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Birds at Night

When darkness sets in, nightjars begin their hunt for nocturnal insects. They are best seen when startled by a vehicle’s headlamps. Although hard to tell apart, Nightjars commonly seen in Laikpia are Donaldson-Smith’s, Freckled, Dusky and Slender-tailed. The Montane Nightjar is less common, being more easily found on the slopes of Mount Kenya. Darkness is also the time to scan trees for owls.

     

Verreaux’s Eagle Owl is Africa’s largest owl and is frequently seen in tall Fever Trees by waterways. It is distinguished by its two-metre wingspan, pink eyelids and tufted ears. Northern White-faced Scops Owls, with their exquisite orange eyes, prefer savannah habitats. When faced with larger competitors or predators, they flatten their feathers and stretch out their bodies in an attempt to mimic tree branches. The Pearl-spotted Owlet is a mug-sized speckled owl that nests in open woodlands, often in abandoned barbet nest holes. It frequents human dwellings and may be seen foraging around tented camps and lodges, providing a perfect ending to a day’s birding in Laikipia

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