SHELL G]IPE TO EAST AFRICAN BIRDS
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SH ELL GUIDE TO EAST AFRICAN BI RDS
0 to 175 miles per hour within seconds: this is the incredible rate of acceleration of the Lanner Falcon (illustrated
on front cover). The Lanner Falcon. a close relative of the better known Peregrine, achieves speeds of up to 175 miles per
hour when swooping on to its quarry. This fantastic speed is made possible by the bird half closing its wings while diving
at a steep angle, and the kill is made by striking its prey with the hind talon. (Austin. in his authoritative work "Birds of
the World", made exhaustive tests to ratify this speed, and we may be certain that it is as accurate as it is possible to be).
Car owners, and especially racing motorists, might well wish that a comparable rate of acceleration were possible for
them--but by using Supershell with ICA they can be sure of obtaining the maximum potential from their engines at all
times. High octane Supershell makes for quicker acceleration, as well as giving you peak power in every gear and more
miles to the gallon. (The reason for this is that Supershell with ICA. the product of many years of research by Shell scien-
tists, is the most advanced motor fuel available). So give your car a chance to show how quick it can get off the mark by
filling up with Supershell today.
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SHELL GUIDE TO EAST AFRICAN BIRDS
FOREWORD by Peter Scott
EAST AFRICA is famous the world over for its fabulous wildlife. Nowhere else on earth can such spectacular
communities of wild animals be seen together. This is particularly true of the large mammals-the pachy-
derms, the carnivores, the ungulates. But the birds are scarcely less remarkable.
The rich variety of species and the great beauty of so many of them stirs the imagination. Consider
the astonishing range from the Ostrich to the tiny, glittering Sunbirds and the glorious Bee-eaters, from
the grotesque Ground Hornbills to the exquisite little Pygmy Geese, from the Crested Cranes and Pelicans,
Marabous and Vultures to the fascinating Honey-guides and the migratory Warblers and Swallows
On the Rift Valley lakes the concentrations of Lesser Flamingos make what is probably the most
striking ornithological spectacle in the world, and the sight of a million or more crowded together in a
great shimmering pink mass is never-to-be-forgotten. Lake Nakuru in Kenya became a National Park
for the sake of its Flamingos, the first National Park to be set up in Africa primarily for birds.
It is hardly possible to overestimate the importance of its wildlife to the Africa of the future; in its
preservation for generations to come plans for the bird life are no less important than plans for lions and
elephants and rhinos and giraffes. To be in favour of such preservation and to understand its necessity
one must get to know the birds, and in getting to know them is a whole range of interest and enjoyment.
The Shell companies in East Africa are to be congratulated on their many contributions to the stimu-
lation of interest in the wildlife of this country-and in particular for the production of booklets such as
the "Shell Guide to East African Birds", which can be of so much assistance to the motorist as a quick
reference to the wildlife around him.
FRESH-WATER LAKES AND SWAMPS in East Africa are among the Territories' most accessible and
richest bird haunts. Among the most outstanding lakes are Naivasha in Kenya's Rift Valley
Province, Kyoga in Uganda-one of the few haunts of the fabulous Whale-headed Stork-and
Lake Rukwa in southern Tanganyika.
At Lake Naivasha, fifty miles from Nairobi on a good tarmac road, over one hundred and
twenty species of birds have been recorded in a single day. Included in this number is that most
beautiful of water-fowl, the Pygmy Goose (Nettapus auritus) (1). Water-lily buds form an impor-
tant item of its diet. Another water-lily bud eater is the brightly plumaged Purple Gallinule
(Porphyrio porphyrio) (2), with heavy pink legs. The two kingfishers, the Pied Kingfisher (Ceryle
rudis) (3) and the Malachite Kingfisher (Corythornis cristata) (4), have very different methods
of fishing. The larger Pied Kingfisher locates its prey by hovering above the water, while the
Malachite Kingfisher seeks its food from some vantage point. The Blacksmith Plover (Hoplopterus
armatus) (5) is a close relative of the Spur-winged Plover and like that species both sexes possess
sharp wing spurs. It acquired its name of "blacksmith" by its ringing metallic call.
