25. Striped Kingfisher - 1
26. Common Scimitarbill - 2  *
27. Ashy Flycatcher - 1
28. Scarlet-chested Sunbird - 1
29. Lilac-breasted Roller - 5
30. Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird - 1
31. Red-necked Spurfowl - 8
32. White-browsed Robin-Chat - 2
33. Yellow-breasted Apalis - 2  *
34. Chinspot Batis - 2
35. Golden-backed Weaver - 2  *
36. Greater Blue-eared Starling - 3  *
37. Emerald-spotted Wood Dove - 2
38. Jacobin Cuckoo - 1  *
39. Grey-backed Camaroptera - 1
40. African Sacred Ibis - 4
41. African Fish Eagle - 2
42. Palm-nut Vulture - 1
43. Village Weaver - 20+
44. Black-headed Weaver - 20+
45. Yellow-billed Oxpecker - 15  *
46. Yellow-billed Duck - 2  *
47. Bronze Mannikin - 20+
48. Blue-naped Mousebird - 9
49. Red-eyed Dove - 2
50. Red-cheeked Cordon-bleu - 3
51. Spectacled Weaver - 1  *
52. Red-billed firefinch - 6

* 13 added to my life list

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Backyard birding - Variable Sunbird

Birds of Uganda


Variable Sunbird (Cinnyris venustus)

The variable sunbird (or yellow-bellied sunbird), Cinnyris venustus (formerly Nectarinia venusta), is a sunbird. The sunbirds are a group of small Old World passerine birds which feed largely on nectar, although they will also take insects, especially when feeding young. Flight is fast and direct on their short wings. Most species can take nectar by hovering like a hummingbird, but usually perch to feed most of the time.

The variable sunbird is a fairly common resident breeder in equatorial Africa. Two eggs are laid in a suspended nest in a tree. This species is found in open woodland and cultivation.

Variable sunbirds are small, only 10 cm long. They have medium-length thin down-curved bills and brush-tipped tubular tongues, both adaptations to their nectar feeding.

The adult male has a glossy blue or green head, throat and nape, and a maroon breast band. In most subspecies, the belly of the male is yellow, but in a few it is orange or white. The female has grey-brown upperparts and yellowish underparts, and an obvious pale supercilium. The eclipse male is like the female, but shows some green, especially on the throat.

Variable Sunbird - song

www.xeno-canto.org   Martin St-Michel


Male in molt

Female

Male in molt

Male in molt

Female

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Backyard birding - White-browed Robin-chat

Birds of Uganda


The White-browed robin-chat (Cossypha heuglini) is also known as Heuglin's robin, is a species of bird in the family Muscicapidae. Found in east, central and southern Africa, its natural habitats include riverine forest and thickets, and it is also found near humans.


White-browed Robin-chat - song

www.xeno-canto.org   David C. Moyer






Sunday, March 12, 2017