Beautiful Sunbird (Cinnyris pulchella)

The Beautiful Sunbird (Cinnyris pulchella) (formerly placed in the genus Nectarinia), is a sunbird. The sunbirds are a group of very small Old World passerine birds which feed largely on nectar, although they will also take insects, especially when feeding young. Flight is fast and direct on their short wings. Most species can take nectar by hovering like a hummingbird, but usually perch to feed most of the time.

The name and the description are the same.  I managed to get a few good photos in Ndutu and Tarangire.

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The much duller female


They have a large range stretching from the West Coast of Africa to Ethiopia in the east and as far south as Tanzania.  Look for them in flowering plants in lodges, they seem to know a good free feed when they see one!  The red dot shows Ndutu where I had my best sighting.






There are a few clips from the Gambia on IBC as well as this one from YouTube.


Fischer’s Lovebird (Agapornis fischeri)

The Fischer’s lovebird (Agapornis fischeri) is a small parrot species of the Agapornis genus. They were originally discovered in the late 19th century, and are named after German explorer Gustav Fischer.

I managed to get up close and personal with some at Ndutu Safari Lodge where they frequent the garden and small pond near the dining room.

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Trying to catch one in flight – turned out blurry.

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Nesting site just outside the lodge.

IMG_7049 IMG_7050 IMG_7057 IMG_7057aMost of their range is in Tanzania but they do extend into Kenya a bit.  The best place by far to practically guarantee good sightings of Fischer’s Lovebirds is Ndutu Safari Lodge (red dot) in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area in Tanzania.  Some people on Xeno-Canto have reported sightings in Lake Navaisha, Kenya – see below.



World Parrot Trust


African Wildlife Foundation



This was filmed at Ndutu Safari Lodge, the same place I was.

If you are under 18, stop here.  If you are not, see the following two videos to see how Lovebirds got their name!

These are captive bred birds but LOL at the satisfied reaction of the male!  And his girlfriend just wanted to dig a hole and disappear!

Ngorongoro Conservation Area – Part 2

Continuing on from Part 1, we are starting with an early morning game drive before breakfast.  Some Thompson’s Gazelles were grazing at the pond which straddles the border with Serengeti.


Flamingoes make a nice reflection.

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Mourning Dove


Blacksmith Plover


Grey-breasted Spurfowl

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Lilac-beasted Roller

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This next batch of photos covers the drive after breakfast as we leave the lodge and start the drive back to Arusha.  Fischer’s Lovebirds were there to say goodbye.


This mixed herd of Wildebeest and antelopes is just a tiny fraction of what you see during the great migration.




Silver-backed Jackal

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Vultures cleaning up someone’s dinner from last night.


Camels generally belong to Masai people.

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Closer to the gate we start seeing our friends the Little Bee-eaters and Weaverbirds again.


One last look at the crater

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And time to say goodbye to the NCA.  But not without drama!  We were 8 minutes overdue for leaving although the clock on the car and both our phones – mine & the drivers said we were 5 minutes early.  They let us go but not without a sound scolding!

Lesson learned – synchronize your watches when you enter and don’t cut it too close!


Lodge Review: Ndutu Safari Lodge, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania

The first thing I saw on their home page was a photo of lots of vibrant Fischer’s Lovebirds – and I knew we had to stay there.  Ndutu Safari Lodge didn’t disappoint either in wildlife nor in facilities.  It was awesome!

Prices are very reasonable for this part of Tanzania, I think you save a bit by not actually entering Serengeti NP but by being on the border in the NCA with similar wildlife.  After seeing all the birds in the area, I wish we could have stayed longer than the one night.


As you enter, you see the reception area and the rear of some rooms as the rooms face a plain where you can watch wildlife.

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They have a shop but it was closed by the time we arrived.


They have an excellent display of informational boards about the wildlife to be found in the lodge surrounds.

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Nice to see which birds to look for!

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Here is our bungalow with the backpacks sitting outside.  Yes, that really is ALL we traveled for a month in Africa with!

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This room could hold up to 4 people but it was nice to have extra room to sort our stuff out.


Coffee & tea is provided but there are better varieties of both in the dining room.


The bathroom was huge!


Storage cabinet, thankfully we didn’t need the umbrella.


This bungalow is actually a duplex and the closest one to the dining room and the pond where the lovebirds come to drink, I had requested this.


Most people get at least a breakfast and dinner package as there is no where else to eat.  The food was really good.  Don’t forget to try some of the exotic teas!

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The garden was gorgeous and apparently this sunbird agrees!  I think it’s a female by the colour.


Caution not to go beyond a certain point, there are wild animals out there!


Fischer’s Lovebirds!  They were readily seen around the lodge and not afraid to pose for photos.

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Scarlet-breasted Sunbird


Caught in the headlights – now you know what it really looks like!


The resident Genet.  These guys are not cats as some people call them, you can tell by the face.  This one is a mother and I caught a glimpse of her baby but he wouldn’t come out for a photo.  Genets are very elegant and graceful and it was fun to watch her antics during dinner.  She caught and ate a large moth.

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A well-named Beautiful Sunbird


The best thing to do at Ndutu is to stake out this little pond and see who comes in for a drink.  It’s within sight of the dining room so have a leisurely breakfast and coffee and enjoy the show!

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Laughing Doves


Nubian Woodpecker


Beautiful Sunbird

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Inquisitive Fischer’s Lovebird


Bathing beauties!


Another educational poster at the lodge.



Tarangire To Ngorongoro – Getting There Was Half The Fun

I could have called this the “scenic route” to Ngorongoro but in Africa just about everything is scenic!  We got a somewhat late start but who wouldn’t when there are all these delightful little Yellow-collared Lovebirds and Red-billed Firefinches to watch!  This is where I am different from normal birders or “twitchers”.  I can happily sit and watch a couple of interesting species for hours rather than running around ticking boxes off a list.

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The driver finally convinced me to go so we headed off back down the road towards Arusha past the Masai villages and farms.

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It never ceases to amaze me how these ladies do this!


Then we turned off down the road to Ngorongoro & Serengeti which proved equally as scenic.

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Along the way, there were lots of these little art stands.

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I resisted the temptation to shop until we reached the village of Mto Wa Mbu.

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This larger art market had much more variety so I just had to stop and shop.  Prices were extremely negotiable and I found some nice bird paintings in the traditional Tingatinga style to bring home for us and for gifts.

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We drove past the Lake Manyara NP, if we had had more time we could have stopped in but it was close to noon so not the best timing.

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After passing more handicraft stalls, we came to the town of Karatu which is a dry dusty town that didn’t really interest us, though we did top up the fuel tank.

IMG_6805 IMG_6807 IMG_6808A few km further and we reached the gates of Ngorongoro Conservation Area………..