One of the most remarkable storks in the world is the African Openbill Stork (Anastomus
lamelligerus) (6). Its bill is adapted specially for carrying the large fresh-water snails upon
which it feeds. Its black breast-feathers are of a curious structure, the feather-shafts being flatten-
ed, attenuated and glossy.
The African Skimmer (Rynchopsflavirostris) (7) has a unique bill which is flattened vertically
and which has the lower mandible an inch or so longer than the upper. It catches the fish fry
and other aquatic creatures by skimming along the surface of the water with its elongated lower
mandible below the surface.
The frog-eating Hammerkop (Scopus umbretta) (8) is widely
3a distributed on fresh water throughout Africa. It is remarkable
for the gigantic domed nest it builds in a tree, or on rocks, near
water. The mass of sticks and debris used in its construction weighs
S A three or even four cwts. and can withstand the weight of a man.
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Rivers and Riverine
KENYA'S TANA is typical of the slow-flowing rivers of Africa and their fringing margins of
luxuriant forest. Elephants and other large game animals inhabit the tranquillity of the green
belt and birds occur in abundance.
Among the many weaver-birds which live along the river is the brightly plumaged Golden
Weaver (Xanthophilus subaureus) (1). The tiny Smaller Black-bellied Sunbird (Nectarinia nec-
tarinioides) (2), smallest of the long-tailed sunbirds, feeds upon nectar and small spiders. In the
dense undergrowth of the river bank Peters' Twin-spot (Hypargos niveoguttatus) (3), a brightly
plumaged seed-eating waxbill, is not uncommon. The Water Thicknee or Dikkop (Burhinus
vermiculatus) (4) is a close relative of the European Thicknee. Though common it is often over-
looked by reason of its nocturnal habits. The African Lily-trotter or Jacana (Actophilornis
africanus) (5) is at home in the creeks and backwaters of slow-flowing rivers and on fresh-water
lakes. Its long toes enable it to walk over floating vegetation. Its nest is a half-submerged
platform of water-weeds.
The aquatic Peters' Finfoot (Podica senegalensis) (6) is related to the rails and crakes. It
favours slow-running rivers and streams with well-bushed banks. The Egyptian Goose (Alopochen
aegypticus) (7) is closer kin to the European Shelduck than to the true geese. It often lays its
eggs in disused eagles' nests. The Sacred Ibis (Threskiornis aethiopicus) (8), revered in ancient
Egypt, no longer exists in its former home, but is still common further south. In the Kenya
highlands it follows the plough-just as rooks and black-headed gulls do in England. The
Hadada Ibis (Hagedashia hagedash) (9) is the most vocal of its group and its loud, far-carrying
"ah, ah-ah ah ah" is a characteristic sound along our waterways. When night falls the drawn
out "Ko ko ko ko ko ko" of Verreaux's Eagle-Owl (Bubo lacteus)
(10) can be heard. During the daytime this giant owl sleeps in
some shady acacia. In the Giant Kingfisher (Megaceryle maxima)
r (11) the male has a white belly; the female a chestnut one.
10 Fresh-water crabs form its chief diet. The beautiful Lilac-breasted
"C Roller (Coracias caudata) (12) is widely distributed in East Africa
A- , and is most at home in the vicinity of trees and water.
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THE ALKALINE LAKES of the Rift Valley in East Africa, especially Lakes Nakuru, Magadi,
Natron and Manyara, are famous as the home of the largest population of flamingos in the world.
Concentrations of over three million birds can at times be seen, a fabulous spectacle which
draws bird-watchers to Kenya and Tanganyika from all quarters of the globe.
Two species of flamingos make up these great flocks, the larger Greater Flamingo
(Phoenicopterus ruber) (1) and the much commoner, smaller and redder Lesser Flamingo
(Phoeniconaias minor) (2). In addition to its size the Greater Flamingo differs in having a pale
pink bill with a black tip: the bill of the Lesser Flamingo is a uniform deep maroon red.
