Friday, 7 December 2012

Common birds (1)

Speckled Mousebird, Arusha. Cute, and really quite interesting...
OK, I've been away from here for too long (sorry!), but to encourage me to actually get down and do something, I've decided to start a new little mini-series here on common birds. As any of you who knows me is aware, I happen to rather like birds and will happy spend hours sitting wathing birds at a pond, or even trudging through kilometers of rift valley lakes to count waders. And I have a secret theory that actually, everyone loves birds, they just down all know it. The problem is that there are a lot of different birds out there (do watch Ethan as he tries to see as many as possible this year and records his exploits over here!), they often move rather fast, and people can be easily confused at first. So I thought we'd break it down into some very simple stages and try and start with 50 of the most common / obvious birds on safari or about towns in Tanzania. For each one my challenge is to briefly describe the key features to help you identify it, and then to say something interesting about it. If all goes well, I might even expand my remit to include non-birds, but we'll start with 50 common birds and see how that goes. Rather than throw it all at you in one go (and because there's no way I could write that much in one sitting!), I think I might try three species a post. It might also get a little interactive this way, if anyone wants to help me identify the top 50 species, that would be great,a nd if you've got your own preferred 'factoids' about any of the species, please do chip in!

So, let's start today, in no particular order, with the Speckled Mousebird.