Sound and vision blog

29 May 2013

Bird Sounds of Kenya - favourites from the A.R. Gregory collection

Mark Peter Wright, supported by the Wildlife Sound Trust, picks some of his favourite bird recordings from the extensive collection of ornithologist A.R. Gregory:

Green Wood Hoopoe, Phoeniculus purpureus

Listening to the Green Wood Hoopoe, you can’t help but smile. Recorded in 1971 by Gregory, the Wood Hoopoe’s distinct ‘giggle’ is often the call of a group’s dominant pair.

Phoeniculus_purpureus_-South_Africa-8a

Rattling Cisticola, Cisticola chiniana

Rattling Cisticolas are notoriously difficult birds to identify due to their small, streaky brown physicality – a somewhat ubiquitous commonality in the avian world! However, as is often the case, listening to their distinct voice is perhaps the best method of identification. On this example you can hear a typical song sequence based on repetition and recombination of vocal patterns.

Cisticola_chiniana_-Gauteng,_South_Africa-8

Splendid Glossy Starling, Lamprotornis splendidus

The Splendid Glossy Starling’s call is a combustible mixture that brings to mind R2D2’s robotic sound FX from the Star Wars films. Flocks of this iridescent purple bird are commonly found amongst tree tops and forest edges. This particular recording was made by Gregory in Kitale, again in 1971.

603px-Lamprotornis_nitens,_Kruger

Bare-faced Go-away Bird, Corythaixoides personata

The Bare-faced Go-away Bird is distinguished from the similar White-bellied Go-away Bird by its bare black face. Often found in open space and along river edges, their distinct murmuring voices and sudden yelps add yet another layer to the soundscape of Kenya. This recording dates to 1974 and was made by Gregory in the Masai Mara. 

480px-Bare-faced_Go-away-bird_(Corythaixoides_personatus)

Further avian field recordings from the Gregory collection can be explored here.

(Images: Hyper7pro / Alan Manson / Anel & Shaun Laurens / Lip Kee Yap)

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