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Birds of Kenya's Rift Valley

Birds of Kenya's Rift Valley

Adam Scott Kennedy
Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 256
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  • Book Info
    Birds of Kenya's Rift Valley
    Book Description:

    Kenya's East African Rift Valley includes four major national parks-Lake Nakuru, Lake Bogoria, Mount Longonot, and Hell's Gate-as well as smaller outstanding wildlife areas.Birds of Kenya's Rift Valleylooks at the more than 300 bird species most likely to be encountered on safari in this world-famous region, from Lake Magadi in the south to Lake Baringo in the north. Featuring 500 detailed color photos, this stunning guide breaks new ground with its eye-catching layout and easy-to-use format, and the no-jargon approach to descriptions makes the guide easily accessible to anyone. The volume uses a habitat-based approach to the order of species, and readers are alerted to specific species behaviors and etymology.Birds of Kenya's Rift Valleywill get you identifying bird species in no time.

    Stunning plates and images of more than 300 bird speciesMajor plumage variations featuredJargon-free textHelpful notes on behavior and what to look for

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5137-9
    Subjects: Zoology, Biological Sciences

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-3)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 4-7)
  3. About this book
    (pp. 9-12)
  4. The geography of Kenya’s Rift Valley
    (pp. 13-22)

    The Great Rift Valley is the name often given to the continuous trench that extends approximately 6,000 km (3,700 miles) from Syria in the north to Mozambique in the south. However, modern geologists will state that this is old thinking as the rift valley that extends southwards from Eritrea is quite separate from that which travels northwards through the Red Sea. Instead, we should be concentrating on the East African Rift that begins at the Afar Triangle (in Eritrea, Djibouti and Ethiopia) and finishes off the coast of Mozambique. This East African Rift is divided into two major branches: the...

  5. Maps of the Rift Valley
    (pp. 23-25)
    (pp. 26-81)

    General notes: East Africa is host to two of the world’s eight pelican species. Both have different feeding strategies but rely on their huge bills, equipped with an expandable pouch, to catch fish. With their large, webbed feet, pelicans are great swimmers and you may notice that they sit high in the water for such bulky birds. This is because air sacs secreted under the skin help to maintain excellent buoyancy. Despite their great size pelicans are fantastic fliers and routinely commute over 100 km in search of feeding grounds, sometimes soaring 2–3 km above the ground. Both species...

    (pp. 82-89)

    A very large all-dark swift with an obvious fork in the tail. Like other swift species, the Mottled Swift can be found over a variety of habitats depending on food availability. It occasionally nests at Hell’s Gate National Park and probably at other steep rock faces in the Rift valley.

    A very large swift with a white belly and throat. The largest of all swifts recorded in East Africa, this is also one of the easiest to identify. The breeding grounds are very likely to be on the highest mountains of the region but its movements are poorly understood. A...

    (pp. 90-109)

    A larger vulture than the similar White-backed Vulture, Rüppell’s Vulture is reliably told from that species by its cream-coloured bill at all ages. Adult birds also show obvious pale scalloping to the wing feathers and never a white rump in flight. It nests on remote, precipitous cliffs, such as those at Hell’s Gate NP. Being larger than the White-backed Vulture, it can easily use its strength to out-compete that species when similar numbers are present at the carcass, but it is rarely the first to arrive.

    This bird is named after the German Wilheim Rüppell (1794–1884) whose zoological and...

    (pp. 110-131)

    Huge, unmistakable birds. Males are distinguished by their black body feathers, white wing plumes and short, white tail. The pink skin of the head, neck and long, strong legs becomes flushed when birds are excited. This is particularly so during display, which involves exuberant rolling and shaking of the wing plumes. Females (see page 256) and immature birds are greyish-brown in colour and lack pink tones to the skin. Eggs are laid in a scrape in the ground that several females may share. The call is a deep “hoo-hoo-whoooooo” that sounds similar to a Lion’s roar from a distance.


    (pp. 132-237)

    A plain-looking francolin with a red bill and red legs. At first glance this retiring gamebird often appears just grey and not particularly scaly but, given a good view, the delicate pattern is there to see. It prefers to keep to bushy cover but it is quite tame if stumbled upon when on foot. It is less vocal than the Red-necked Spurfowl and you are more likely to hear its soft, purring “kwoorr” contact call than the louder “ker-RAK-ker RAK” territorial call. An average clutch is six eggs and these francolins have an unusual habit of incubating by night and...

    (pp. 238-243)

    The white owl. This owl appears longer-legged than most others and has a heart-shaped face with jet-black eyes. At night, listen out for its loud, screaming “shriek” call. Like most other owls, this enigmatic species is secretive and shy but it often roosts in buildings in towns and villages, emerging at dusk to feed on rats and other rodents. It is among the most cosmopolitan of all birds and is found on all the continents apart from Antarctica.

    Unlike most other owls, the Barn Owl’s middle claw is pectinate (meaning that it has a serrated edge), an adaptation for preening...

  12. Further reading and useful resources
    (pp. 244-245)
  13. Acknowledgements
    (pp. 245-245)
  14. Photographic credits
    (pp. 246-246)
  15. Scientific names of the bird species included in this book
    (pp. 247-251)
  16. Index
    (pp. 252-256)