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Tom Kellie
7 hours ago, Peter Connan said:

@Tom Kellie, I actually can't remember seeing an African Pitta here. It may however be that @Galana , @Dave Williams or @michael-ibk has one in one of their Big Year threads? 

 

They are pretty scarce and very secretive, and I know several people who have tried for years and never seen them.

 

~ @Peter Connan

 

Thank you for the above.

 

I'm not that skilled of a searcher within Safaritalk.

 

I looked for both  “Pitta angolensis“ and for “African Pitta“.

 

Nothing.

 

I'm not asking for Pittas elsewhere, as Pittas live here in mainland China.

 

Nor am I asking about Pitta reichenowi, Green-breasted Pitta.

 

When I heard then saw the African Pitta, it wasn't treated as a rare event by those local residents with me.

 

As other species of Pittas in southern China aren't especially scarce, I lacked the experience to realize that Pitta angolensis wasn't often encountered.

 

Since then I've wondered why they don't appear in Safaritalk.

 

I saw them in early evening in May, 2014 and again May, 2015.

 

Possibly during a return migration after breeding elsewhere? I don't know.

 

Both sightings were near streams in moderate forest, when seeking Leopards.

 

The call was loud and unmistakable, which resulted in the sighting.

 

Maybe they'll join Zorillas as one of those species of special interest.

 

Tom K.

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Peter Connan

For me, and here in my part of the world, they are certainly in the same league @Tom Kellie. Even the Narina Trogon is arguably more common.

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Tom Kellie
22 minutes ago, Peter Connan said:

For me, and here in my part of the world, they are certainly in the same league @Tom Kellie. Even the Narina Trogon is arguably more common.

 

~ @Peter Connan

 

Sitting in Central China, any comment from my keyboard about the on-the-ground local reality of mammals, reptiles or birds anywhere in Africa makes me feel queasy.

 

Given the experience and wisdom of Safaritalk's active birding group, one would be foolhardy to say much of anything.

 

Certainly you would know best. I have the highest respect for your expertise and years of direct birding experience.

 

Nevertheless, local guides in Kenya may reasonably have a different perspective, based on local realities there.

 

Both of my African pitta sightings were solid. Despite the early evening/late afternoon low light in a forested setting, the call was unmistakable each time and the brief glimpses were unlike anything else.

 

I'm not even remotely a birder. My interest is on whatever life form turns up wherever I may wander. Therefore it never dawned on me that the sightings were unusual.

 

Likewise, those with me in both situations similarly reacted with nonchalance. Perhaps that's a result of ignorance on my part. I could well imagine it.

 

I've contacted a friend who is a university professor in Nairobi. He felt that the species isn't at all scarce, but verified sightings may be.

 

My low-key, modest purpose in asking @kittykat23uk if she'd seen an African Pitta while on safari was for no more reason than she'd mentioned it.

 

She has such lovely bird images (and mammal) that I'd like to see her version, if there was one.

 

Had she replied in the affirmative, I'd have asked her about camera settings and such. I'd like to be prepared for any future visit to Kenya, as I know where to look.

 

I had no idea of involving Safaritalk's authoritative birding group concerning African Pitta sightings, but only wanted to follow-up with @kittykat23uk.

 

Nothing more.

 

What you know and feel is certainly more grounded and authoritative than my casual tourist experience in Kenya.

 

BTW: I've never heard of a Narina Trogon, whatever that is! That reaffirms how little I know about African bird species, Ha!

 

Many thanks for your thoughtful comment and perspective.

 

Tom K.

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kittykat23uk

Thank you @Tom Kellie  you're too kind! :)

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Galana
On 2/22/2019 at 4:05 AM, Tom Kellie said:

BTW: I've never heard of a Narina Trogon, whatever that is!

I got 'called' to this thread by @Peter Connan's reference about Angolan Pitta. Seen em but never captured on pixels (yet). Green-breasted too.

However Tom just for you:-1-DSCN8796.JPG.2e6092f54d56594d09e1e9b8c5aeadfd.JPG

Narina Trogan

1-DSCN9781.JPG.b1b5660d551ae98141026a7eaa51ebad.JPG

and its cousin the Bar-tailed Trogan.