The Little Egret (Egretta garzetta) (3) may be distinguished from similar birds by the com-
bination of black legs and yellow toes and its mainly blackish bill. The Avocet (Recurvirostra
avosetta) (4) is a common resident on the Rift Valley alkaline lakes. During the winter months
its numbers are greatly augmented by migrants from Europe and western Asia. It is easily recognis-
ed by its black and white plumage and slender, up-turned bill.
The Chestnut-banded or Magadi Plover (Charadrius venustus) (5) is a very local bird found
in East Africa on Lakes Magadi, Natron and Manyara. It is smaller than the well-known European
Ringed Plover and has chestnut forehead and breast bands. The Cape Wigeon (Anas capensis)
(6) prefers brackish to fresh water. It may be recognized by its pale head-the related Red-
billed Duck has a blackish-brown cap-and its pink bill. The Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus
himantopus) (7) has remarkably long pink legs and cannot be mistaken for any other species of
water-bird. Like the Avocet, its numbers are greatly augmented from October to April by
northern migrants. The African Spoonbill (Platalea alba) (8) has a red face and legs. These
birds often hunt in small flocks, running along parallel to the shore
driving small fish and frogs into the shallows where they are more
The Yellow-billed Stork or Wood Ibis (Ibis ibis) (9) is one of
our most beautiful larger birds. A flock of freshly moulted adult
SWood Ibis, resplendent in their delicate pale crimson and virgin
Si white, is one of the glories of African bird-life.
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a V *
East African Coast
AS A BIRD-WATCHING PARADISE the East African coast has a character all of its own. its great
charm being the vast numbers of wading birds to be seen there. In the spring there is a fabulous
northwards migration of those sandpipers and plovers which breed in the Siberian Arctic.
It is not only the Palearctic migrants which excite attention at the coast. Two of the commonest
birds are the brilliant orange-plumaged Golden Palm Weaver (Ploceus bojeri) (1) and Layard's
Black-headed Weaver (Ploceus nigriceps) (2). The stolid-looking Mangrove Kingfisher (Halcyon
senegaloides) (3) inhabits mangrove swamps and open coastal bush. When fishing is poor off-
shore. the Sooty or Hemprich's Gull (Larus hemprichii) (4) may be seen in the mangrove swamps.
In this habitat it competes with the small Green-backed Heron (Butorides striatus) (5) which
forages in the pools around high-water mark.
The brilliant green and red Fischer's Turaco (Tauraco fischeri) (6) inhabits coastal forests
and sometimes visits dense belts of mangroves. The Great Sand Plover (Charadrius leschenaultii)
(7). which nests mainly in Central Asia. acquires its breeding dress during the second half of
April. It often associates with flocks of that remarkable wading bird, the Crab Plover (Dromas
ardeola) (8). During the breeding season the Crab Plover digs a five-foot tunnel into the sand, at
the end of which it lays its one or two large chalky-white eggs. Its nesting grounds are on the
coasts and islands along the Somaliland and Red Sea littorals. The northern breeding Greenshank
(Tringa nebularia) (9) is a common foreshore bird favouring shallow pools in old raised coral reefs.
The rare Madagascar Pratincole (Glareola ocularis) (10) is a non-breeding visitor to East Africa.
During August and September it may be seen on the sandy flats near Ngomeni, north of Malindi.
The Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus) (11) with its decurved bill and long blue-grey legs is smaller
than a curlew, from which it may be distinguished by the pale
streak down the centre of its crown. Mystery surrounds the
t ~breeding place of the Woolly-necked Storks (Dissoura episcopus)
(12) found along the Kenya coast, but it has been suggested that
2 they may nest in the great Garsen heronry on the Tana.
