Common Bird Sightings around Marich Pass Field Studies Centre

 

1. Crested Francolin - a partridge-like bird that can often be seen on the track leading to the field centre, or on the road towards Marich village. Can also be located by its rattling alarm call. Several species of pigeon and dove can be seen in the area, including:

 

2. Emerald-spotted Wood Dove and

 

3. Laughing Dove

 

4. Brown Parrots can often be located in the trees of the centre, particularly just outside the perimeter fence, near the curio shop.

 

5. The White-Bellied Go-Away Bird is a large noisy species that may be encountered in any area of Acacia scrub.

 

6. Two species of Mousebird are likely to be encountered; the Speckled Mousebird and its close relative, the Blue-naped Mousebird (easily identified by the blue patch behind the head). In the area of the river (easily viewable from the field centre) it may be possible to see:

 

7. Pied Kingfisher, a medium-sized black and white bird that often sits on rocks adjacent to the field centre. Other species that may be seen in this area include the Hamerkop, a relative of the heron, and the enormous and spectacular Giant Kingfisher.

 

8. White-Throated Bee-Eaters are often seen hawking for insects (and occasionally perching, affording good views) about halfway along the track to the field centre.

 

9. Little Bee-Eaters are, more likely to be found in the cultivated areas around the village, often posing for photo opportunities.

 

10. The Lilac-Breasted Roller is a large, colourful and conspicuous bird that may be seen almost anywhere in the area. The closely related Broad-Billed Roller may also be seen.

 

11. Another species that is abundant and conspicuous (due to its loud call) is the Green-Wood Hoopoe, which can be seen amongst dead trees (mainly on the field centre track), probing for insects with its long, thin bill

 

12. The African Grey Hornbill can often be located via its piercing call, that sounds confusingly like that of a bird of prey.

 

13. Jackson's Hornbill, which is more strikingly black and white, and with a red bill in the male, and a black bill in the female, is also likely to be seen. At least three species of Barbet are present in the area:

 

14. D'Arnaud's Barbet is conspicuously black and yellow, with a call that draws immediate attention.

 

15. The Red and Yellow Barbet is larger, and tends to be associated with termite mounds.

 

16. The Double-Toothed Barbet is easily recognised and may be seen in the vicinity. Note the serrated edge to the bill, and yellow patch around the eye.

 

17. Cardinal Woodpecker is are a very small species (L.13cm); and any larger woodpecker is likely to be the Grey Woodpecker or Nubia Woodpecker.

 

18. Any small, black and white bird that continuously moves its tail is almost certain to be the African Pied Wagtail, a close relative of its European counterpart.

 

19. Another species likely to be seen is the Common Bulbul often located via its whistling call.

 

20. A bird that may take more locating is the Spotted Morning Thrush, sometimes seen in bushes by the field centre track.

 

21. The African Thrush is often to be found around the campsite.

 

22. Heuglin's Robin Chat, which is very vocal and melodic, is found in undergrowth between the campsite and the road.

 

23. Northern Black Flycatcher is a 'difficult to find' species, frequenting woodland.

 

24. The African Paradise Monarch is a species that frequents the woodland around the centre. The female has shorter tail than the male.

 

25. A slim, reddish, thrush-type bird, which may be seen, is the Rufous Chatterer. As its name suggests, it is highly vocal.

 

26. The commonest sunbird species in the area is the aptly named Beautiful Sunbird. Another species that is much darker is the Amethyst Sunbird.

 

27. African Black-Headed Orioles have vivid yellow bodies, but can prove frustratingly elusive, as they frequent tree canopies.

 

28. Several Shrike and Fiscal species may be seen, but the most easily located (generally in Acacia trees near Marich School) is the Grey-Backed Fiscal.

 

29. Rueppell's Long-Tailed Starling is likely to be seen everywhere. The most purple bird in the world? Probably.

 

30. The Drongo is a dark, fork-tailed bird that one can hardly fail to see.

 

31. One of the true avian stars of the area is also one of the commonest: the Superb Starling is present in some numbers around the village.

 

32. You are likely to see a small blue finch with red face markings. This is the Red-Cheeked Cord-Bleu, a common ground feeding bird around the campsite.

 

Compiled by S.J.Attwood

University of East Anglia,

UK

July 1998

 

For birdwatching a good pair of binoculars and field guide such as Collins Guide to the Birds of East Africa is recommended. Happy Birding! .