Bird watching at Lake Manyara

Bird watching at Lake Manyara : Lake Manyara is one of the best bird-watching sites in Tanzania. It covers an area of a hundred and thirty square miles (130 mi2). So it is smaller than most national parks in Tanzania. it is situated at the great rift valley wall and lake Manyara. Lake Manyara is a shallow salted lake so it does bring a lot of wild animals and birds mainly for watering. There are more than four hundred and fifty (450) species of birds at lake Manyara National park. Lake Manyara being the smaller national park in Tanzania does have a lot to offer such as a great afternoon game drive. A little more it is the best park for a birding safari in Tanzania. Take a look at below listed some of the beautiful bird species that are mostly viewed during birding tours at lake Manyara national park.

The Flamingoes

Flamingoes are tall pink birds water birds. There are over one million flamingoes found at lake Manyara. The Flamingoes are famous for their extraordinary courtship rituals. As animals, flamingoes are warm blooded animals that lay eggs, have beaks and feathers. Unlike some birds, flamingoes are also good flayer. There is flamingo migration at lake Manyara to which they appear and disappear unpredictably due to fluctuations of water levels at the lake. There two species of flamingoes found at lake Manyara, the Greater and the Lesser flamingoes. Now, how do we differentiate between the two?

Firstly, the size. The greater flamingo is bigger than the lesser flamingo. The greater flamingo weighs between two kilograms to four kilograms (2kg-4kg) while the lesser flamingo weighs between (1.2kg – 2.7kg).

Bird watching at Lake Manyara
Lesser falmingos

secondly, the bill. The grater flamingo has a light pink bill with a black tip and distinctive downward bend while the lesser flamingo has a deep red bill with a black tip.

Thirdly, the plumage. The greater flamingo plumage is more white than pink while the lesser flamingo plumage is more pink than white.

Fourthly, the eyes. The grater flamingo has yellow eyes surrounded by a narrow pink ring while the lesser flamingoes has orange-yellow eyes surrounded by a maroon ring.

Flamingoes have some features in common. They are filter feeders, in order to eat they stand in shallow water in the lake hang their heads down into it, they swing their head side to side and use their spiny tongue to help them strain food from he water. Flamingoes eat blind shrimp, algae, insects, and moss. They are omnivore (eat plants and animals). You may be interested to know that flamingoes are not born pink, when they are chicks they are actually grey.

Flamingoes are very social animals and like to live in large group called colonies which contains million members. They are mostly popular in lake Manyara park. so, if you want to enjoy watching flamingoes travel to Tanzania.

The Ostrich

Ostriches are said to be the largest living bird on planet Earth. Has nearly 9 feet tall and weighing up 220 pound. It is not surprised that an ostrich can fly. Its wigs are just too small to lift body a half a ground. The ostriches have two main anti-predator tactics.

One, will hide. This all depends on who is doing the hunting. One of the most common predator of the ostrich is the cheetah. Unable to fight them, the ostrich will choose to hide on tall savannah grassland of the Manyara national park.

Two, will run. On seeing a predator around, the ostrich switches a strategy. With the top speed of 40 miles an hour, it is the fastest animal on two legs. Elasticated joints and tendons that stores huge amount of energy gives the ostrich its speed and unique spring in his step leaving almost all the predators behind. Even their chicks can run away from predators at 35 miles an hour.

Blacksmith lapwing

The blacksmith lapwing or blacksmith plover is a lapwing species that occurs commonly from Kenya through central Tanzania finally settling in lake Manyara National Park. The vernacular name derives from the repeated metallic ‘tink tink tink’ alarm call, which suggests a blacksmith’s hammer striking an anvil. Blacksmith lapwings are very boldly patterned in black, grey, and white, possibly warning colors to predators. It is one of five lapwing species that share the characteristics of red eyes and a bold pied plumage, with a carpal spur adorning the wrist joint; a sharp black protrusion which they use to aggressively defend their young from potential threats, through persistent aerial dives typically targeting the head. The portions of the bird’s body bare to plumage average a black coloration for the bill, and either a black or white-grey dappling on the legs. Females average larger and heavier but the sexes are generally alike. The blacksmith lapwing occurs in association with wetlands of all sizes. Even very small damp areas caused by a spilling water trough can attract them. It avoids mountains of any type. During the breeding season, the species often react aggressively to other lapwings or African jacanas that may enter its wetland habitat. Nests are shallow depressions on bare ground or short grass, close to water, and tend to be spaced at least 400 meters apart. The blacksmith lapwing breeds in spring, but its choice of nesting site and timing may be opportunistic. The young separate gradually from their parents and do not return to natal areas afterward. This lapwing feeds on aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates.

Bird watching at Lake Manyara
Blacksmith lapwing

Grey-headed kingfisher

These are very uncommon birds. It felt very special to see them and once you move near to them they tend blinking eyes at once.

Silvery-cheeked Hornbill

This is very large species of hornbill found at lake Manyara national park in eastern part of Africa, Tanzania. They like living on nice big trees high the mountains and hills. It is really exciting watching them screaming on top of trees at the park.

White-faced Duck

In Lake Manyara park you’ll meet Moonlight, a White-faced Whistling Duck. Whistling ducks are a group of waterfowl characterized by long legs and necks, a more upright stance than other waterfowl, and whistling vocalizations, Bird watching at Lake Manyara

Martial Eagle (Juvenile)

The Martial Eagle is the largest of all the eagles of Africa. You will see them flying often past and over and they are very relaxed bird species.

Superb starling

This is a member of starling family of birds. These species are commonly found in lake Manyara park, Tanzania. they have a long narrow bill, black heads, blue-green back, white under tail covering, and long loud sounds.

Kori bustard

These are considered to be some of the heaviest birds flying today. Though they don’t often fly. They are mostly seen spending time on the grasslands of the Lake Manyara park. they normally get around by walking hover they will fly if chased by predators. Predators to Kori bustards includes, lions, leopards, jackals, and other birds of prey.

Goliath heron

This is a giant bird with a height of up to 1.5 high. The Goliath heron is the largest living heron. In Tanzania, they are commonly found in lake Manyara national park.

There are many more species of birds one can enjoy watching on a birding tour at lake Manyara national park. other available bird species include the Natal francolin, Long crested eagle, Helmeted Guinea fowl, White-winged widowbird, Rufous-naped lark, Rosy-throated long claw, Yellow-billed kite, Shanks, Black-winged stilt, Kittlitzs plover, Purple swamp hen, Black crake, Yellow-billed stork, Common moorhen, Redshank, Hottentot teal, Collared pranticole, African grey hornbill, Reed warbler, Winding cisticola, Southern-Ground Hornbill, African skimmer and many more.

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