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Field Guides Tour Report
East Africa Highlights: Kenya & Tanzania 2020
Mar 7, 2020 to Mar 27, 2020
Terry Stevenson

Although our trip was cut short, we still had some marvelous encounters with African wildlife. These Hippos at Ngorongoro grazed out in the open in front of a varied group of waterfowl that included egrets, flamingos, and ducks. Photo by guide Terry Stevenson.

In almost 40 years of leading bird-watching tours, never have I experienced one quite like this – going perfectly, with so many great birds and mammals, and then suddenly cut short – just like that – when Kenya's President Kenyatta announced that due to coronavirus he was closing Kenya's borders! I must say it was a bit of a scramble as we made an eight-hour drive to Kilimanjaro International Airport and then a charter flight to Nairobi, where we managed to get everyone on flights home and back to their families and friends.

So although we only had one week of birding, what a great week it was - and lots of fabulous mammals, too! Starting in Nairobi National Park we drove across the grassy plains seeing our first Common Ostrich, Helmeted Guineafowl, Yellow-necked Francolin, Rufous-naped Lark, Stout Cisticola, a migrant Whinchat, and the endemic Jackson's Widowbird. At two small wetlands we enjoyed Gray Crowned-Crane, Spur-winged Lapwing, Saddle-billed and Yellow-billed storks, African Darter, Hamerkop, Sacred Ibis, and African Spoonbill. While in the bush country, highlights were White-bellied Go-away-bird, Speckled Mousebird, Northern Pied-Babbler, Superb Starling, and Variable Sunbird. Overhead were Augur Buzzards, hovering Black-winged Kites, and soaring White-backed Vultures. Africa's famed big game was also very much in evidence as we enjoyed Common Giraffe, a herd of about 150 African Buffalo, Bushbuck, Bohor Reedbuck, Hartebeest, and Impala. Perhaps most impressive, though, were a mother and her young Black Rhino, one of Africa's most endangered big mammals.

The following day found us on the 45-minute flight to Kilimanjaro International with fine views of the mountain as we came in to land. We then drove to the Crater Highlands for a one night stay at the delightful Gibb's Farm. Set in beautiful gardens at the edge of a magnificent area of highland forest this was a great way to start our Tanzanian birding. Highlights included Tambourine Dove, Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater, Cardinal and Bearded woodpeckers, Gray Cuckooshrike, Chinspot Batis, African Paradise-flycatcher, White-tailed Blue-flycatcher, Brown-headed Apalis, Gray-capped Warbler, Eastern Mountain and Gray-olive greenbuls, White-browed Robin-Chat, Eastern Double-collared Sunbird, and Grosbeak Weaver. We finished our birding here with great views of a roosting Eurasian Nightjar - truly amazing spotting by our local guide!

From Gibb's, it's only a short drive to Ngorongoro Serena Lodge, perched on the rim with stunning views of the crater below. This was our base for two nights, allowing for a full day within the crater itself, and what a day this turned out to be. Both Black-backed and Common jackals showed nicely – sometimes walking right beside our Landcruiser, Lions and Spotted Hyaena took a while to find, but eventually we found three of each, some huge bull Elephants put on quite a show, as did hippos, some walking around right in the open. We also enjoyed our first close encounter with herds as we drove between scattered herds of zebra, wildebeest, and Thomson's Gazelle - the spectacular wall of the crater ever-present in the background. Birding highlights were at the main crater lake, where we saw flocks of both Greater and Lesser flamingos, and a variety of ducks, herons, ibis, pelicans and shorebirds. Grassland favorites were Abdim's and White storks, Secretarybird, Lilac-breasted Roller, the endemic Hildebrandt's Starling and Rufous-tailed Weaver, and a striking male Rosy-throated Longclaw. A magnificent perched adult Martial Eagle was pretty impressive too!

The final part of our tour was in the world famous Serengeti National Park, with two nights in the Serena area and one at Ndutu. We stopped along the way at Oldupai Gorge (formerly called Olduvai), where a local guide explained about this fascinating area made famous as The Cradle of Mankind when the Leakeys started unearthing their archaeological wonders in the 1950's.

The Serengeti is always a wonderful place to visit, be it in either the wet or dry season. This year exceptional rains meant many miles had high grass, but the beauty of staying in two different lodges gave us access to the Ndutu short-grass plains which many animals favor. Just some of the group favorites during our time here were Gray-breasted and Coqui francolins, Bare-faced Go-away-bird, Great Spotted Cuckoo, a rarely seen migrant Corn Crake, Great Painted-snipe, Double-banded Courser, squabbling White-backed, Rueppell's and Lappet-faced vultures at a kill, Bateleur crossing the open skies, Pearl-spotted Owlet, Von der Decken's and Tanzanian Red-billed hornbills, Striped Kingfisher, Pygmy Falcon, Fischer's Lovebird, Magpie Shrike, Red-throated Tit, Red-billed and Yellow-billed oxpeckers, Beautiful Sunbird, Blue-capped Cordonbleu, and the gorgeous Purple Grenadier. However, for many visitors the Serengeti highlight is the mammals, and as always we had a fabulous time as we drove the winding tracks finding groups of Banded and Eastern Dwarf mongoose, more Spotted Hyaena, Lions, including large maned males, females and cubs, a rare Serval (Cat), a mother Cheetah and two youngsters eating a freshly killed Grant's Gazelle, several herds of elephant, topi, and warthog. Perhaps most impressive though was just being out there, slowly driving through the herds of zebra, buffalo, wildebeest, Impala, and Grant's Gazelles - the expanse of Serengeti grassland all around!

