Travelling down from Nairobi on the Namanga road, about an hour out of Arusha, one passes a seemingly featureless arid plain that stretches away eastwards toward the distant snowy summit of Kilimanjaro. This tree-less plain is home to what is arguably the rarest bird in all of mainland of Africa. A 'newly-created' passerine species with a global population of at very best one hundred individuals.
April 21, 2006 A few km west of Oldoinyo Sambu, Arusha or Longido District, Tanzania. 1300 hrs. Cloudy: 8/8, calm +/-.
James Wolstencroft, David Peterson, Zeinan and six boys from the Olasiti Orphan's Bird Club.
Mirafra sp ?: same individual flushed by the Landrover several times.
Viewed only from the car, mostly in flight and only once seen well on the ground – closely but briefly and by JW only (my side of vehicle).
A decidedly skulking bird inhabiting long grass with scattered bushes at the western foot of some low hills. Overall a fawn, buff and cinnamon coloured Mirafra, with conspicuously brighter rufous flight feathers, lacking any prominent face pattern. However it showed what I thought was a relatively poorly marked mantle and upperparts, during my one brief, very good deck-view I concentrated very much on the head pattern. It had very conspicuous white (not buff or cinnamon) inner webs to the outer tail feathers.