If you have ever travelled to Africa, you’ve most likely noticed the diverse birds that inhabit this beautiful land. But what do the birds of Burundi look like?
Well, you’ll be glad to know that they are more than 200 species strong, and you’ll have an opportunity to see some incredible birds. Read on to learn about some of the different bird species that live in Burundi.
What will I learn?
Besides the endemic species, you’ll also find a number of passerine birds. And of course, don’t forget about the large diving birds, the grebes.
Mousebirds are passerine birds
Micebirds are a small group of bird species that have affinities with cockatoos and parrots, although their phylogeny is not known. Despite the close relationship with birds, these creatures are not closely related to any other group.
Consequently, they are given the order status of Coliiformes. Micebirds are currently found only in sub-Saharan Africa, but their ranges tended to be much larger in prehistoric times. They also appear to have evolved in Europe.
Micebirds are small and brightly coloured birds with broad bills that enables them to catch insects. Pittas, another type of passerine bird, are medium-sized birds with stout bills and long legs.
They spend the majority of their time feeding on insects on wet forest floors. In Burundi, there is only one species of pitta. Cuckooshrikes are small, greyish birds with distinctive head patterns.
Flamingos are wading birds
The flamingo is a species of wading bird native to Burundi. The species belongs to the order Phoenicopteriformes. It has a short tail and slender legs, as well as a thick, down-turned bill.
Male flamingos are more energetic than females, and often form large colonies. These birds are known for their extravagant courtship displays, and are often seen marching in stiff formations.
Flamingos have unusually long bills, and their wing tips are black. They feed on plankton by trampling in the shallows. They use their webbed feet to churn up the organic material in the water to feed on.
They eat algae, diatoms, and invertebrates, and filter their food by straining it using comb-like structures in their bill.
Pigeons are stout-bodied
The Columbidae family contains 330 species of pigeons, doves, and their close relatives. They have stout bodies and short necks, fleshy ceres, and slender bills.
The majority of these birds feed on seeds and other plant materials. Although pigeons occur throughout the world, they are found in Burundi, Africa, and Asia.
These stout-bodied birds are a great source of food. They feed on fruits, seeds, and other plant matter. They also feed on insects.
Their brightly coloured bodies and distinctively shaped bills attract many potential predators. They are also a great source of ornamental items, including jewelry, beads, and other decorative objects. Pigeons breed throughout the world.
Feral pigeons are capable of producing up to six clutches a year. The average clutch contains two eggs, which hatch after 17 days.
The parents raise the chicks until they can fly, which can be as long as 6 weeks. Feral pigeons may have as many as six broods per year, which is about as many as doves.
Grebes are large diving birds
Grebes are large, diving birds from Burundi, Tanzania, and Rwanda. Their plumage is satiny and their tail feathers are very short, contributing to their stocky appearance.
Grebes eat their own feathers, forming a sieve-like plug inside the intestine. This prevents the passage of harmful parts of their prey.
Grebes use these feathers as food, and occasionally feed them to their chicks. The feathers also help form indigestible pellets. During diving, grebes will make a dramatic “crash-diving” maneuver to escape.
The grebe is an ancient diving bird, but it lacks obvious relatives. The oldest fossilized grebe dates back to the Late Cretaceous Epoch in Chile, and is based on its superficial resemblance to toothed Hesperornithiformes.
A fossilized grebe has been discovered in Oregon in late Oligocene deposits. This fossilized species Podiceps oligoceanus bears a lot of resemblance to the modern species, but its appearance is largely different.
Rockfowl are stout-bodied
The stout-bodied Burundian rockfowl are distinctive in appearance, and they are often considered a species of waterbird. They are also referred to as jacanas.
Their bright yellow plumage distinguishes them from other waterbird species. Their yellow underparts are complemented by white wing bars. Male rockfowl are bright red with a yellow nape and shoulder.
