Animal of the Week

The Animal of the Week records provides an indication of increase or decrease of animal biodiversity. A selection is made of new or rarer species sited.


Most animals will be birds which are easier to detect and at the same time providing a good indication of availability of insects, which presence reflects diversity of food available.

week: 01-09-2012

The Old Man

Tony asked my attention for the bird overhead. For birdwatchers this is normally done in the middle of a conversation (otherwise the bird is gone). At first I did not believe my eyes while I still associate the "Old Man" (Marabou in French) with the old Africa I knew with safaris and elephants drinking in the river some 40 years back? I was exited that they had followed me after all those years to Pugu, adding a bit of safari feel to the Pugu Hills Nature Centre close to Dar es Salaam a city of millions.

week: 06-07-2012


Charming Slender Snake

Snakes are not really the crowd-pullers of the Pugu Hills Nature Centre. But most of them are beautifully colored or have amazing skin patterns. Like the harmless sandsnake with its beautiful stripes. This fast moving snake is very friendly. On one of the occassions when we tried to get a close-up of the snake our late dog "Fisi" stepped on the poor creature who did not even get angry about it but just wanted to be away from this group of intruders.


week: 26-05-2012


Hyena Foot Prints

The spotted hyena has been a regular visitor over the years at Pugu Hills Nature Centre. The most memorable event being a young hyena who was found unconcious and could not even be reanimated by the sense of a chicken bone in front of his nose. Early next morning he was collected by four adults and dissappeared?

The print of this hyena is more recent (19 May 2012) than the above event which took place some years back.

It has always been difficult to distinguish between the hyenas from the wildlife traders in the area where they can escape under the chicken wire and the wild ones. This latest visit seems to be from free hyenas who also left foot prints along the Mackinnon road

The guests do not need to worry about the hyena visits who are renowed for their cowardness in African tales and studies. You can click on the image to enlarge it and you can distinguish the nail impression which is typical for these dog-like scavangers.



week: 04-04-2012


Trapped in the house for the best Nature Photography

The bird trapped in the house during Eastern holiday was very similar to the previous "animal of the week" (Grey Cuckoo). We could have a case here, the fact that the Grey Cuckoo birds were definitly in a flock which is not the habit of the Lead-coloured Flycatcher gives us the benefit of the doubt.


A flock of silent mystery birds

It is seldom that you have a camera with you when there is a photograph to be made. A group of elegant grey cuckoo shrikes made me run for the camera but in vain, they had left when I was back. With the help of the internet and the bird book, the shrike and his image has been added to the records.
grey cuckoo shrike




A favourite branch for birds

There is a branch of the Long pod Cassia which provides a good view on the nature pool at Pugu Hills. It is also comfortably close to the restaurant deck for photographing. The branch has been visited by the long tailed comorant, bee-eaters and rollers among the more colorful birds. This lovely picture (credit to Maisha) is a Broad-billed Roller with the Long pod Cassia blossom in the background.



Mystery Singing Rat finally solved

For many years we have tried to get a glimpse of the singing "rat" (Kiswahili Panja), as it was described by the nightwatchmen. With a sound close to the squirel song but definitly only at night, we never managed to track down the vocalist, while it was too far, too late or too dark, until last Friday (10/02/2012). Close to the house it could not be missed it eventually exposed itself in the flashlight. A tiny galago (bush baby) able to walk along the bottomside of the tree branch and incredibly agile. No photographs yet nor sound tracks, but we are hopeful it was the Rondo dwarf galalogo. One of 25 top most endangered primates in the world may have found a safe heaven at Pugu Hills with some hope for an improved environment if the present measures to protect the Pugu Forest, start bearing fruits.



week: 11-01-2012

Spotted Eagle Owl

This big owl of some 50 cm height is resting around the football field at daytime and will fly away when somebody is passing on the nature trail

week: 13-12-2011


In the absence of the scientific name the general swahili description of a caterpillar is used. Ku-washa means "burn" or "light" from light the fire. The hair of this caterpillar could be stinging.


week: 7-11-2011

Female Black Cuckoo Shrike

On a dry Sunday, walking towards the small bridge direction camping hill around 14:00 p.m I was stopped by a flock of Retz' helmet shrikes (see Animal of the Week 31-10—2011). Checking their numbers more and more different birds arrived around me. Highlights, the beautiful Paradise fly-catcher, the colorful sulphur breasted bush shrike, the miniscule little yellow flycatcher, the acrobatic dark backed weaver and the female black cuckoo shrike which had more tiger like colors than the one on the picture

Suni Antilope

On the same Sunday one of our guests saw on the same track to the camping hill, what she described as a baby antilope. These tasty miniature dikdiks of the forest are called Suni Antilope and some still seem to be able to outwit the village poachers. One trick is to settle at the Pugu Hills Nature Center where the dogs are too lazy and the humans seem to have other ways of obtaining food.



week: 31-10-2011

Retz' Helmet Shrike

The last days a flock of noisy Retz' Helmet Shrikes has visited the camp hill in the morning. The energetic birds inspect tree to tree for any treat while at the same time attracting all attention chasing insects and being very vocal.