Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Things about the flightless bird.

The ostrich is flightless bird that actually native in the country. It is the largest living bird and has managed to generate a lot of curiosity among people due to its large body size and inability to fly.

The ostrich belongs to the ratite family of bird. The male ostrich is called a rooster while a female ostrich is called a hen. The ostrich’s eye measures almost two inches across which makes it the largest eye of land animal. The ostrich is the largest and heaviest living bird in the world.

The bird is flightless bird for many reasons. 1st it has small and loose feathers and does not have a breast bone which is common to most birds. An ostrich can go onto life for almost fifty years.

An ostrich habitat varies and though they were initially found in the savannah region and certain parts in the country. Female ostriches have the uncanny ability to recognize her own eggs, even if they are mixed with those of other female ostrich in their communal nest.
An ostrich hen can lay somewhere between forty to hundred eggs in a year. One ostrich egg weighs 1.6kg or 1600 grams, which is equivalent to the weight of about twenty four chicken eggs and takes two hours to hard boil. An ostrich egg hatches in forty two days. Ostriches are very powerful birds much so that a single kick to a predator like a lion , dogs or hyena could prove to be fatal.

Ostrich can run at a pace of up to 70 km/h. thus, they can outrun most land predators such as lions, leopards and hyenas. A fully grown ostrich has one of the strongest and most advanced immune systems known to mankind. Despite being a flightless bird, ostrich have wings which serve much other purpose. Ostrich hold their wings out to help them maintain their balance when they run, which specially comes in handy of the suddenly change direction while the main purpose of their wings is to display them along with their tail feathers during courtship. To show dominance an ostrich holds its head up high and lifts its wings and its tail feathers. To show submission, the head, wings and tail drop down.

When an ostrich senses a danger and cannot run away, it flops to the ground and remains still with its head and neck flat on the ground in front of it. As the head and neck are light colored, they seem to blend with the soil which makes it look like the ostrich has buried its head in the sand. Ostrich meat resembles beef in its appearance and is cooked in a similar manner as the beef. This meat is very low in cholesterol and is almost free of fat. Ostriches are omnivores and they eat whatever is available in their habitat at different times of the year, they mostly eat plants, especially the roots, seeds and leaves. They enjoy munching on insects like locusts and small animals like lizards.

They get adequate amount of water from plants they eat. Although they drink water if they reach a pond or water holes. They prefer to live in groups which help them to keep predators at bay. Due their long necks and keen vision, they can see long distances and from a distance. The ostrich has only two toes on each foot, which helps to give it more speed while running.  

Peter K. Philip
 Natural Track Safaris

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Wildebeest migration

This world famous migration is a circle of life
which, in simple terms, means that there isn't a
start or an end. Only where the herds are located
at a particular time. The big determinant is the
availability of pastures.   The plains of Ngorongoro
Conservation Area in Serengeti are a favored spot
as grass abounds and the wildebeest find a safe
place to graze. It is also here that over 500,000 new
calves are born and many are taken by the nearby
waiting Jackals or Hyenas.

New borns have little time to strengthen their legs.
As soon after birth, the “pilgrim" continues.

By April, the rains are over in southern Serengeti
and the plains have dried up. The great herds then
gather and face the long march northwards and
westwards. The natural lawn mowers abandon
the exhausted grasslands of southern Serengeti to
head for the already tall grass of the Western
corridor, near the shores of Lake Victoria.

The pioneers of the migration movement are
the majestic herds of zebras. They prefer the long
stems of the coarse grass. This way, they leave behind
shorter grass which is favored by the wildebeests.

