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.



Visiting Ngorongoro Conservation Area – Part 1

The Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) is administered separately from the Tanzanian National Parks with separate fees.  If you are headed to Serengeti, you have to pass through NCA first and pay both sets of fees!  They aren’t cheap either at $50 per foreigner per day.  There is also a fee for the car and driver which are paid at Tanzania rates (unless you come in with a foreign car) and will usually be included with your car hire or safari package.  If you want to go into the crater, it’s another $200 on top!  I had been in the crater back in the 90’s in my backpacking/camping days and I knew the birds would be easily seen up top so we didn’t pay the extra for the crater.  Days are periods of 24 hours so if you enter at 12 noon, you must leave before 12 noon.  Mid-day is the best time to enter as it gives you time to view the crater, have lunch at the picnic area and get to your lodge in time for an afternoon game drive.  Then you have the next morning to do another game drive, have breakfast and get back to the gate before time runs out.

This is where you pay the fees or your driver-guide does it on behalf of all of you.  There’s a small shop, a few displays of animals and clean toilets.


Little Bee-eaters

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There is a nice viewpoint where you can hop out, walk around in the vicinity and get a great view of the crater.  There are also toilets at this area if you need them.  It’s about 20 min from the gate.

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The picnic area wasn’t the best, no tables and benches like the one at Tarangire.  These little Weaverbirds kept us entertained while we had lunch.

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Sorry, we don’t have room for hitch-hiking giraffes!

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There are Masai people living in the NCA and grazing their herds here which is different from the other national parks.


Directions to some of the lodges in NCA including ours – the Ndutu Safari Lodge.


Egyptian Goose

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After checking in at the lodge (which I will blog about separately), we headed off on a short game drive.  Be sure to check what time you have to be back in the lodge grounds, it will be around dusk but varies according to time of year.


Lilac-breasted Roller

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D’Arnaud’s Barbet

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In the distance, one of my all-time favourites – a Secretarybird poses majestically, then flies off.

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Superb Starling


Sorry, I can’t find this guy in the bird book but he looks like he got lost on his way to the ski slopes!  I mean seriously, check out those fluffy boots!


Superb Starlings in flight

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Another group got to the Maribou Storks first.  The land across the lake belongs to Serengeti NP and in some places the border weaves in and out.  You have to be careful to stay inside the park boundaries you paid for!

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European Roller

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Hildebrandt’s Starling


And the sun sets on yet another wonderful day!

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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………..