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NOWADAYS, ALAS, much of East Africa's rain forest has been reduced-exploited for human
needs. Only in one region does it persist in the full glory of its primeval, pristine state, the Great
Looking down over the Bwamba Forest and the Congo Forest from a Ruwenzori mountain
pass in western Uganda, the faint but clear guttural call of the finest of all our turacos, the
Great Blue Turaco (Corythaeola cristata) (1), can sometimes be heard, probably consorting
with the red-crested Ross's Turaco (Musophaga rossae) (2), feeding in some fruiting fig tree in
the heart of the forest. To study rain forest birds, locate a fruiting tree and observe what it is
visited by. The Splendid Glossy Starling (Lamprocolius splendidus) (3) flies in with a loud swish
of wings. The smaller Purple-headed Glossy Starling (Lamprocolius purpureiceps) (4) recalls the
birds of paradise-to which starlings are related-with its soft, velvety crown feathers.
The Green-breasted Pitta (Pitta reichenowi) (5) is a shy inhabitant of the forest floor, partial
to the thickest cover. Its best East African locality is the Budongo Forest in western Uganda.
The Yellow-spotted Barbet (Buccanodon duchaillui) (6) is common in the Kakamega Forest,
western Kenya. Its yellow spotted back and red forehead are conspicuous field characters. The
larger Double-toothed Barbet (Lybius bidentatus) (7) is widely distributed, found both in forest
and open savannah country. The Black-billed Turaco (Tauraco schuttii) (8) is not rare but is a
shy bird more often heard than seen. The Snowy-headed Robin Chat (Cossypha niveicapilla) (9),
a notable songster, is common at Entebbe, Uganda, and in the Kakamega Forest, Kenya.
The Superb Sunbird (Cinnyris superbus) (10) favours parasitic loranthus blossom but is more
easily seen when it visits banana flowers. The Red-headed Malimbe (Malimbus rubricollis) (11) is a
weaver-bird which feeds upon insects. It has many tit-like attri-
butes. The Black and White-casqued Hornbill (Bycanistes sub-
cylindricus) (12) is the commonest of the large pied hornbills.
Paired birds show much affection towards one another, rubbing
their bills together and running them through each other's
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THE FORESTED SLOPES of western Mt. Kenya, glorious'with mighty podocarpus and juniper
trees-the miscalled "Kenya cedar"-and seas of graceful waving bamboo, are the haunt of
many interesting birds. The Sirimon track north of Nanyuki passes through the best of this
type of forest.
Two of the green cuckoos are common in the Kenya mountain forests, the smallest of all,
Klaas' Cuckoo (Chrysococcyx klaas) (1), which parasitizes various kinds of sunbirds, and the
glittering Emerald Cuckoo (Chrysococcyx cupreus) (2) whose call, a distinct "hello Georgie",
is a common sound in the cathedral stillness of the big trees. It lays its eggs in the nests of paradise
flycatchers and bulbuls.
When the podocarpus trees are in fruit, look for Hartlaub's Turaco (Tauraco hartlaubi) (3)
and the Red-fronted Parrot (Poicephalus gulielmi) (4). The former builds a frail, dove-like stick
nest in which to lay its eggs: the parrot breeds in holes in half-dead juniper trees. In the shelter
of bamboo and other undergrowth below the podocarpus trees lives one of the finest of African
gamebirds, the red-legged Jackson's Francolin (Francolinus jacksoni) (5). Another inhabitant of
the undergrowth is the skulking Doherty's Bush Shrike (Telophorus dohertyi) (6).
Orange-flowered leonotis blossoms attract the high-forest sunbirds, among which is the
brilliant Tacazze Sunbird (Nectarinia tacazze) (7). Sunbirds feed on a mixed diet of nectar,
minute insects and spiders. Cinnamon-chested Bee-eaters (Melittophagus oreobates) (8) use leafless
branches as vantage points from which to fly out and catch their prey-butterflies, bees and
wasps. The White-headed Wood-Hoopoe (Phoeniculus bollei) (9) seeks its food, mainly beetle
larvae, from below the bark of dead branches. Narina's Trogon (Apaloderma narina) (10) is often
overlooked, despite its bright colours, because of its habit of sitting
motionless. The Black-headed Oriole (Oriolus larvatus) (11) draws
r attention to itself by its liquid whistle. The mighty Crowned
10 Hawk-Eagle (Stephanoaetus coronatus) (12) occurs in forests
where there are monkeys, upon which it feeds. The immature
Sbird has white underparts except for the legs which are spotted
12 with black.
