I were contacted by a friend and asked if I could do a bird training session for some of his guides at two of Elewanas locations. Since I did not have any friends visiting I accepted. Our first session would be at the luxurious Elewana Tree tops located in Randilen Wild life Management Area close to the border of Tarangire National Park. We left home early that morning and arrived in time for breakfast.

Day 1, Thursday, November 16, 2023 – Tree tops – Randilen – Tree Tops

After breakfast I did a class room exersize and showed pictures of potential birds we could run into and I was positively surprised by the general bird knowledge of the guides. They were quite sufficient in the bigger birds, but had a little more struggle with the smaller birds. We ran the session to lunch and decided to do a bird drive at 4 PM. Here are some of the birds we discovered on the first afternoon drive: Ring-necked Dove, Violet-backed Starling, Northern Red-billed Hornbill, Magpie Shrike, Red-necked Spurfowl, Swahili Sparrow, Hildebrandt´s Starling, Lilac-breasted Rolller, Red-billed Buffalo Weaver, White-headed Buffalo Weaver, Foxy Lark, Superb Starling, Bateleur, Secretarybird, White-bellied Bustard, Yellow-necked Spurfowl, Red-bellied Parrot, Bare-faced Go-away-bird, Black-faced Sandgrouse, Fischer´s Sparrow-Lark, White-rumped Swift, African Palm Swift, Northern White-crowned Shrike, African Grey Flycatcher,  Wattled Starling, Pied Wheatear, Von der Decken´s Hornbill and Coqui Francolin. We returned to Tree Tops and had a lovely dinner. After dinner we had decided for a night drive. Unfortunately it was not as successfull as some of the guides had indicated. We found a Double-banded Courser with a chick and a single Slender-tailed Nightjar. We heard many African Scops Owls, but could not see any. The last one was calling right outside our room when I came back from the drive.

Some pictures from Day 1:

Northern Red-billed Hornbill, Tockus erythrorhyncus

Red-necked Spurfowl, Pternistis afer

Bare-faced Go-away-bird, Crinifer personatus, Endemic to NE Africa

African Grey Flycatcher, Melaenornis microehynchus, Endemic to NE Africa

Foxy Lark, Calundulauda aplopex, Endemic to NE Africa

Reicheow´s Seedeater, Chritagra reichenowi, Endemic to NE Africa

Yellow-necked Spurfowl, Pyernistis leuco, Endemic NE Africa

Slender-tailed Nightjar, Caprimulgus clarus

Day 2, Friday, November 17, 2023, Treetops – Randilen- Tarangire NP- Ranilen – Tree Tops

We left Treetops around 7. It was longer to Tarangire then anticipated especially since we were birding all the way to the gate. Here are some of the birds we got before we had breakfast at the entrance to Tarangire NP: Tawny Eagle, Helmeted Guineafowl, Grey Kestrel, Egyptian Goose, Bare-eyed Thrush , Brown-crowned Tchagra, Spotted Flycatcher, Meyer´s Parrot, Red-billed Oxpecker, Emerald-spotted Wood Dove, Red-and-yellow Barbet, Rattling Cisticola, Arrow-marked Babbler, Northern Pied Babbler, Yellow-breasted Apalis, Grey-backed Camaroptera, Mosque Swallow, Banded Parisoma, Red-cheeked Cordon-bleu, Speckle-fronted Weaver, White-bellied-go-away-bird, Slate-colored Boubou, White-browed Scrub Robin, Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse, Eastern Chanting Goshawk, Rosy-patched Bushshrike, Yellow-spotted Bush Sparrow, Marico Sunbird, Steppe Eagle, Foxy Lark, Lesser Masked Weaver, Vitelline masked Weaver, White-backed Vulture and Speckled Mousebird. We had a fantastic breakfast at the gate to Tarangire and then continued towards the Silale Swamp. My plan were to do my normal Tarangire loop, but we were way too far from the main gate. I had heard good things about the Silale swamp, but for me it was a great disappointment. We were way too far from the water to get any decent shots. Shortly after entering Tarangire, we saw a couple of lions bye the road. The guides were shocked that I just told them to drive on. I told them that Lions cant fly and it was the same race all over Africa,  Panthera Leo. I have seen hundreds of lions all over Africa and they do not interest me at all. I told them I rather go to South Pare Mountains for an endemic South Pare White-eye. The guides had a great time making fun of the first Mzungu (white man) that did not want to stop for a lion. A couple of weeks later when i did the second training at The Manor in Ngorongoro the story had proceeded me and they all had a good laugh about the crazy Mzungu that did not want to stop for a lion :-). The guides I were training had never ben on a dedicated birding trip and the feedback were that they really enjoyed it. Anyway here are some of the birds we observed in Tarangire NP: African Grey Hornbill, African Pied Wagtail, Pied Crow, Little Swift, Verreaux´s Eagle-Owl, Long-tailed Fiscal, White-browed Coucal, Bateleur, Rufous-tailed Weaver, Cardinal Woodpecker, Silverbird, Pallid Harrier, Nubian Woodpecker, Lesser Striped Swallow, Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, Hamerkop, Long-toed Lapwing, Blue-billed Teal, Barn Swallow, Blacksmith Lapwing, Common Sandpiper, Black-winged Stilt,  Western Cattle Egret, African Jacana, African Fish Eagle, Winding Cisticola, White-winged Tern, Marabou Stork, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Southern Ground Hornbill, Spur-winged Lapwing, White-faced Whistling Duck, Red-chested Cuckoo, Spotted Palm Thrush, Long-tailed Paradise Whydah, Grey Heron, African Sacred Ibis, Grey-crowned Crane, Common Ringed Plover, Red-billed Teal and Common Greenshank. We had now arrived at the picnic site and had a fantastic lunch.  After lunch, we soon entered Randilen again and only picked up a few new species: D´Arnaud´s Barbet, Woodland Kingfisher, Yellow-billed Oxpecker and right before camp Von der Decken´s Hornbill. Back at camp we freshened up and had a delicious dinner.