In late June to July the mass start pouring into
the Kenya Masai Mara reserve where fresh, tender
and mineral-rich grass is already waiting. Here
they meet the resident Mara populations which
add up to about 150,000. Also commonly referred
to as the Loita plains herds, they spend most of the
season northeast of the Mara. When it gets dry, they
pour into the interior of the Mara in search of greener

The migrating herds spend roughly 3 to 31/2 months
in the Mara crossing through Sand River, which is a
tributary of the Mara along the boundary of Kenya
and Tanzania. They trek westwards and cross the
Mara river and sometimes the Talek river. Usually
around this time heavy rains on the Mau Escarpment
(origin of Mara River) fill the Mara river to the brim.

This is a good time to watch the trunk-looking
Crocodiles, while they await the forthcoming feast.
Finally, the gnus (wildebeests) venture into the river.
This gregarious coordinated behavior of the herds,
usually teamed with zebras, creates an unimaginable scene.
Just what the cameras have been waiting for.

They wander along the river looking for a
convenient crossing point. This is a moment
filled with tension for both the gnus(wildebeests)
and the audience.

They survey for a less steep and with no obvious
danger. Finally, one takes courage and plunges
into the river and magically the rest falls onto
the footsteps and in one organized line cross the river.

In addition to the crocodiles, accidents also occur.
The river’s current can be too strong for some especially
the young ones. Or simply getting stuck between the rocks in
the river and breaking limbs, a direct ticket to the jaws
of the giant crocodiles. Finally, the crossing is done
and the trek to their unknown (or known)  destiny continues.

In the month of October, they are already heading
to Serengeti where the rains have treated the southern
grasslands to lush, green carpet of rich grass. Once
again, they are heading to the southern plains, where
a new generation will be born to start the cycle of
life all over again

 Shared by Peter K. Philip
Kenya luxury safari
Natural Track Safaris

Saturday, May 16, 2015

The East African Oryx

The East African Oryx (Oryx beisa), also known as the Beisa. Occurs in two subspecies, Common Beisa Oryx (Oryx beisa beisa) and Fringe-eared Oryx (Oryx beisa callotis) which are found in semi-desert throughout the Horn of Africa and north of the Tana River. The oryx weighs around 175 kilograms (350 pounds) and stands at a height of above a metre at the shoulder. They have a grey coat with a white underside, separated from the grey by a stripe of black; there are also black stripes where the head attaches to the neck, along the nose and from the eye to the mouth and on the forehead. The oryx, is a true desert animal, with long, spear-like horns, thick, horse-like neck with a short mane and a compact, muscular body. The ringed horns are thin and straight which are found on both sexes and typically a measure of 75–80 cm. The dominance hierarchy among oryx is based on age and size. As they grow, calves assess one another in tests of strength that look like games. Ritual displays replace actual contact, except when evenly matched individuals may have to fight to establish their rank. A female leaves the herd to give birth and hides the calf for 2 or 3 weeks, visiting a few times a day to nurse it. The newborn is an inconspicuous brown color. The black markings begin to appear when the calf is ready to return to herd with its mother. Calves are suckled for 6 to 9 months and reach maturity at 18 to 24 months. Like the other antelopes the oryx feeds in early morning and late afternoon. 

Their diet mainly consists of coarse grasses and browse from thorny shrubs. In desert areas they consume thick leaved plants, wild melons, and roots and tubers they dig out of the ground. With Some plants increasing their water content by 25 to 40 percent, so when oryx feed late at night or early in the morning, they maximize both food and water sources. They are able to store water by raising their body temperature. oryx are hunted for their meat and hide and  in many cultures, the horns of the oryx are sought after as charms; even in medieval England they were marketed as unicorn horns. Also lions, hunting dogs, hyenas and leopards. The oryx is a good example of an antelope that has successfully adapted to the harsh conditions of dispersed food, intense heat and little or no water. The female comes into heat soon after giving birth. The more frequent estrus cycles enable females to produce calves at 9-month intervals. 

Peter K. Philip
Natural Track Safaris

Monday, May 4, 2015

How Elephants positioned their young ones.

Have you noticed something on the positioning of the young
elephants by their parents while on the move? Learn the reason
why on family safari Kenya.