They have a black upper back and wings. Female rockfowl have a yellow head and olive back with dark wings.
Throughout the southern third of Africa, the Burundian rockfowl is a distinctive bird species. The species is widespread, with populations in many countries.
It was first described in 1894 and is now recognized as a distinct species. Despite its stout body, the ape-like bird has remained elusive.
In the southern third of the continent, the species has been described in detail in two books, C.W. Hazevoet’s Guide to Birds of West Africa.
Barn-owls are large owls
Barn-owls are solitary nocturnal birds that are similar to eagles and hawks. Like these raptors, they have a powerful sense of hearing. They can locate prey hidden under snow or vegetation with ease.
Their asymmetrical ear placement helps them identify sounds better. They have long, strong legs and powerful talons. They have a heart-shaped face and large ears. Their long legs and talons are particularly useful for hunting.
Barn-owls are monogamous, meaning they stick to the same partner for life. They have a distinctive crouching behavior when they are trying to attract a female and make a display flight to lure her in.
They will then scream and hover in front of their females for several seconds. Once they have found a female, they will attempt to mate by chasing her with their long wings.
Scolopacidae are small shorebirds
The scolopacid family of small shorebirds in Burundi consists of the jacanas and curlews. Jacanas are known for their enormous feet and claws.
They prefer lakes and other shallow bodies of water. These birds are members of the family Scolopacidae, which includes sandpipers, curlews, tattlers, phalaropes, and jacanas.
In Burundi, scolopacid species breed further north than their cousins, the ibises, and the grebes. They spend the summer in arctic, subarctic, and boreal climates, and migrate south after breeding.
During their breeding season, scolopacids nest in tropical wetlands, coastal salt marshes, and freshwater wetlands. They feed in flocks, and their wing feathers are tipped with a white-grey or cream-colored pattern.
In addition to scolopacidae, the family includes many other species of small passerine birds. The motacillidae includes wagtails and pipits, which are small passerine birds.
Their broad bills help them catch insects and other small creatures. In addition to the scolopacacidae, there are a number of small insectivores in Burundi: the cisticolids and the nigras. The last two families are primarily in open areas, and are found in the warmer southern Old World.
Phalacrocoracidae are fish-eating seabirds
This burundian species is a member of the Phalacrocoracidae family, which includes cormorants and shags. It is found across the globe, although it is not found in Antarctica or South America.
Like most cormorants, it is adapted to a variety of habitats, including extremes in temperature. This species includes 6-7 subspecies.
Kingfishers, also known as cormorants, are medium-sized birds with large heads and long, pointed bills. They have black legs and wings, and their elongated throat pouch is pinkish in color.
They hunt prey by diving underwater and catching it in its pouch. Kingfishers lay their eggs on a rocky ledge, with both sexes incubating and raising the chicks.
The diets and reproductive behavior of these species are complex and varied, with several studies showing a link between their habitat and their reproductive success.
Researchers have studied a range of dietary habits and behavior in the species of reed cormorant in Lake Kariba, as well as the breeding status of the imperial cormorant on Heard Island.
Anhingas are snake-like birds
Anhingas are beautiful, scaly-looking birds native to the forests of Burundi. They form strong pair bonds with their mates, displaying courtship displays and singing in the process.
During nesting season, anhingas stretch their necks towards each other to attract females. In North America, breeding is seasonal and is triggered by dry or wet seasons. Anhingas nest in colonies, often in trees overhanging a body of water. These birds lay two to five eggs, and incubate them for 25 to 30 days.
Anhingas are long and slim. The male has a tan neck and black and white ladder pattern on its back. They have a long tail.
Unlike most birds, anhingas only have one carotid artery, which means their necks do not get as cold as other waterbirds. Their distinctive cross-shaped silhouette makes them easy to recognize even in the water.
They have also earned the nicknames water turkeys and snake birds, because they are able to swim with their heads above water and their bodies remain uncovered.