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THOSE WISHING TO SEE acacia woodland at its best can do so by visiting the famous Amboseli
Game Reserve, where a wealth of bird-life may be encountered.
One of the commonest birds and a species which attracts attention by its constant cooing-a
sound some humans find far from soothing-is the Ring-necked Dove (Streptopelia capicola)
(1), similar to the Mourning Dove, but having the outer webs of the outer tail feathers entirely
white. The Sulphur-breasted Bush Shrike (Chlorophoneus sulfureopectus) (2) searches the foliage
for insect larvae, alongside the Scarlet-chested Sunbird (Chalcomitra senegalensis) (3) whose
diet consists largely of spiders and nectar from flowers. The Green Wood-Hoopoe or Kakalaar
(Phoeniculus purpureus) (4) is a noisy bird with a loud chattering call. It is usually seen in small
parties exploring the crevices in dead branches and probing below the bark for beetle grubs.
The Nubian Woodpecker (Campethera nubica) (5) may be recognized by its spotted underparts
and undulating flight.
Several kinds of starlings inhabit acacia woodland including the long-tailed Ruppell's Glossy
Starling (Lamprotornis purpuropterus) (6), the Superb Starling (Spreo superbus) (7) and Hilde-
brandt's Starling (Spreo hildebrandti) (8). The Superb Starling has white under the wings and tail,
a white band across the breast and cream-coloured eyes. Hildebrandt's Starling has no white
and its eyes are orange-red. Flocks of Helmeted Guineafowl (Numida mitrata) (9) live below the
acacia trees and roost in the branches at night. A persistent bird call, "weet-ear, weet-ear",
reveals the presence of the Greater Honey-guide (Indicator indicator) (10), so called on account
of its unique association with man, leading honey-hunting Africans to the nests of wild bees.
Honey-guides are parasitic, laying their eggs in the nests of bee-eaters, woodpeckers and barbets.
The Gabar Goshawk (Micronisus gabar) (11) is the common
bird of prey in acacia woodlands. Its white rump is conspicuous
in flight. The Grey-headed Kingfisher (Halcyon leucocephala)
S(12) often occurs far from water and feeds chiefly upon grass-
hoppers and lizards. Its blue wings and tail are unbelievably
brilliant in sunlight.
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OPEN MIOMBO WOODLAND, brachystegia woodland to designate it botanically, has something
of the appearance of a European oak forest. The trees are evenly spaced and usually there is
but sparse undergrowth. Miombo woodland is an important bird habitat over large areas of
Tanganyika, and extends into Kenya as the sub-coastal Sokoke Forest.
The beautiful Southern Carmine Bee-eater (Merops nubicoides) (1) ranges into northern
Tanganyika, but in Kenya and northern Uganda it is replaced by the dark-throated Nubian
Carmine Bee-eater. The Chestnut-fronted Helmet-Shrike (Sigmodus scopifrons) (2) travels in small
parties, the birds calling to each other in a most curious way-by producing a loud nasal humming
accompanied by bill clicking. The Violet-crested Turaco (Gallirex porphyreolophus) (3) is
recognisable by its red wings, powder-grey back and violet-blue crest. The Coqui Francolin
(Francolinus coqui) (4) occurs in pairs. This is one of the African francolins in which the sexes
differ in plumage.
The short-tailed Groundscraper Thrush (Psophocichla litsipsirupa) (5) lives mainly on the ground.
It has the field appearance of an English Mistle Thrush. In East Africa, the Angola Rock Thrush
(Monticola angolensis) (6) is confined to Tanganyika. Despite its name it rarely settles on rocks.
The White-headed Black Chat (Thamnolaea arnotti) (7) breeds in shallow holes in trees: its
feather-lined nest contains three or four pale blue, rufous spotted eggs. The White-breasted
Cuckoo-Shrike (Coracina pectoralis) (8) inhabits the tree-tops, usually in pairs. It is often over-
looked. The Rufous-crowned Roller (Coracias naevia) (9) is a heavy-looking bird with a hooked bill.
