Observations of mixed-species bird flocks at Kichwa Tembo Camp, Kenya

  • Alasdair IV Gordon
  • Nancy M Harrison


Mixed-species foraging flocks were studied at Kichwa Tembo Camp on the edge of the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya between July and September 2004. Observations were made on 29 mixed-species flocks, in which 24 species participated. African Paradise-Flycatcher Terpsiphone viridis, Black-backed Puffback Dryoscopus cubla, Grey-backed Camaroptera Camaroptera brachyura, Collared Sunbird Hedydipna collaris and Cabanis’s Greenbul Phyllastrephus cabanisi were the most common participants in mixed-species flocks, as well as among the most frequently encountered bird species overall. The Black-backed Puffback was identified as the nuclear species in flocks due to their abundance and frequency with which they were followed by other species. Mixed-species flocks represent another niche dimension in this diverse bird community, but few of these species could be described as flock specialists; most of the birds observed in mixed-species flocks in this study were opportunistic attendant species, including the African Pygmy-Kingfisher Ispidina picta, not previously described as joining mixed-species flocks.

OSTRICH 2010, 81(3): 259–264

Author Biographies

Alasdair IV Gordon
Anglia Ruskin University, East Road, Cambridge, CB1 1PT, UK
Nancy M Harrison
Anglia Ruskin University, East Road, Cambridge, CB1 1PT, UK

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1727-947X
print ISSN: 0030-6525