All these images are from a single sunset in the Western Serengeti.
Click to view this image full size.
Fluttering down to the bird bath at the entrance to Tarangire National Park.
West of here you only find Fischer’s Lovebirds so these were a lovely find.
Beautiful and quite noisy, as lovebirds usually are.
Basking at Meserani Snake Park.
A Guineafowl dusts off at Meserani Snake Park.
Nature is gross… (and super interesting). This Red-billed Oxpecker, who also loves ear wax and keeping scabs from fully forming so it can feast on blood and tissue, seems particularly attuned to the digestive timing of giraffes. It flew down from the beast’s neck within seconds of this process starting so it could have its pick of the ticks that inhabit this usually inaccessible region. Yup, gross… and interesting.
Bird Light Wind… keeping it real since 2008.
White-backed Vulture photographed at Meserani Snake Park, Arusha, Tanzania.
Photographed at Meserani Snake Park, Arusha, Tanzania.
The dreaded and deadly Black Mamba, so called for the black lining of its mouth.
Tree Snake doing what tree snakes do.
Taken safely at Meserani Snake Park outside Arusha, Tanzania.
The Pin-tailed Wydah bird is striking and improbable looking. It is one of my favorites.
This one heads out to forage along the roadside in the Serengeti but I’ve seen them in Dar es Salaam as well.
They have a beautiful rhythmic pulsing flight, no doubt caused by the aerodynamic challenges inherent in carrying such a fabulous tail.
I wish I knew more about them. I’m glad they are fairly common in Tanzania.
A baby Baboon looks up from the security of its mothers arms.
With any luck, that little baboon will transform into this someday.
This baby Zebra is so young its stripes are still wrinkled.
I thought someone had left a plastic toy tortoise in my parents backyard… until it started walking toward me.
A Blue Monkey in the canopy near Lake Manyara.
Cape Buffalo at the water’s edge. Early morning at Lake Manyara.
A closer look at a Cape Buffalo.
A Cheetah waits out the rain in Ngorongoro Crater.
In the Serengeti, afternoon sunlight and a Cheetah at rest.
Our tiniest antelope, the Dik Dik. They are often seen in pairs near the roadside where good cover is plentiful.
Elephants are thrilling to encounter. Sometimes peaceful, sometimes dangerous, always astounding.
A Giraffe feeds in Mikumi National Park.
In Zanzibar glowing worms pulse and crawl across rocks as the Indian Ocean rumbles in the darkness.
Hyenas are the definition of tough. They have immense jaw strength and can snap bones like toothpicks.
Closing out the Tanzania series, a Hyrax (related to the elephant) seeks relief from the blazing sun under our car.
A Zebra on the Serengeti dines casually near the road.
A young Giraffe near Lake Manyara tries to blend in.
Wildebeest on the move in the Serengeti Plains.
A friend stretches near a crowd of hippos in Ngorongoro Crater.
Termite mounds make for good scratching posts. Another Elephant waits its turn.
Red Elephants abound in Manyara because of the rich volcanic dirt.
Maasai have lived in harmony with the land for generations.
A Leopard makes a rare appearance high above a rocky outcropping in the Serengeti.
We will start with lions. Here, a powerful male strides through the northern plains of the Serengeti.
The lions in Ngorongoro are accustomed to the moving rocks that pay them daily visits. You are advised to stay in the car because people do get eaten when they step out to get a closer look.
Mating is a vicious sounding act. The lions growl and roar during the act.
Traffic jams like this are a sad daily occurrence. People are always vying for the best position for a close encounter and the lions have to pick their way through the moving roadblocks.
Near Ndutu, a pride sleeps during the heat of the day.
The flies are enough to drive you crazy but the lions seem to cope with them well.
In the northern part of the Serengeti, Lion cubs come out to investigate the noise as we approach. This was a family of nine cubs and two lionesses.
On the Ngorongoro Crater floor, a lioness snarls at her mate. A full post follows tomorrow.
An inquisitive baby giraffe.
An elephant strolls by at Lake Manyara. Two more previews over the weekend and then I’ll post fully once I get internet access again.
A female Sunbird finds sun-warmed flowers near a reptile park in Arusha.
A Babbler forages for insects in the trees.
I said to the guide… “I’d love to see a Bataleur.” He said “Maybe later today.” Then I looked up from the hippo pool and saw a bird circling down towards us and there it was. Such cool stumpy-tailed birds. Unmistakeable.
No idea what this is… but it’s a looker.
The bird baths at Ol Mesera tented camp get an amazing diversity of birds. 25 species over breakfast.
Black Kites are generalists everywhere except the picnic area at Ngorongoro, where they specialize in stealing sandwiches out of your hands. (CLICK HERE to see them in action)
Swooping in to check if anyone is being careless with their lunch.
Black-bellied Bustards strut their stuff on the plains. That’s it for the Tanzanian Birds series. Let me know if you want to see a series with other Tanzanian animals.
A Eurasian Roller in Mikumi National Park.
An unidentified Eagle hunting insects in the northern Serengeti.
Flamingos on the edge of Lake Manyara on a cool morning.
A Dark Chanting Goshawk in the western Serengeti.
A small falcon (Hobby?) dines on a small bird near Lake Manyara.
I love Fish Eagles. I can’t explain why.
A juvenile Fish Eagle consorts with Marabou Storks in Mikumi.
Guinea Fowl wander near a picnic spot in Ngorongoro Crater.
A Southern Ground Hornbill defies its name by prancing around in the trees.
An Indian House Crow, locally called a Zanzibar Crow, contemplates a sea voyage.
A Martial Eagle, the largest in Africa, takes flight in the Serengeti.
A Secretary Bird quenches its thirst.
One of the less common but more beautiful starlings in Tanzania, a Ruppel’s Starling.
A Paradise Flycatcher takes a dip in the pool. This bird often returned to bathe at this spot.
On the floor of the Ngorongoro Crater, a female Ostrich sways as she preens.
Open-billed Storks scatter as a raptor passes by, almost imperceptibly, high overhead.
Marabou Storks are thought of as ugly… but not to me. My bird-o-philia even extends to bare-necked carrion eaters.
They often stand, sentinel like, keeping watch over the plains.
This kingfisher is a terrestrial bird. It hunts insects and lizards and can often be found far from water. I’ll look it up in my guidebook later.
Sand Grouse on the move as the impending short rains promise to break the dusty grip the dry season has held on the land.
Here is a Weaver Bird making a nest near Arusha, Tanzania. I might not identify (to species) some of the birds in these posts. This is because I haven’t looked them up yet… feel free to take it on as an ID quiz and post your answers in the comments. These images are from a series of trips I took to Tanzania over the past few years. I grew up in Dar es Salaam.
A Superb Starling keeps cool in the afternoon heat.
A Swallow resting near a hotel pool in the Serengeti.
The same Swallow with nesting material.
A Tawny Eagle perched on a ribcage snatched from a nearby lion kill.
A Von der Decken’s Hornbill brings a large grasshopper to waiting chicks.
This adorable bird is called a Thick-knee. There are several types of Thick Knee and this is one of them. And yes… its knees are thick.
These are White-faced Whistling Ducks at a hippo pool in Mikumi National Park.
At the eastern gate to the Serengeti there is a tree. It is the only tree for miles. I once found it full of birds that looked a bit like doves from a distance. Upon closer inspection it turned out they were all small falcons – kestrels. This was the lone White-eyed Kestrel in the bunch.
Sometimes you look out of your car window and find an African Wattled Plover keeping pace. More tomorrow…
A Martial Eagle in the northern Serengeti. Stay tuned for more Tanzanian birds starting tomorrow.