The Abyssinian Slaty-flycatcher (Melaenornis chocolatinus) has caused me some frustrating research time. The illustration in my field guide is small and not easy to tell if I’ve got this nailed down right. I’m going to assume I’ve got the right ID until a more experienced and knowledgeable reader tells me otherwise. Oh, the joys of birding in an unfamiliar country with no human guides to point out the error of one’s ways.
These photos were taken in the grounds of the school where my daughter was teaching last year in the heart of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It was quiet and sat still for a minute or two before swooping down to catch an insect. It then returned to the perch shown in the photo. Abyssinian Slaty-flycatchers are found on the edges of forests at an altitude between 1000 and 3250m. While this was taken in suburban Addis Ababa, there were small forest patches nearby, including several acres of eucalyptus in the school campus.
Another common bird I observed in Addis Ababa on my recent trip to Ethiopia was the Streaky Seedeater Serinus striolatus. This is another member of the finch family of birds. In the school grounds where my daughter was teaching they were very common, behaving like many species of finch and sparrow in cleaning up after the children had dropped crumbs and other bits of food in the playground.
This species is found in the higher altitudes – from 1300 – 4500m – in Ethiopia, Kenya, Zaire, Sudan, Uganda, and Tanzania.
The Brown-rumped Seedeater (Serinus tristriatus) of Ethiopia is a very common bird in the city of Addis Ababa. It is the common finch like bird of the suburbs and I observed it on my recent trip there in large numbers. In some respects it is like the House Sparrow here in Australia and its habits and habitat is very similar. They even look similar.
It was very common in the grounds and gardens of the school where my daughter was teaching. Like the sparrows we know, they were the ground cleaners in the lunch areas and other parts of the school where the children ate their lunches. Any little scrap or morsel was pounced upon and devoured.
It actually took me quite a while to accurately identify this bird. This is because Ethiopia has many “little brown birds” that can cause so much confusion.
On my recent trip to Ethiopia I had the opportunity to spend quite a few hours birds in the grounds of the international school where my daughter was teaching. She lived on the campus and we were able to stay with her in her apartment. The school campus was quite large and included a football ground (soccer) and a small forest of eucalyptus trees.
By far the most obvious birds visiting the school were the Yellow-billed Kites. At first I thought that they were Black Kites as we have them in large numbers here in Australia. The Yellow-billed Kite (Milvus aegyptius) is regarded as a sub-species of the Black Kite which also occurs in Ethiopia. The one shown in the photo above does not appear to have a yellow beak, so it is almost certainly a juvenile bird.
The kites were in abundance every day both on the school football ground and soaring overhead. Sometimes I could see 20 – 30 soaring on high and just as many low over the oval or actually on the ground.
I’ve been a little quiet here over the last seven weeks. I’ve been overseas on a wonderful holiday. Stay tuned for plenty of wonderful photos of the birds of Ethiopia, Morocco and Spain in the coming months. In each country I saw about 30 species that I’d never seen before. The actual number is a bit rubbery as I’ve yet to identify some of the birds I photographed. Some long hours of interesting research ahead for me.
After a direct and very tedious journey home via Madrid, Dubai, Kuala Lumpur and Melbourne, we arrived at Adelaide Airport at 8am on Wednesday. Due to the blurriness of jet lag the rest of day was basically survival mode.
Thursday morning (yesterday) was a different matter. At breakfast time we had two Superb Fairy-wrens feeding in our garden, a male as shown in the photos, and a female. This species is widespread and common in our district here in South Australia, but this is the first time we’ve seen it in our garden in nearly 30 years living here. (On 5 occasions we have had Variegated Fairy-wrens visit over the same time period, the last being over 10 years ago.)
So, not only were we greeted with these lovely birds on our first day home, I was able to add a new species to our “home list”. Very nice.
Even better: they were around again this morning. I hope they find our garden enticing and decide to take up residence.
I managed only 2 photos of the male; the female was a little on the shy side and wouldn’t sit still long enough in the open for a shot.