It turned out to be a shortened version of our usual tour, but nonetheless the experience of a lifetime.

Take care everyone!


One of the following keys may be shown in brackets for individual species as appropriate: * = heard only, I = introduced, E = endemic, N = nesting, a = austral migrant, b = boreal migrant

Our day at Ngorongoro began with a lovely dawn. Photo by participant Juergen Schrenk.

Struthionidae (Ostriches)
COMMON OSTRICH (Struthio camelus massaicus) – First seen in Nairobi NP (10), and then in the Ngorongoro-Serengeti area where we saw a total of about 130.
Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)
FULVOUS WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna bicolor) – Five in one of the flooded areas in Ngorongoro Crater.
KNOB-BILLED DUCK (Sarkidiornis melanotos) – We saw a single male in a flooded grassy area on the way to Oldupai Gorge.
EGYPTIAN GOOSE (Alopochen aegyptiaca) – Common and widespread at almost all wetlands.
SPUR-WINGED GOOSE (Plectropterus gambensis) – Ten in Ngorongoro Crater.
HOTTENTOT TEAL (Spatula hottentota) – Six in Ngorongoro Crater, and 2 in the Seronera area of the Serengeti.
CAPE TEAL (Anas capensis) – Five (a little distantly in Ngorongoro Crater) and then nice looks at 2 in the Serengeti.
RED-BILLED DUCK (Anas erythrorhyncha) – Four in Ngorongoro Crater, and 1 in the Serengeti.
Numididae (Guineafowl)
HELMETED GUINEAFOWL (Numida meleagris) – Common and widespread in a variety of grassland and bush country; in all we saw about 280.
Phasianidae (Pheasants, Grouse, and Allies)
HILDEBRANDT'S FRANCOLIN (Pternistis hildebrandti) – Nice looks near at 7 in the Ngorongoro Crater area.
YELLOW-NECKED FRANCOLIN (Pternistis leucoscepus) – About 20 in Nairobi NP included several young.
GRAY-BREASTED FRANCOLIN (Pternistis rufopictus) – Super looks at about 20 of these endemic francolins in the Serena to Ndutu area of Serengeti. [E]
CRESTED FRANCOLIN (Dendroperdix sephaena) – Two near Seronera.
COQUI FRANCOLIN (Peliperdix coqui) – Nice close looks at a pair on the way to Ndutu.
Phoenicopteridae (Flamingos)
GREATER FLAMINGO (Phoenicopterus roseus) – About 2000 were on the main lake in Ngorongoro Crater.
LESSER FLAMINGO (Phoeniconaias minor) – About 250 in Ngorongoro Crater.
Podicipedidae (Grebes)
LITTLE GREBE (Tachybaptus ruficollis) – Two on a small seasonal pool at Ngorongoro.

Participant Juergen Schrenk got this shot of an African Sacred Ibis and a Little Egret that seem to be racing each other.

Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) – About 20 at Arusha, and 10 at Karatu.
SPECKLED PIGEON (Columba guinea) – Small numbers, especially around villages and our lodges; in all we saw about 44.
DUSKY TURTLE-DOVE (Streptopelia lugens) – About 30 along the rim of Ngorongoro Crater.
MOURNING COLLARED-DOVE (Streptopelia decipiens) – One at Naabi Hill, and 6 at Ndutu.
RING-NECKED DOVE (Streptopelia capicola) – Very common and widespread.
EMERALD-SPOTTED WOOD-DOVE (Turtur chalcospilos) – Two near Seronera Lodge in the Serengeti.
TAMBOURINE DOVE (Turtur tympanistria) – Nice looks at a female in the forest above Gibb's Farm.
Otididae (Bustards)
KORI BUSTARD (Ardeotis kori) – We saw at least 20 of these huge bustards in the Ngorongoro-Serengeti area.
WHITE-BELLIED BUSTARD (Eupodotis senegalensis) – One along a track in the Serengeti.
BLACK-BELLIED BUSTARD (Lissotis melanogaster) – We saw a single male skulking in the grass in the Serengeti.
Musophagidae (Turacos)
SCHALOW'S TURACO (Tauraco schalowi) – Nice looks for some of the group in the car park at our lodge on the rim of Ngorongoro Crater.
BARE-FACED GO-AWAY-BIRD (Corythaixoides personatus) – Common around Serengeti Serena Lodge.
WHITE-BELLIED GO-AWAY-BIRD (Corythaixoides leucogaster) – One in Nairobi NP.
Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
WHITE-BROWED COUCAL (Centropus superciliosus) – We saw a total of about 15 in the Ngorongoro-Serengeti area.
GREAT SPOTTED CUCKOO (Clamator glandarius) – One at Ngorongoro, and 4 in the Serengeti.
DIDERIC CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx caprius) – First seen near Oldupai Gorge, and then several more times in the Serengeti; in all we saw about 9.
Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)
EURASIAN NIGHTJAR (Caprimulgus europaeus) – Thanks to the local guides we had fabulous looks at one roosting in the forest above Gibb's Farm.

In the Crater Highlands of Ngorongoro we visited a Masai village, where we were greeted by the chief. Photo by guide Terry Stevenson.