Both from my Ugandan trip last December one of the stars of which was this beauty.

1-DSCN9420.JPG.e380bff965486b8f7178530fcd4a314e.JPG

The equally elusive but very beautiful Shining Blue Kingfisher.

I had walked past the same small stream several times over the last 15 years with no luck and suddenly there it was:-

Hidden but accessible.

And not just one...

1-K3_52051.JPG.d288d1b6618c41d0267946b9b5226a5d.JPG

but a pair.

Having read other 'wants' on this thread I can only say that many are easily seen in Uganda. Black-BeeEaters are a given and there are six species of Turaco so you are spoiled for choice.

That's why I will be back there in 2020 with two friends.  Inshallah!

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Tom Kellie
1 hour ago, Galana said:

I got 'called' to this thread by @Peter Connan's reference about Angolan Pitta. Seen em but never captured on pixels (yet). Green-breasted too.

However Tom just for you:-1-DSCN8796.JPG.2e6092f54d56594d09e1e9b8c5aeadfd.JPG

Narina Trogan

 

~ @Galana

 

On a day already made remarkable by the announcement that @janzin saw no less than three Zorillas in Kenya, you've added to the day's joy.

 

Thank you so much for the image above of the hitherto unknown to me Narina Trogon.

 

What a striking bird! I was unaware that anything comparable might be observed in sub-Saharan Africa.

 

When I first saw your post I thought to myself that it resembled a Quetzal's plumage. Then I read that they're both members of the Trogon family.

 

Who knew? Not I, until you very kindly supplied the lovely image above.

 

As if that were not beauty enough, a Bar-tailed Trogon which is also completely unfamiliar to me. 

 

Then, the Shining Blue Kingfisher, yet another species about which I'd never heard. I need to read a comprehensive guide to African bird species.

 

Although I wouldn't presume to regard my own informal wildlife observations as being authentic birding, I do enjoy spotting avian species during safaris.

 

Your photos and comments above are further incentive to consider a visit to Uganda in the future.

 

Recently @optig  and @dlo have enjoyed excellent sightings in Kidepo and elsewhere. Avid birder @xelas has mentioned his Uganda plans for 2020.

 

Now you've said that you'll also be returning to Uganda year. While I've never visited Uganda, I've considered it several times.

 

From your sightings, it seems to be a more attractive safari destination than before. While I might not spot such lovely bird species, there would surely be much else to enjoy.

 

May you, @xelas,  @Peter Connan,  @janzin, and  @kittykat23uk all have a clear African Pitta sighting in your future!

 

With Appreciation,

 

Tom K.

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xelas

@Tom Kellie thank you very much for your kind wishes. I really hope to see it, and other gems posted by @Galana.

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Galana
3 hours ago, Tom Kellie said:

On a day already made remarkable by the announcement that @janzin saw no less than three Zorillas in Kenya, you've added to the day's joy.

News travels fast. I had also heard that. Sadly I have only seen Zorilla as road kills but it is a reason to keep looking..  Apologies for my  misspelling of TrogOn!

Whilst Uganda cannot as yet compare well as a safari destination, except in the literal sense, it should be on everyone's bucket list. It even has its own species of Kob. Kobus k. thomasi Justly famous for its thriving populations of Gorilla and Chimpanzee, Dian Fossey started in Uganda not Rwanda, and many diverse species of other primate it has many wildlife attractions. Not least a bird species list of over 1100 which, given the lack of a coast line, can compare very well with most African countries. But I am biased so don't take my word for it. Come to the Pearl of Africa and see for yourself. Ugandan birds feature in both my humble efforts at Big years but not 2019.

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Peter Connan

My apologies @Tom Kellie, i did not mean to imply that since the Pitta (and others) are very scarce in my country, that they may not be reasonably common elsewhere, and definitely not that you could not have seen them.

 

I am very glad to hear that they are reasonably common in Kenya.

 

Perhaps someday I will be lucky enough to see one too.

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