Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Birds in the Mwadui area

On Saturday morning Grant and I took a ride around the mine looking for birds. As we drove through the security boom gate, we spotted our first bird of the day: a Grey-headed Kingfisher sitting in a thorn tree and obviously watching for its next meal. (Note: this kingfisher does not feed on fish but a variety of insects and small lizards) I managed to capture a few poses of the bird just before it dived down to the ground to catch its meal.
I spy with my little eye...
...something tasty!

As we drove onto the mine, we spotted another Grey-headed Kingfisher on the power lines

 And a little way ahead,  two immature Grey-headed Kingfisher ! Aren't they just too adorable

The ride provided more surprises as I manged to photograph my first Bee-eaters here in Tanzania. Above is a European Bee-eater

To the right of the vehicle a youngish pair of European Bee-eaters caught my attention so I clicked away at them too!   
Not to be outdone by small fry (or should that be small fly? lol!) a Dark Chanting Goshawk sat upright on a pole while I photographed it. Don't you just LOVE the right leg peeking out from its feathers? 

Driving towards our favorite waterhole, we saw a bird flit across our path and land in a tree on the left side of the road. Grant stopped and although the bird was partly obscured by the branches, I managed to get a reasonable photo of my first Silverbird in Tanzania!  

The Silverbird is endemic only to East Central Africa. I saw my first Silverbird in Kenya in 2011. Of course, I was thrilled to come across this pretty bird here in Tanzania as well

The little dam did not disappoint either. As we approached it, (Grant - as befits a serious birder - driving at 10kmh, and I hanging out of the passenger window camera at the ready!) we both spotted the pair of White - faced duck at the same time.

White-faced Duck

As I clicked away at this serene pair gliding in front of us on the dam, I turned the camera slightly and suddenly I was focusing on another kingfisher; this time a Malachite Kingfisher sitting on a bush overhanging the water.

The Malachite Kingfisher, like its Grey-headed cousin, makes a beautiful subject for photography, don't you think? 

Panning back across the water, I noticed a movement to the far left of the dam that was covered in lilypads. There was a strikingly beautiful waterbird nimbly negotiating the lily pads in search of a meal. Although I managed a number of clear photos of the bird, I am unable to identify it properly so for now I am referring to it as a Moorhen
 A Moorhen

Just beyond the dam, Grant stopped so that I could photograph a little brown job (known to birders as an LBJ). I have managed to narrow it down to a Seed-eater, perhaps a Streaky - headed Seed-eater? The tuft on the head is a little confusing though.

Not much further along Grant stopped again while I tried to get a photo of a completely black bird sitting on the uppermost branches of a bush at the side of the road.  

 A Village Indigobird posed a photographic challenge against the brightness of the sky! 

We continued along the mine road eventually making a full circle until we were on the outskirts of the area where our house and the Guest House is. Grant had told me about a number of Kestrel that he'd been seeing recently when he goes to work. Sure enough as we spoke I told him to stop and reverse: a kestrel was perched beautifully on a marker pole along the road.
Common Kestrel, female

Then as we drove past a signboard on the way back through the security boom, I spotted another Grey-headed Kingfisher. Grant reversed and I managed to get a couple of beautiful photos of this equally photogenic bird! Take a look and let me know if you agree...
 Grey-headed Kingfisher in different surroundings yet looking every bit as beautiful as always
 I hope you all enjoyed reading about the birds of Tanzania (Mwadui area) as much as Grant and I enjoy spotting them. I am linking this post to Wild Bird Wednesday.


  1. Wow Jo.... You captured some gorgeous birds in your area. I love those kingfishers --and their HUGE beaks... Even the youngsters have big beaks... Amazing!!!! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Oh my Jo, you really have got a bevy of beautiful bird photos. Just superb!

  3. Nice collection of birds for one drive. Those kingfishers are so colorful. Love the pair of bee-eaters and that goshawk does look unusual with it's foot like that.

  4. Great birds - who can resist the kingfishers and bee-eaters.

    I can't be of any held with the moorhen ID - my knowledge of African birds is basically zero!

    Cheers and thanks for linking to WBW - Stewart M - Melbourne

  5. European Bee-eaters I like how you captured them looking away.

    A moorhen is called a Pukeko.

  6. Hi Jo, I love your series on African birds. The kingfisher are cool and I love the pretty bee-eaters. The Silverbird is pretty, great sightings. Thanks for sharing, have a happy day!

  7. fabulous snaps each and every one; wonderful bird life!

  8. Lovely post on your birds. I love the especially beautiful Kestrel. What a capture! And Grant is so considerate to drive slow and stop for whatever subject you want to photograph. Love the kingfisher's bgright colors.

  9. Lovely! Agreed. the leg poking out and the young kingfishers are very cute.

  10. A beautiful morning birding and those kingfishers are a delight. It's interesting to see the shape of their head which reminds me very much of our kookaburras ....I wonder if they are related?
    wonderful captures.

    "Adelaide and Beyond"

  11. Super series of African birds Jo! Congrats on the lifers, of course they would all be lifers for me ;-) Those Kingfishers are amazing birds. We were just treated to a program on Kingfishers of the World at our local Audubon meeting last night.

  12. very nice collection of birds. some are very cute and about the blog are nice

  13. From the White faced Ducks, the Kingfishers, the Kestrel to the Dark Chanting Goshawk, all so lovely!


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