Apodidae (Swifts)
LITTLE SWIFT (Apus affinis) – Fairly common around buildings and rocky hills; in all we saw about 60.
WHITE-RUMPED SWIFT (Apus caffer) – We saw a total of about 70 in the Ngorongoro-Serengeti area.
AFRICAN PALM-SWIFT (Cypsiurus parvus) – Eight at Nairobi NP, and 2 near Ndutu.
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
CORN CRAKE (Crex crex) – Good looks at one in flight in the Seronera area of Serengeti.
RED-KNOBBED COOT (Fulica cristata) – Six in Ngorongoro Crater.
BLACK CRAKE (Zapornia flavirostra) – Good looks at 2 singles along a stream bed in the Serengeti.
Gruidae (Cranes)
GRAY CROWNED-CRANE (Balearica regulorum) – Four distantly in Nairobi NP, and then wonderful close looks at about a dozen in Ngorongoro Crater and on the Serengeti plains.
Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)
BLACK-WINGED STILT (Himantopus himantopus) – Widespread at a variety of wetlands; in all we saw about 60.
PIED AVOCET (Recurvirostra avosetta) – Nice looks at about 30 of these striking birds at Ngorongoro Crater.
Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)
BLACKSMITH LAPWING (Vanellus armatus) – Common and widespread; in total we saw about 120.
SPUR-WINGED LAPWING (Vanellus spinosus) – Two in Nairobi NP.
CROWNED LAPWING (Vanellus coronatus) – A total of about 65 in the Ngorongoro-Serengeti grasslands.
THREE-BANDED PLOVER (Charadrius tricollaris) – Singles at Nairobi, Ngorongoro, and Serengeti.
Rostratulidae (Painted-Snipes)
GREATER PAINTED-SNIPE (Rostratula benghalensis) – We saw a single male during our drive to Ndutu.
Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)
RUFF (Calidris pugnax) – At least 100 in Ngorongoro Crater, and about 15 in the Serengeti.
COMMON SANDPIPER (Actitis hypoleucos) – One in Nairobi NP.
COMMON GREENSHANK (Tringa nebularia) – Six in Ngorongoro Crater, and 1 near Seronera.

These are just a few of the massive herds of Blue Wildebeest that we saw. Photo by participant Juergen Schrenk.

MARSH SANDPIPER (Tringa stagnatilis) – Nice close looks at 5 in Ngorongoro Crater.
WOOD SANDPIPER (Tringa glareola) – Small numbers at Nairobi, Ngorongoro, and Serengeti.
Glareolidae (Pratincoles and Coursers)
DOUBLE-BANDED COURSER (Smutsornis africanus) – One near Seronera, and then about a dozen close together on the way to Ndutu.
Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)
GRAY-HOODED GULL (Chroicocephalus cirrocephalus) – One in Ngorongoro Crater.
WHISKERED TERN (Chlidonias hybrida) – About 50 in Ngorongoro Crater included some in breeding plumage.
Ciconiidae (Storks)
ABDIM'S STORK (Ciconia abdimii) – About 80 in the Arusha area, 100+ in Ngorongoro Crater, and 300+ in the Serengeti.
WHITE STORK (Ciconia ciconia) – Three in the farmlands on the way to Gibb's Farm, and about 75 in the Serengeti.
SADDLE-BILLED STORK (Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis) – One in Nairobi NP.
MARABOU STORK (Leptoptilos crumenifer) – Fairly common and widespread; in all we saw about 95.
YELLOW-BILLED STORK (Mycteria ibis) – One in Nairobi NP, about 250 near Lake Manyara, and 20+ in the Serengeti.
Anhingidae (Anhingas)
AFRICAN DARTER (Anhinga rufa rufa) – One in Nairobi NP.
Pelecanidae (Pelicans)
GREAT WHITE PELICAN (Pelecanus onocrotalus) – About a dozen in Ngorongoro Crater.
PINK-BACKED PELICAN (Pelecanus rufescens) – Twenty (including some on nests) near Lake Manyara.
Scopidae (Hamerkop)
HAMERKOP (Scopus umbretta) – One in Nairobi NP, and 6 along the way to Gibb's Farm.
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
GRAY HERON (Ardea cinerea) – Two in Nairobi NP, and 4 in Ngorongoro Crater.
BLACK-HEADED HERON (Ardea melanocephala) – Common and widespread; in all we saw about 55.
LITTLE EGRET (Egretta garzetta) – Ten in Ngorongoro Crater.

The recent rains brought out an abundance of flowers, including these small white ones known locally as takataka flowers. In the background on the lake are a few flamingos and ducks. Photo by participant Juergen Schrenk.

CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis) – Common and widespread.
STRIATED HERON (Butorides striata) – Two singles along streams in the Serengeti.
BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nycticorax nycticorax) – Two in Nairobi NP.
Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)
GLOSSY IBIS (Plegadis falcinellus) – Nine in Ngorongoro Crater.
AFRICAN SACRED IBIS (Threskiornis aethiopicus) – Common and widespread; in all we saw about 380.
HADADA IBIS (Bostrychia hagedash) – Common in high country, like around Nairobi and Arusha.
AFRICAN SPOONBILL (Platalea alba) – One in Nairobi NP, and 3 in Ngorongoro Crater.
Sagittariidae (Secretarybird)
SECRETARYBIRD (Sagittarius serpentarius) – Fabulous looks in Ngorongoro Crater, near Oldupai Gorge, and on the Serengeti plains.
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
BLACK-WINGED KITE (Elanus caeruleus) – We saw a total of 4 singles in Nairobi NP, and the Serengeti.
WHITE-HEADED VULTURE (Trigonoceps occipitalis) – Nice looks at 4 of these 'attractive' vultures in the Serengeti.
LAPPET-FACED VULTURE (Torgos tracheliotos) – Africa's largest vulture and now recognized as endangered, we saw 3 in the Serengeti.
WHITE-BACKED VULTURE (Gyps africanus) – The most numerous vulture we saw, with a total of about 320.
RUEPPELL'S GRIFFON (Gyps rueppelli) – We saw a total of about 200 in the Serengeti.
BATELEUR (Terathopius ecaudatus) – Beautiful in flight, we saw 8 of these gorgeous raptors in the Serengeti.
BLACK-CHESTED SNAKE-EAGLE (Circaetus pectoralis) – One adult in the Serengeti.
BROWN SNAKE-EAGLE (Circaetus cinereus) – Two singles in the Serengeti.
MARTIAL EAGLE (Polemaetus bellicosus) – We saw an adult in Ngorongoro Crater.