It favours brachystegia and baobab trees. In flight its wings flash purple-blue. The uncommon
Racquet-tailed Roller (Coracias spatulata) (10) resembles a European Roller but has elongated,
racquet-ended outer tail feathers. The thickset Broad-billed
S Roller (Eurystomus glaucurus) (11) at dusk indulges in erratic,
wheeling flights over the trees.
The Drongo (Dicrurus adsimilis) (12) may be recognized by
its all-black plumage, forked "fish" tail and its habit of perching
S7 on some vantage point from which it flies out to capture passing
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Highland Bush and
THE OPEN GRASSLANDS, swampy hollows and patches of bush which exist on the plateaus below
the forest line of the Kenya highlands are the home of several spectacular birds. The uncultivated
sections of the South and North Kinangop are typical of this environment.
The orange-flowered leonotis bushes attract many sunbirds, of which the green, yellow-
tufted Malachite Sunbird (Nectariniafamosa) (1) and that metallic gem the Golden-winged Sun-
bird (Drepanorhynchus reichenowi) (2) are always present. An abundance of small rodents attracts
many birds of prey to this habitat, among which is the Augur Buzzard (Buteo rufofuscus) (3). The
underparts of this hawk may be white, as illustrated, or completely black-the melanistic
phase. Young birds have a black and brown barred tail and streaked underparts. The
Red-naped Widow-bird (Coliuspasser ardens) (4) varies in plumage in different parts of its
range. In some localities, for example in western Uganda, the males are entirely black.
The Yellow-crowned Canary (Serinus flavivertex) (5) and the Red-capped Lark (Calandrella cinerea)
(6) are good friends to the farmer: both feed largely upon weed seeds.
Jackson's Widow-bird (Drepanoplectes jacksoni) (7) has a thick, decurved tail. Prior to
mating the males construct circular dancing rings in the grass. They display on these by leaping
upwards, descending again in a curious lax manner-just like a handful of black rag thrown into the
air. The sooty-black Anteater Chat (Myrmecocichla aethiops) (8) shows its whitish wing patch
only in flight. The Long-tailed Widow-bird (Coliuspasser progne) (9) is one of the most exciting
birds. During display the male flies around his territory with a curious slow-motion wingbeat
with tail puffed out. The East African Crowned Crane (Balearica regulorum) (10) also has a
dancing display in the mating season. The birds congregate in flocks on open ground, where
they indulge in a great deal of wing flapping and jumping about.
The Dark-capped Bulbul (Pycnonotus tricolor) (11) and the
12 Fiscal Shrike (Lanius collaris) (12) are two of our commonest
and most familiar birds. The bulbul's best field character is its
yellow under-tail coverts, while the Fiscal Shrike's field mark
is the white V on its back.
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THE ARID THORNBUSH COUNTRY of Kenya, Uganda and northern Tanganyika would seem at
first sight an unlikely bird habitat. Yet it is here that one encounters the greatest abundance of
birds to be found in eastern Africa. To give an indication of the richness of the avifauna, it is
not difficult to observe over two hundred species of birds in a single day.
Hornbills are well represented in this type of country and among the commonest is the
Red-billed Hornbill (Tockus erythrorhynchus) (1). The Blue-naped Mousebird (Colius macrourus)
(2) is greyer than the commoner Speckled Mousebird and has a longer, thinner tail.
The Golden-breasted Starling (Cosmopsarus regius) (3) must be ranked among the most
beautiful birds in the world. The best localities in which to find it are the Tsavo National Park
and north of the Tana River. The Red and Yellow Barbet (Trachyphonus erythrocephalus) (4)
is often seen perched on termite hills, in which it nests. The Black-faced Sandgrouse (Eremialector
decoratus) (5) is less gregarious than others of its kind and is usually found in pairs. The
Buff-crested Bustard (Lophotis ruficrista) (6) rests in the shade of some bush during the heat
of the day. The Yellow-necked Spurfowl (Pternistis leucoscepus) (7) is easily recognized by its bare
yellow and red throat. The Chestnut-bellied Sand-grouse (Pterocles exustus) (8) has long,
attenuated central tail feathers. It arrives to drink at desert water-holes in the early morning.
