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Early Afternoon Birds

Early afternoon is the perfect time to explore the Ewaso Ng’iro, Ewaso Narok, Naro Maro, or Nanyuki Rivers. All these watercourses are prime habitat for the African Fish Eagle, often seen swooping to the water’s surface to snag fish. Grey and Black-headed Herons stand patiently at the water’s edge, waiting to spear unwary frogs or other prey animals. Kingfishers – Giant, Pied and the small, jewel-like Malachite – streak back and forth between riverbanks, or perch motionless on reeds, scanning the shallows for prey.

Two of Laikipia’s strangest birds are associated with rivers. The Hamerkop is a drab brown bird with an anvil-shaped head so unusual that ornithologists have placed it in its own family and genus. Hamerkops are noted for their enormous stick nests, often more than 1.5 m across. The African Finfoot is an underwater specialist that feeds on dragonflies, crustaceans and tiny fish. Oddly, the species retains a primitive claw on each wing. Finfoots tend to be secretive, so sightings are rare and highly prized. The best places to look for them are the bridges over the Ewaso Ng’iro, or Mpala’s hippo pools. 

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