We got a fantastic view of this Lanner Falcon in the Serengeti. Photo by guide Terry Stevenson.

TAWNY EAGLE (Aquila rapax) – The most common large brown eagle with a total of 19.
DARK CHANTING-GOSHAWK (Melierax metabates) – We saw a single and then a pair in the Serengeti.
EASTERN CHANTING-GOSHAWK (Melierax poliopterus) – One in the lowlands on the way to Gibb's Farm.
GABAR GOSHAWK (Micronisus gabar) – A single melanistic bird was chasing doves at Ndutu Lodge.
PALLID HARRIER (Circus macrourus) – Two males and a female over the Serengeti grasslands.
MONTAGU'S HARRIER (Circus pygargus) – Two males in the Serengeti.
BLACK KITE (Milvus migrans) – About 10 at Nairobi, and 5 in the Ngorongoro area.
COMMON BUZZARD (STEPPE) (Buteo buteo vulpinus) – Singles at Gibb's Farm and over the Ngorongoro Crater.
AUGUR BUZZARD (Buteo augur) – Widespread in small numbers, in all we saw about 25.
Strigidae (Owls)
PEARL-SPOTTED OWLET (Glaucidium perlatum) – Good looks at 2 at Ndutu Lodge.
Coliidae (Mousebirds)
SPECKLED MOUSEBIRD (Colius striatus) – Fairly common and widespread, with a total of about 75.
BLUE-NAPED MOUSEBIRD (Urocolius macrourus) – Good looks at 1 in the Serengeti.
Upupidae (Hoopoes)
EURASIAN HOOPOE (AFRICAN) (Upupa epops africana) – One in the Serengeti.
Phoeniculidae (Woodhoopoes and Scimitarbills)
GREEN WOODHOOPOE (Phoeniculus purpureus) – Some of the group saw a single and then a small flock at Serengeti Serena Lodge.
ABYSSINIAN SCIMITARBILL (Rhinopomastus minor) – Two on the lower slopes of the Crater Highlands.
Bucerotidae (Hornbills)
AFRICAN GRAY HORNBILL (Lophoceros nasutus) – About 8 in the Serengeti, and especially in the Serena area.
VON DER DECKEN'S HORNBILL (Tockus deckeni) – One on the way to Gibb's Farm, and then about 20 in the wooded area around Serengeti Serena Lodge.

This Winding Cisticola was one of a few that we saw during the tour. Photo by participant Juergen Schrenk.

TANZANIAN RED-BILLED HORNBILL (Tockus ruahae) – We saw 2 of these hornbills (recently given species status) near the Serengeti Serena Lodge. [E]
Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)
STRIPED KINGFISHER (Halcyon chelicuti) – Two singles in the Serengeti.
Meropidae (Bee-eaters)
LITTLE BEE-EATER (Merops pusillus) – At least 5 in Ngorongoro Crater.
CINNAMON-CHESTED BEE-EATER (Merops oreobates) – Four in the forest above Gibb's Farm.
Coraciidae (Rollers)
EUROPEAN ROLLER (Coracias garrulus) – One in the Serengeti Seronera area.
LILAC-BREASTED ROLLER (Coracias caudatus) – We saw about 20 of these gorgeous birds in Ngorongoro and the Serengeti.
RUFOUS-CROWNED ROLLER (Coracias naevius) – One at the bottom of the Crater Highlands.
Lybiidae (African Barbets)
D'ARNAUD'S BARBET (USAMBIRO) (Trachyphonus darnaudii usambiro) – About 15 in the Serena to Seronera area of the Serengeti.
RED-FRONTED BARBET (Tricholaema diademata) – One near Oldupai Gorge, and 1 in the Serengeti.
Picidae (Woodpeckers)
CARDINAL WOODPECKER (Chloropicus fuscescens) – We saw a single male at Gibb's Farm.
BEARDED WOODPECKER (Chloropicus namaquus) – One in the Gibb's Farm herb garden for some of the group.
MOUNTAIN GRAY WOODPECKER (Chloropicus spodocephalus rhodeogaster) – One near Ndutu.
NUBIAN WOODPECKER (Campethera nubica) – One near Ndutu.
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
PYGMY FALCON (Polihierax semitorquatus) – Fabulous close looks at 2 single birds in the Serengeti.
LESSER KESTREL (Falco naumanni) – Six in the Serengeti.
EURASIAN KESTREL (Falco tinnunculus) – One of the resident race 'rufescens' at the bottom of the Crater Highlands, and then about 10 of the migratory nominate race in the Serengeti.
GREATER KESTREL (Falco rupicoloides) – At least 2 pairs along the main road through the Serengeti.

