29 December 2012

Kenya: Nairobi Park Diary - Mbuni Tales

Just a few weeks ago many people observed many Ostrich couples pairing during their mating season with elaborate wing flapping dances and very red necks the males do everything possible to attract the female to ensure they continue to survive.

I always enjoy this time of year in the park when the chicks hatch as it is quite a sight to see more than 20 small fluffballs following their parents.

Unfortunately the chick mortality is high due to predation. However, a healthy population of about 150 ostrich live in the Nairobi park.

They are interesting to watch. They are the largest birds in the World and cannot fly due to size and weight. However, to compensate for the inability to fly, ostrich can run quite fast and if threatened will turn sharply and twist at full speed.

The males look majestic with their black feathers and white undercarriage while the females are a drab grey. Just imagine if women in our world looked drab and did not care for fashion?

They also regularly swallow stones to help the digestion process. It is no wonder they can't fly with that extra weight! The species in the Nairobi park are the southern sub-species with pink/reddish legs.

Kenya is also one of the few places where the rarer northern (Somali ostrich) sub-species with its blue legs is found. Locally Ostrich are also known in Kiswahili as Mbuni.

So bring the family and spend the day in the park, go with a "birdwatching" attitude and you will be surprised at how many other animals can also be seen, if you slow down to the pace of nature.The park is open daily from 06h00 to 19h00.

For more information on the park you can link to the following websites www.kws.org or www.nairobigreenline.com or on facebook.

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