Alleghedi Plains, Ethiopia
24 January 2014
A journey across the Alleghedi Plains was very productive in terms of birds, not only in the variety of species but in the sheer numbers of some of them.
This Eastern Chanting Goshawk Melierax poliopterus was one of several sighted; always eliciting appreciative comments. Chanting Goshawks in general are among the most beautiful of raptors it seems to me, and one is always impressed by the elegance of their form.
This tree full of Ring-necked Doves Streptopelia capicola was not far away from the Eastern Chanting Goshawk, and since small game birds such as doves are known to form a significant part of this raptor's diet, I wondered whether it was waiting for an opportunity to strike.
Helmeted Guineafowl Numida meleagris were quite common and small coveys were frequently seen ambling across the grassland.
Nile Valley Sunbird Hedydipna metallica is quite range-restricted and this was the only area where, and the only day when, we saw this beautiful species. It took us a while to find our first bird, after that we succeeded in seeing several.
This was also our only location for Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse Pterocles exustus, but it was quick to fly off and I was only able to get this picture from behind.
Although I have covered Northern Carmine Bee-eater Merops nubicus in a previous post, this gorgeous species deserves another mention, especially as it rests here in a tree filled with Barn Swallows Hirundo rustica.
We found this stick insect and although I have no idea what it is called (if anyone knows please let me know), but it seems incredible to me that all of its brain functions could be contained in so fragile a body. There is hardly any mass to it at all.
White-bellied Bustard Eupodotis senegalensis was hardly common, and was able to conceal itself in the grass very successfully but we did manage to see a few of them.
Abyssinian Roller Coracius abyssinicus, stunningly beautiful, was fairly common, but always appreciated.
The odd-looking Senegal Thick-knee Burhinus senegalensis was generally found in close proximity to water, but its cryptic colouration often made it hard to spot.