Burchell's Zebras were seen in the thousands at both Ngorongoro and the Serengeti. Photo by participant Juergen Schrenk.

GRAY KESTREL (Falco ardosiaceus) – One in the Serengeti.
LANNER FALCON (Falco biarmicus) – Super close looks at a bird which simply wouldn't fly away in the Serengeti.
Psittaculidae (Old World Parrots)
FISCHER'S LOVEBIRD (Agapornis fischeri) – About 50 in the Seronera and Ndutu areas of the Serengeti. [E]
Psittacidae (New World and African Parrots)
MEYER'S PARROT (Poicephalus meyeri) – Four in the Serengeti.
Calyptomenidae (African and Green Broadbills)
AFRICAN BROADBILL (Smithornis capensis) – Heard in forest undergrowth above Gibb's Farm. [*]
Campephagidae (Cuckooshrikes)
GRAY CUCKOOSHRIKE (Coracina caesia) – Three in the forest canopy above Gibb's Farm.
Platysteiridae (Wattle-eyes and Batises)
CHINSPOT BATIS (Batis molitor) – One at Gibb's Farm, 1 at Ngorongoro Crater, and 3 in the Serengeti.
Malaconotidae (Bushshrikes and Allies)
BRUBRU (Nilaus afer) – Three singles in the Serengeti.
BROWN-CROWNED TCHAGRA (Tchagra australis) – Two near the Seronera Serengeti NP headquarters.
TROPICAL BOUBOU (Laniarius major) – Frequently heard and about a dozen seen in the Gibb's Farm and Ngorongoro Serena Lodge areas.
BLACK-FRONTED BUSHSHRIKE (Telophorus nigrifrons) – Heard in the forest above Gibb's Farm. [*]
Dicruridae (Drongos)
FORK-TAILED DRONGO (Dicrurus adsimilis) – About 30 in the Serengeti.
Monarchidae (Monarch Flycatchers)
AFRICAN PARADISE-FLYCATCHER (Terpsiphone viridis) – We saw several really stunning males in the Gibb's Farm area.
Laniidae (Shrikes)
GRAY-BACKED FISCAL (Lanius excubitoroides) – About 25 in the wooded parts of the Serengeti.
LONG-TAILED FISCAL (Lanius cabanisi) – Four on the way to Gibb's Farm.
NORTHERN FISCAL (Lanius humeralis) – Common (along roadside wires) in the highlands.
MAGPIE SHRIKE (Corvinella melanoleuca) – We saw about 14 of these huge shrikes in the Serena area of the Serengeti.
WHITE-RUMPED SHRIKE (Eurocephalus ruppelli) – Very common (200+) in the Serengeti.
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)
CAPE CROW (Corvus capensis) – One by the Masai Village we stopped at in the Crater Highlands.
PIED CROW (Corvus albus) – About 20 in the Nairobi and Arusha areas.
Stenostiridae (Fairy Flycatchers)
WHITE-TAILED BLUE FLYCATCHER (Elminia albicauda) – Three at Gibb's Farm.
Paridae (Tits, Chickadees, and Titmice)
RED-THROATED TIT (Melaniparus fringillinus) – We saw 2 of these rather localized tits in the acacia bushes near Seronera. [E]
Remizidae (Penduline-Tits)
AFRICAN PENDULINE-TIT (BUFF-BELLIED) (Anthoscopus caroli sylviella) – Nice views of this quite uncommon bird at the bottom of the Crater Highlands.
Alaudidae (Larks)
FISCHER'S SPARROW-LARK (Eremopterix leucopareia) – One near Oldupai Gorge, and 'hundreds' on the Serengeti plains.
RUFOUS-NAPED LARK (Mirafra africana) – Very common all across the Serengeti grasslands.
FLAPPET LARK (Mirafra rufocinnamomea) – Three near Serengeti Serena Lodge.
RED-CAPPED LARK (Calandrella cinerea) – One in Ngorongoro Crater.
Cisticolidae (Cisticolas and Allies)
YELLOW-BELLIED EREMOMELA (Eremomela icteropygialis) – One at the bottom of the Crater Highlands.

Lions also showed extraordinarily well. This group was not concerned at all with our presence. Photo by guide Terry Stevenson.

