Birding on the Grumeti

Grumeti · September 2019
By George David Tolchard
Head Guide

The birdlife on the Grumeti this month has been lovely with some new additions being observed out on the Gambaranyera plains to the West. Species included collared pratincole, Madagascar bee-eater and Hartlaub’s bustard. We were very excited to see black and white mannikin here on Sasakwa hill as they moved through in a flock of twenty or so individuals.

The name pratincole originates from the Latin term “meadow dweller” which seems very fitting as they were observed sitting in great numbers on the short green flush out on the Western grasslands.

This red-headed weaver has been rather busy in the last few weeks as he prepares to impress the females. A very striking bird and a skilled architect.

The striped kingfisher is one of the more common resident kingfishers found in the woodlands of the Grumeti reserve. A lovely little bird with a very distinct call.

The male violet-backed starling is an impressive observation. Also known as the plumb-backed starling. These birds make local movements with correspondence to rainfall. Currently we are seeing good numbers of these birds in the Sasakwa hill area.

The pretty rosie-throated longclaw is a great find out on the Grumeti grasslands. This bird is not always easy to see, especially when it turns its back to you, melting away into its surroundings. The longclaws have adapted particularly long toes and claws in order to help them move through the long grasses, where they spend much of their time.

The mighty lappet-faced vulture perches on desert date tree on the western plains. The fleshy lappets on the side of the face are clearly visible here.

A melanistic Gabar goshawk perches in a tamarind tree at the base of the Sasakwa hill. This dark morph of the raptor is surprisingly common on the Grumeti Reserve, and is always a pleasure to see. The bare bright red legs and cere are prominent indicators helping to identify this little bird of prey. The Gabar goshawk can be heard calling regularly at this time as we move into this bird breeding season. It is not uncommon to see the males chasing the females through the woodlands as they become more and more active.

 

*Bird images placed in order of story narrative

By George David Tolchard
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