Friday, 25 April 2014

Alleghedi Plains, Ethiopia

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.


  1. Strangely enough for me who is a birder and not much else, I found the stick insect to be rather compelling. As you suggest, nature in all its forms is just incredible and amazing.

    Your Nile Valley Sunbird is so colourful. The only one I've ever seen was a rather washed out individual, and (strangely enough) close to the Nile in northern Egypt.

    Enough of this African memorabilia, I must get to Pilling. By the way our curry was delicious and had you been a little closer would have invited you for a sample and a bottle of Kingfisher.

  2. Beautiful pictures, David.
    Photo 4 and 10 are my favorite.
    Greetings Irma

  3. I really enjoyed this beautifully illustrated post, David. MT favourite image here is the Roller, closely followed by the one of the Guineafowl (which look quite comical to me).

    I used to breed stick insects as a hobby once, but it was many years ago and there are so many species that I couldn't begin to suggest a specific one.

    Best wishes - - Richard

  4. Wonderful to see what it is that walking stick nicely.

    Groetjes Tinie

  5. what a treat to see that vibrant Sunbird - and the Carmine Bee-eater too! All your birds a new to me and great to see via your post David.

  6. Hi David!
    WOW, the sunbird and the sandgrouses really caught my attention, so did the goshawk!
    I can nearly imagine myself beeing part of the trip, your pics relay so well the ambiance!
    The stick insect is phasmid, you can see photos here, if it helps:
    Phasme brindille
    They be light brown or green just like the prey mantis.
    Congratulations on this series!
    Keep well

    1. Hi Noushka: Thanks so much for the information on the stick insect.

  7. A blog full of unusual birds but also the walking stick I find very cool to see :-) What have you seen so beautiful birds. The colors are so pretty! This really enjoy.

  8. Wonderful photos, David! Stick insect is so cute :-).

  9. Que de couleurs ! j'aime beaucoup la photo si réussie de l'oiseau jaune et noir .