GREEN-BACKED CAMAROPTERA (GRAY-BACKED) (Camaroptera brachyura brevicaudata) – The gray-backed race 'brevicaudata' was widespread in small numbers.
BUFF-BELLIED WARBLER (Phyllolais pulchella) – We encountered this tiny warbler on two or three occasions in the Ngorongoro-Serengeti acacia woodlands.
BROWN-HEADED APALIS (Apalis alticola) – Five in the forest above Gibb's Farm.
GRAY-CAPPED WARBLER (Eminia lepida) – Often shy, but we were lucky and had great views of about 3 at Gibb's Farm.
RED-FACED CISTICOLA (Cisticola erythrops) – Three near Gibb's Farm.
RATTLING CISTICOLA (Cisticola chiniana) – Common in the Serengeti acacia woodlands.
WINDING CISTICOLA (Cisticola marginatus) – Two in Nairobi NP, and about 6 in Ngorongoro Crater.
STOUT CISTICOLA (Cisticola robustus) – Three in Nairobi NP.
Hirundinidae (Swallows)
ROCK MARTIN (Ptyonoprogne fuligula) – Small numbers around a variety of buildings and rock faces; with a total of about 30.
BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica) – Small flocks (mainly moving northwards) were widespread.
RED-RUMPED SWALLOW (Cecropis daurica) – About 40 in the Ngorongoro-Serengeti area.
LESSER STRIPED SWALLOW (Cecropis abyssinica) – We saw about 20 of these beautiful swallows in the Serengeti.
BLACK SAWWING (Psalidoprocne pristoptera) – About a dozen in the Gibb's Farm area.
Pycnonotidae (Bulbuls)
EASTERN MOUNTAIN GREENBUL (MOUNTAIN) (Arizelocichla nigriceps nigriceps) – Four in the forest above Gibb's Farm.
GRAY-OLIVE GREENBUL (Phyllastrephus cerviniventris) – Three in the forest above Gibb's Farm, where they prefer the mid-level tangled vines and undergrowth.
COMMON BULBUL (DARK-CAPPED) (Pycnonotus barbatus tricolor) – Common and widespread.
Phylloscopidae (Leaf Warblers)
WILLOW WARBLER (Phylloscopus trochilus) – One at the bottom of the Crater Highlands.

The Rufous-tailed Weaver is an endemic that we saw well at Ngorongoro Crater and in the Serengeti. Photo by participant Juergen Schrenk.

Zosteropidae (White-eyes, Yuhinas, and Allies)
MBULU WHITE-EYE (Zosterops mbuluensis) – Four along the rim of Ngorongoro Crater.
Leiothrichidae (Laughingthrushes and Allies)
RUFOUS CHATTERER (Turdoides rubiginosa) – Two on the way to Oldupai Gorge.
BLACK-LORED BABBLER (Turdoides sharpei) – Great close looks at 8 birds within a solitary bush in the Serengeti.
NORTHERN PIED-BABBLER (Turdoides hypoleuca) – About a dozen in Nairobi NP. [E]
ARROW-MARKED BABBLER (Turdoides jardineii) – Eight in the garden at Gibb's Farm.
Buphagidae (Oxpeckers)
RED-BILLED OXPECKER (Buphagus erythrorynchus) – Small numbers at Nairobi NP, in Ngorongoro Crater, and near Ndutu; in all we saw about 36.
YELLOW-BILLED OXPECKER (Buphagus africanus) – One on a Burchell's Zebra near Ndutu.
Sturnidae (Starlings)
WATTLED STARLING (Creatophora cinerea) – About 150 in the Ndutu area.
RED-WINGED STARLING (Onychognathus morio) – Two at Nairobi airport.
HILDEBRANDT'S STARLING (Lamprotornis hildebrandti) – Two in Ngorongoro Crater, and then common in the Serengeti where we saw a total of about 150. [E]
RUEPPELL'S STARLING (Lamprotornis purpuroptera) – About 40 in the Serengeti.
SUPERB STARLING (Lamprotornis superbus) – Very common and widespread; in all we saw about 600.
Muscicapidae (Old World Flycatchers)
AFRICAN DUSKY FLYCATCHER (Muscicapa adusta) – Six in the Gibb's Farm area.
SPOTTED FLYCATCHER (Muscicapa striata) – One at the Seronera Serengeti NP headquarters.
AFRICAN GRAY FLYCATCHER (Bradornis microrhynchus) – About 12 in the Serengeti acacia bush country.
PALE FLYCATCHER (Agricola pallidus) – One at Ngorongoro Crater.
SILVERBIRD (Melaenornis semipartitus) – We saw pairs of these attractive flycatchers at Naabi Hill, and near Seronera.

We came upon this family of Cheetahs on a recent kill as we drove in the Serengeti. Photo by participant Juergen Schrenk.

WHITE-EYED SLATY-FLYCATCHER (Melaenornis fischeri) – Five at Gibb's Farm.
RED-BACKED SCRUB-ROBIN (Cercotrichas leucophrys) – One at Oldupai Gorge.
WHITE-BROWED ROBIN-CHAT (Cossypha heuglini) – Nice looks at these gorgeous chats at Gibb's Farm, and Ngorongoro.
RUFOUS-TAILED ROCK-THRUSH (Monticola saxatilis) – Nice looks at a male as we took the descent road in to Ngorongoro Crater.
WHINCHAT (Saxicola rubetra) – One at Ngorongoro Crater.
AFRICAN STONECHAT (Saxicola torquatus) – One in the grassland at the top of Ngorongoro Crater.
MOCKING CLIFF-CHAT (Thamnolaea cinnamomeiventris) – We had a male in the dining room at Serengeti Serena Lodge.
NORTHERN ANTEATER-CHAT (Myrmecocichla aethiops) – Eight at Ngorongoro Crater.
NORTHERN WHEATEAR (Oenanthe oenanthe) – Two singles in the Serengeti.
CAPPED WHEATEAR (Oenanthe pileata) – Two at Ngorongoro Crater, and 3 in the Serengeti.
FAMILIAR CHAT (Oenanthe familiaris) – Two at Seronera Serengeti NP headquarters.
ABYSSINIAN WHEATEAR (Oenanthe lugubris schalowi) – Sometimes split as Schalow's Wheatear, we saw 2 at Ngorongoro Crater.
Nectariniidae (Sunbirds and Spiderhunters)
COLLARED SUNBIRD (Hedydipna collaris) – Three in the forest above Gibb's Farm.
SCARLET-CHESTED SUNBIRD (Chalcomitra senegalensis) – We saw a gorgeous male at Ndutu Lodge.
BRONZE SUNBIRD (Nectarinia kilimensis) – About 30 in the Crater Highlands.
EASTERN DOUBLE-COLLARED SUNBIRD (Cinnyris mediocris) – At least 10 along the rim of Ngorongoro Crater. [E]
BEAUTIFUL SUNBIRD (Cinnyris pulchellus) – This really is a beautiful sunbird and we had great views of several in the acacia bush at the bottom of the Crater Highlands.