The Vulturine Guineafowl (Acryllium vulturinum) (9) is so named because of its small head
and heavy bill. It occurs in flocks, sometimes of fifty or more birds. The common Melba Finch
(Pytilia melba) (10) is often overlooked because of its habit of skulking in undergrowth. The
Blue-headed Cordon-bleu (Uraeginthus cyanocephalus) (11) lacks the red cheek patches of its
commoner relative. The Paradise Whydah (Steganura paradisaea) (12) is parasitic, laying its eggs
in Melba Finch nests. The White-bellied Go-away-bird
(Corythaixoides leucogaster) (13) produces its rude-sounding call
S12 from the cover of a thorn tree. The Straw-tailed Whydah (Vidua
fischeri) (14) is also parasitic, laying its eggs in Cut-throats' nests.
1 A familiar sight in the sky over any semi-desert locality is a
Bateleur Eagle (Terathopius ecaudatus) (15), instantly recognisable
by its extremely short tail.
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OPEN PLAINS COUNTRY-African big game country-is the habitat chosen by many of our
most majestic birds, including the Ostrich (Struthio camelus) (1), largest of all living birds. In
the Masai race of ostrich the male has the neck and thighs bright pink during the mating season:
in the more northern Somali race the male's neck and thighs are blue-grey.
The Secretary Bird (Sagittarius serpentarius) (2) stalks across the grasslands searching for
its prey-reptiles, including snakes, rodents and grasshoppers. The Red-naped Lark (Mirafra
africana) (3) in flight shows much rufous in its rounded wings, and this is its best field character.
The tiny Quail Finch (Ortygospiza atricollis) (4) visits water-holes in pairs or family parties:
when flushed the birds fly high into the sky. The Yellow-throated Longclaw (Macronyx croceus)
(5) is a colourful member of the pipit family, found in pairs.
The mighty Kori Bustard (Ardeotis kori) (6) has a remarkable display in which the feathers
appear to be turned inside-out! The Ground Hornbill (Bucorvus leadbeateri) (7) at first sight is
grotesque-looking with its sombre plumage and red throat wattle, but at close quarters it has
eyelashes the envy of any Hollywood film star! The Marabou Stork (Leptoptilos crumeniferus) (8)
is a scavenger, consorting with vultures and other carrion-eating birds. The White-backed
Vulture (Pseudogyps africanus) (9) is the commonest East African vulture. It is uniformly
coloured and the white rump is seen only when the bird is flying. Young birds have dark rumps.
Ruppell's Griffon Vulture (Gyps ruppellii) (10) has a dark rump at all ages and pale tips to the
feathers imparting a spotted appearance.
The Lappet-faced Vulture (Torgos tracheliotus) (11) is the largest African species with a wing-span
of nine feet and a weight of between eleven and fourteen pounds. The White-headed Vulture
(Trigonoceps occipitalis) (12) is easily recognized in flight overhead
by its white secondaries patch in the wings; immature birds do
not possess this white patch and are best identified by their black
chests and contrasting white bellies. This vulture, the most
handsome of his tribe, is not always dependent on carrion for
S12 o q4 10 A food, but sometimes hunts and kills game birds and hares.
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and Inland Cliffs
THE SIRIMON TRACK up Mt. Kenya-easy going with a four-wheel-drive vehicle using Shell
petrol-after passing through the forested foothills and the bamboo zone eventually brings the
traveller to a fairyland. East Africa's alpine moorlands and storm-eroded cliff-faces are just
that. The brilliance of the visibility, the unusual vegetation-flowering protea bushes, tree
groundsels, giant lobelias and tree heaths-and a background of grey rock covered with gaudy
lichens convey an air of terrestrial unreality.
Attracted to the giant lobelias for nectar and insects is the high altitude Scarlet-tufted
Malachite Sunbird (Nectarinia johnstoni) (1), at home at over fourteen thousand feet. It is an
unforgettable experience at these high altitudes to see comparatively frail-looking, long tailed
birds splashing about in recently thawed ice water amid vegetation still white with hoar frost.
