Certain birds have an incredible annual cycle of transformation. Every year, they change from a relatively dull ‘boring’-looking appearance into a vivid, colourful and attractive look. This happens when they change from their non-breeding plumage to their breeding plumage. (Plumage means the colour and arrangement of a bird’s feathers). These transformations mainly happen during the rains, when most Kenyan birds breed, and then the birds revert back to their unimpressive looks when they go back into the non-breeding season. These changes are most pronounced in males. Females generally change only slightly or barely at all.
Today, let’s take a look at two groups of birds found in Kenya which undergo such dramatic transformations.
Some other members of this group that you can see in Kenya include …
Apart from widowbirds, another major group that undergoes this extreme seasonal change is the whydahs and indigobirds (Vidua). Some of the ones you can see in Kenya include:
As it rains throughout many parts of Kenya at the moment, keep an eye out for these striking birds in their beautiful breeding plumage. Their breeding displays are also entertaining to watch as they jump and dance amusingly attempting to attract the attention of the ladies 😉
If you need help getting an experienced bird-watching guide in Kenya who can help you find these brilliant birds, identify them and interpret what they are doing, feel free to get in touch with me for recommendations.
While out watching these birds, please submit your records to the Kenya Bird Map project to contribute to documenting their current distribution and status in Kenya.
If you enjoyed this post, look out for Part 8 of NDEGE WETU next Thursday!
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