Plain-backed Pipits were common as we drove through the Serengeti. Photo by participant Juergen Schrenk.

VARIABLE SUNBIRD (Cinnyris venustus) – Widespread; with a total of about 20.
Ploceidae (Weavers and Allies)
WHITE-HEADED BUFFALO-WEAVER (Dinemellia dinemelli) – About 40 in the Serena area of the Serengeti.
SPECKLE-FRONTED WEAVER (Sporopipes frontalis) – Sixty in the acacia bush country around Seronera and Serena in the Serengeti.
RUFOUS-TAILED WEAVER (Histurgops ruficauda) – This endemic and only member of the genus Histurgops was common at Ngorongoro Crater and in the Serengeti. [E]
GRAY-HEADED SOCIAL-WEAVER (Pseudonigrita arnaudi) – We saw about 60 at the Seronera Serengeti NP headquarters.
RED-HEADED WEAVER (Anaplectes rubriceps) – Two males and a female in the Serengeti.
BAGLAFECHT WEAVER (Ploceus baglafecht) – About 30 around Gibb's Farm.
SPECTACLED WEAVER (Ploceus ocularis) – We saw a pair at Gibb's Farm.
LESSER MASKED-WEAVER (Ploceus intermedius) – About 8 at the bottom of the Crater Highlands, and a dozen at Serengeti Serena Lodge.
VITELLINE MASKED-WEAVER (Ploceus vitellinus) – One at Oldupai Gorge, and 2 in the Serengeti.
SPEKE'S WEAVER (Ploceus spekei) – About 60 at the Ole Sereni Hotel, Nairobi, 20 near Gibb's Farm, and 50 at Ngorongoro Crater.
RED-BILLED QUELEA (Quelea quelea) – Three at the bottom of the Crater Highlands.
SOUTHERN RED BISHOP (Euplectes orix) – One in breeding plumage near Ndutu.
BLACK BISHOP (Euplectes gierowii friederichseni) – We saw a single male on the way to Ngorongoro.
RED-COLLARED WIDOWBIRD (Euplectes ardens) – One along the rim at Ngorongoro Crater.
FAN-TAILED WIDOWBIRD (Euplectes axillaris) – About 30 in Ngorongoro Crater, and 15 on the way to Ndutu.
JACKSON'S WIDOWBIRD (Euplectes jacksoni) – We saw a single male in Nairobi NP. [E]

Participant Juergen Schrenk shot this portrait of a Marabou Stork as the bird's nictitating membrane covered the eye, giving this sinister-looking creature an even more surreal look.

GROSBEAK WEAVER (Amblyospiza albifrons) – About 6 were nest building in the garden at Gibb's Farm.
Estrildidae (Waxbills and Allies)
GRAY-HEADED NIGRITA (Nigrita canicapillus) – We saw an adult and a juvenile in the forest above Gibb's Farm.
BLACK-FACED WAXBILL (Estrilda erythronotos) – One at Oldupai Gorge.
BLUE-CAPPED CORDONBLEU (Uraeginthus cyanocephalus) – We saw about a dozen of these beautiful little waxbills in the Ngorongoro-Serengeti area.
PURPLE GRENADIER (Granatina ianthinogaster) – Another very colorful waxbill seen in the Ngorongoro-Serengeti area.
Viduidae (Indigobirds)
PIN-TAILED WHYDAH (Vidua macroura) – Two in breeding plumage at Nairobi NP.
STEEL-BLUE WHYDAH (Vidua hypocherina) – At least 5 (all males in breeding plumage) in the Serengeti Serena area.
Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)
HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus) – Fairly common and widespread, especially around villages and gas stations.
KENYA RUFOUS SPARROW (Passer rufocinctus) – About 10 at Ngorongoro Crater, and 30+ in the Serengeti.
SWAHILI SPARROW (Passer suahelicus) – Common in the Ngorongoro-Serengeti area.
Motacillidae (Wagtails and Pipits)
WESTERN YELLOW WAGTAIL (Motacilla flava) – At least 50 were in the bottom of Ngorongoro Crater.
AFRICAN PIED WAGTAIL (Motacilla aguimp) – Small numbers from Nairobi to Arusha, and on to Karatu and Ngorongoro.
AFRICAN PIPIT (Anthus cinnamomeus) – Common on the Serengeti grasslands.
PLAIN-BACKED PIPIT (Anthus leucophrys) – Two were seen well in Ngorongoro Crater, and then many others from our moving vehicle in the Serengeti.
TREE PIPIT (Anthus trivialis) – One at the bottom of the Crater Highlands.
ROSY-THROATED LONGCLAW (Macronyx ameliae) – We saw a striking male in Ngorongoro Crater.
Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)
WHITE-BELLIED CANARY (Crithagra dorsostriata) – Three in the acacia bush at the bottom of the Crater Highlands.