Often associated with the sunbird at these heights is the Slender-billed Starling (Onychognathus)
tenuirostris) (2) which also visits the giant lobelia spikes, mainly in search of small snails.
The Streaky Seed-Eater (Serinus striolatus) (3) is common and at home in the alpine zone as
it is in gardens at lower levels. The Mountain Chat (Pinarochroa sordida) (4) exhibits a complete
fearlessness of man. Apart from its colour pattern, the Mountain Chat is strongly reminiscent
of an English Robin, with much the general appearance of that bird. The white-shouldered Cliff
Chat (Thamnolaea cinnamomeiventris) (5) is a much shyer species, living among scree and the
jumble of rocks at the base of cliffs.
The White-necked Raven (Corvus albicollis) (6) is larger than the related Pied Crow and
differs from that bird in having the underparts black. The crow has a white belly. Mackinder's
Eagle-Owl (Bubo capensis) (7) spends the day in caves in the cliffs, emerging at dusk to
catch the large voles which swarm in the alpine meadows and
which even the leopard does not disdain as food. The black
8 Verreaux's Eagle (Aquila verreauxi) (8) prefers a diet of hyrax,
which also abound above the meadows. The Lanner Falcon (Falco
Sbiarmicus) (9) sometimes nests on mountain cliffs, at times
7 alongside a colony of the large Mottled Swift (Apus aequatorialis)
6 (10) to which it pays no heed.
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NUMBER ONE-Fresh-water Lakes
African Openbill Stork
NUMBER TWO-Rivers and Riverine
Smaller Black-bellied Sunbird
Water Thicknee or Dikkop
African Lily-trotter or Jacana
NUMBER THREE-Alkaline Lakes
Chestnut-banded or Magadi Plover
Yellow-billed Stork or Wood Ibis
NUMBER FOUR-East African Coast
Golden Palm Weaver
Layard's Black-headed Weaver
Hemprich's Gull or Sooty Gull
Great Sand Plover
NUMBER FIVE-Rain Forest
Great Blue Turaco
Splendid Glossy Starling
Purple-headed Glossy Starling
Snowy-headed Robin Chat
Black and White-casqued Hornbill
NUMBER SIX-Highland Forest
Doherty's Bush Shrike
NUMBER SEVEN-Acacia Woodland
Sulphur-breasted Bush Shrike
Green Wood-Hoopoe or Kakalaar
Ruppell's Glossy Starling
NUMBER EIGHT-Miombo Woodland
Southern Carmine Bee-eater
Angola Rock Thrush
White-headed Black Chat
NUMBER NINE-Highland Bush and
East African Crowned Crane
NUMBER TEN-Semi-desert Bush
Red and Yellow Barbet
NUMBER ELEVEN-Open Plains
Ruppell's Griffon Vulture
NUMBER TWELVE-Mountains and
Scarlet-tufted Malachite Sunbird
Birds travel by instinct...
..... but motorists need the reliable
guidance of the SHELL ROAD MAP
Available from all leading bookshops and at Shell
Service Stations. Price Shs. 2/50
600 miles on two ounces of food! The Ruwenzori Alpine Swift (illustrated on back cover) does this regularly.
It nests in the high peaks of the Ruwenzori Mountains in West Uganda, but ranges far and wide during the day at a flying
speed of more than seventy miles per hour. The Alpine Swift knows instinctively what is the best food to sustain it on its
long, fast journeys, sometimes even spending the night on the wing-so with the modern motorist who wishes to get the
best out of his car. Supershell with ICA gives him more miles to the gallon, increases his acceleration and ensures maximum
power at all times. Supershell with ICA has been developed by Shell research scientists as the finest and most economical
fuel for all types of petrol engine. Fill up with Supershell and give your car the opportunity to show you how good it is!
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Acknowledgments to J. G. Williams. Curator of Ornithology at the Cor.ndon Museum, Nairobi. Kenya. Designed and illustrated by Rena M. Fennessy