|Lesser flamingoes in Arusha National Park, Tanzania|
365 days. 525,600 minutes. How does one measure a year in the life?*
|Meyer's (brown) parrots (Poicephalus meyeri) on the left with a male|
African orange-bellied parrot (Poicephalus rufiventris) on the right,
Tarangire National Park, Tanzania
|Yellow-billed storks (Mycteria ibis) on the wing, |
Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania
|White-crested helmet-shrike (Prionops plumatus), near Kibungo, Rwanda|
|Denham's bustards (Neotis denhami), |
Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda
|African paradise flycatcher (Terpsiphone viridis),|
Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania
|My final photograph in Africa. Although I am no longer in Rwanda,|
you can read about my continuing experience with birds,
ecology, and sustainability at Earth on the Wing.
|Grey-crowned cranes (Balearica regulorum) live in Africa. In Rwanda,|
this is the bird they call umusambi.
|Grey-crowned cranes range from Uganda (where they are the national bird)|
and Kenya down along the eastern half of sub-Saharan Africa nearly
to the tip of South Africa.
|Grey-crowned cranes are omnivores, and they often feed in grasslands, as|
they are in this picture from Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania.
|Adult cranes have a wingspan of almost two meters, In this picture, they|
are flying above the plains of Serengeti National Park, Tanzania.
|Cranes fly around to find food but when they breed, they make nests|
of broken grasses in shallow waters. They often find spots in wetlands
that have both shallow water and tall plants for seclusion and protection.
|Both male and female cranes look similar. According to Animal Diversity |
Web, grey-crowned cranes are monogamous and may mate for life.
It takes a young bird about one year to look like its parents.
|Sadly, the population of grey-crowned cranes is decreasing. Habitat loss|
and capture from the wild have put serious pressure on the cranes. One
day in June, a man showed up with a baby crane and tried to sell it to
Michele and me. We declined.
|People capture cranes for food, traditional practices, and the domestic and |
international pet markets. Taking a crane is illegal in Rwanda, but a payday
of 20,000 Rwandan Francs (about $33 USD) makes it an attractive crime.
As much as we wanted to buy the crane to let it go, we did not want to
give the man economic incentive to take this one or another one later.
My guess is this crane was taken to a bigger city for sale but if that failed,
it was probably eaten. Birdlife International lists this bird as vulnerable.
|We could not save that umusambi. It was sad to witness it. Michele drew|
this picture shortly after to try to put the bird back in its home.
|Fly away, umusambi, fly away!!! Organizations that help to conserve crane|
habitats and prevent their removal from the wild include:
Uganda Wildlife Education Center
Wildlife Conservation Society
International Crane Foundation
|Eastern portion of Lake Mugesera|
|Non-breeding male pin-tailed whydah|
|Chimpanzees construct nests to sleep on at night|
|Hippo prints, Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda. Note the tire track|
on the right came before the hippo passed.
|Leopard print, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania|
|Chimpanzee foot and knuckle prints, Kibale National Park, Uganda|
|Elephant print, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania|
|Human footprints, Rwanda|
|Red-eyed dove - Streptopelia semitorquata) - Inumah|
|The poster features drawings and the names of the birds in English, Latin (scientific), |
and Kinyarwanda. One of Rwanda's top bird guides (who is a native Kinyarwanda
speaker) helped us to find the local names. A student artist completed 26
of the species while Michele (the art teacher) completed 7 species. The poster is
shown here in lower resolution because it is not yet ready for distribution.
|Meet the artist: Rossi, a 9th grade student at ASYV, drew most the birds.|
He was president of the student art club and spent his free time on
Saturdays and Sundays illustrating our feathered friends.
|Cinnamon-chested bee-eater - Merops oreobates - Imisamanzuki|
|Speckled mousebird - Colius striatus - Umusure|
|Southern red bishop - Euplectes orix - Isawdi|