On the way to the Serengeti, we stopped at world-famous Oldupai Gorge, where we learned about the amazing archeological finds made here by the Leakeys. Photo by guide Terry Stevenson.

STREAKY SEEDEATER (Crithagra striolata) – Four at the Ole Sereni Hotel, Nairobi, and 1 at Gibb's Farm.
Emberizidae (Old World Buntings)
GOLDEN-BREASTED BUNTING (Emberiza flaviventris) – One at the bottom of the Crater Highlands.

SENEGAL BUSHBABY (Galago senegalensis) – Thanks to the help of a guard some of our group saw 2 at the Serengeti Serena Lodge.
BLUE MONKEY (Cercopithecus mitis) – About 4 in the forest above Gibb's Farm.
BLACK-FACED VERVET MONKEY (Cercopithecus aethiops) – Ten in Nairobi NP, and 15 in Ngorongoro Crater.
OLIVE BABOON (Papio anubis) – Very common and widespread; with a total of about 360.
CAPE HARE (Lepus capensis) – One at Serengeti Serena for some of the group.
BLACK-BACKED JACKAL (Canis mesomelas) – Nice looks at 6 in Ngorongoro Crater, and then another 2 in the Serengeti.
COMMON JACKAL (Canis aureus) – Three singles in Ngorongoro Crater.
SLENDER MONGOOSE (Herpestes sanguineus) – One along a track in Nairobi NP.
BANDED MONGOOSE (Mungos mungo) – We saw a group of about 20 on the way to Ndutu.
EASTERN DWARF MONGOOSE (Helogale hirtula) – Several small groups in the Serengeti, particularly fond of being around termite hills.
SPOTTED HYAENA (Crocuta crocuta) – Three in Ngorongoro Crater, and then 7 in the Serengeti.
SERVAL (Felis serval) – We were very lucky to see this shy cat along the main road near Naabi Hill.
LION (Panthera leo) – We saw what appeared to be a lost young one in Nairobi NP, and then had many fabulous encounters in Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti. Super looks at huge maned males, females and young ones!
CHEETAH (Acinonyx jubatus) – We had very close looks at a female and 2 young eating a freshly killed Grant's Gazelle near Naabi Hill.
AFRICAN BUSH ELEPHANT (Loxodonta africana) – Fabulous close looks at big bulls, females and young ones in Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti; in all we saw about 120.

Our first view of Ngorongoro Crater from the rim gave the impression of infinite space. Photo by guide Terry Stevenson.

ROCK HYRAX (Procavia capensis) – About 30 in the Serengeti.
BUSH (YELLOW-SPOTTED) HYRAX (Heterohyrax brucei) – About 10 (together with Rock Hyrax) at the Seronera Serengeti NP headquarters.
BURCHELL'S ZEBRA (Equus burchelli) – Many thousands both in Ngorongoro Crater, and on the Serengeti plains.
BLACK RHINOCEROS (Diceros bicornis) – We were extremely lucky with our sightings of this rare mammal on this tour, with a female and young one at Nairobi NP, and then 3 more in Ngorongoro Crater.
WHITE RHINOCEROS (Ceratotherium simum) – Seven in Nairobi NP. [I]
WARTHOG (Phacochoerus aethiopicus) – Normally very common, but the tall grass made for hard viewing this tour, eventually we saw about a dozen in Ngorongoro Crater, and 7 in the Serengeti.
HIPPOPOTAMUS (Hippopotamus amphibius) – About 60 in Ngorongoro Crater, and 50 in the Serengeti.
COMMON GIRAFFE (Giraffa camelopardalis) – Three in Nairobi NP, and 60+ in the Ngorongoro-Serengeti area - always a group favorite!
BUSHBUCK (Tragelaphus scriptus) – We saw a single male in Nairobi NP.
COMMON ELAND (Taurotragus oryx) – A single male in Ngorongoro Crater was our only sighting.
AFRICAN BUFFALO (Syncerus caffer) – Common in all the national parks; in all we saw about 850.
BOHOR REEDBUCK (Redunca redunca) – Two in Nairobi NP.
TOPI (Damaliscus lunatus) – About 20 in the Seronera area of Serengeti.
HARTEBEEST (KONGONI) (Alcelaphus buselaphus) – Also known as Coke's Hartebeest, we saw about 40 in Nairobi NP, 2 in Ngorongoro Crater, and 35 in the Serengeti.
BLUE WILDEBEEST (Connochaetes taurinus) – Perhaps 5000 in Ngorongoro Crater, and then many many thousands on the Serengeti plains.
KIRK'S DIK-DIK (Modoqua kirki) – A total of about 50 were in the Serengeti Serena woodlands.
IMPALA (Aepyceros malampus) – Very common and widespread with a total of about 4000.
THOMSON'S GAZELLE (Gazella thomsoni) – Another very common antelope, with many thousands in Ngorongoro Crater and on the short grass areas of Serengeti.
GRANT'S GAZELLE (Gazella granti) – About 300 in Ngorongoro Crater, and 400+ in the Serengeti.


Reptiles on the tour included;

Nile Crocodile, 1 in Nairobi NP.

Water Monitor, 1 in Nairobi NP.

Red-headed Rock Agama, about 10 at Oldupai Gorge.

Mwanza Rock Agama, 20 in the Seronera and Serengeti Serena areas.

Flap-necked Chameleon, 1 near Seronera.

Leopard Tortoise, singles in Nairobi NP, and near Serengeti Serena.

Totals for the tour: 234 bird taxa and 34 mammal taxa