Some pictures from Day 2:

Red-and-yellow Barbet, Trachyphonus erythrocephalus, Enemic to NE Africa

Moaque Swallow, Cecropis senegalensis

Grey Kestrel, Falco ardosiaceus

Yellow-collared Lovebird, Agapornis personatus, Endemic to Kenya and Tanzania

Female, Marico Sunbird, Cinnyris mariquensis

Red-billed Oxpecker, Buphagus erythroryncus

Steppe Eagle, Aquila nipalensis

Foxy Lark, Calendulauda alopex, Endemic to NE Africa

Vitelline Masked Weaver, Ploceus vitelinnus

Purple Roller, Coracias naevius

Rosy-patched Bushshrike, Telophorus cruentus, Endemic to NE Africa

Ashy Starling, Lamprotornis unicolor, Endemic to Tanzania

Long-tailed Fiscal, Lanius cabanisi, Endemic to NE Africa

Cardinal Woodpecker, Dendropicos fuscescens

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, Merops persicus

Juvenile, Eastern Chanting Goshawk, Melierax poliopterus, Enemic to NE Africa

Great Spotted Cuckoo, Clamator glandarius

Silverbird, Empidornis semipartitus, Localised Endemic to EC Africa

Grey-crowned Crane, Balearica regolorum

Crested Francolin, Ortygornis sephaena

Common ostrich, Struthio camelus

Secretarybird, Sagitarius serpentarius

Black-faced Sandgrouse, Pterocles decoratus, Endemic to NE Africa

Dárnaud´s Barbet, Trachyphonus darnaudi, Endemic to NE Africa

Northern Pied Babbler, Turdoides hypoleuca, Endemic to East Africa

Juv, Verreaux´s Eagle-Owl, Bubo lacteus

Verreaux´s Eagle-Owl, Bubo lacteus

Yellow-billed Oxpecker, Buphagus africanus

Von der Decken´s Hornbill, Tockus deckeni, Endemic to NE Africa

Day 3, Saturday, November 18, 2023, Treetops Randilen . Treetops.

That day we were going to explore Railen WMA before lunch. Here are some of the birds we registered before breakfast: Namaqua Dove, Red-backed Shrike, Red-cheeked Cordon-bleu, Green Wood Hoopoe, Martial Eagle, Swahili Sparrow, Wattled Starling,  Black-winged Kited Spotted Thick-knee, Black-bellied Bustard, Kori Bustard and Black-headed Oriole. We had a fantastic breakfast at Sunset Hill in Randilen. We had both Lappet-faced and Rüppel´s Vulture flying over us while eating. After breakfast we started slowly on our way back to camp and here are some of the birds we recorded: Buff-crested Bustard, Brown Snake Eagle, Grey Wren Warbler, Grey-capped Social Warbler, Fischer+s Sparrow-Lark and European Roller. We reached camp and while having lunch I recorded 4 more species: Yellow-rumped and Red-fronted Tinkerbird, Greater Blue-eared and Red-winged Starling. After lunch, we had a class room session where I showed pictures of more birds to be found in Tarangire + questions and answers. We were driving home tht afternoon and were a little delayed + we picked up 4 of the guides based in Arusha. We made it home safe just after Dark.

Here are some pictures from Day 3:

Swahili Sparrowm Passer suahelicus, Endemic to NE Africa

Martial Eagle, Polemaetus bellicosus

Wattled Starling, Creatophera cinerea

Southern Ground Hornbill, Bucorvus leadbeateri

Female, Black-faced Sandgrouse, Pterocles decoratus, Endemic to NE Africa

Namaqua Dove, Oena capensis

Spotted Thick-knee, Burhinus capensis

Rüppel´s Vulture, Gyps rueppelli

Not the worst spot for your morning coffee? Sunset Hill Randilen WMA, Tanzania

Rufous-tailed Weaver, Histurgops ruficauda, Endemic to Tanzania and S Kenya

Female,Fischer´s Sparrow-Lark, Eremopterix leucopareia Endemic to SE Africa 

Fischer´s Sparrow-Lark, Eremopterix leucopareia Endemic to SE Africa 

Double-banded Courser, Rhinoptilus africanus

Buff-crested Bustard, Lophotis gindiani, Endemic to NE Africa

Tawny Eagle Aquila rapax

Pied Wheatear, Oenanthe pleschanka

Greater Blue-eared Starling, Lamprotornis chalybaeus

Red-winged Starling, Onychognathus morio

To sum it up, it were 3 incredible days with very positive and eager guides that were really interested in further their knowledge about birds. We managed to record exactly 155 species which I was quet happy with. Most of the guides got lifer birds and one of them were so impressed that he also participated in my next training session. Personally, it was nice to finally go to Silale Swamp in Tarangire. It were not very good on the day we went there, but the guides assured me, it were much nice with a lot more birds in other seasons. I was more impressed with Randilen WMA. This is a very nice place for birding. Least but not last Treetops by Elewana were quite an experience. The food were absolutely delicious, the staff were extremely profesional and the rooms were a delight. Well, I am not a mammal fan, but we had all sort of animals coming in to drink at the little waterhole near the dining area. For more information look up Treetops by Elewana on Internet.


A happy bunch of guides + me at our lunch stop at Tarangire on day 2.