Let me start by saying that I am not saying that the Australian naturalist who discovered and named this bird either liked Gin and Tonics or wore Khakis, although I am pretty sure he did.

However, as much as his imagination was wrought with creativity, so does my mind wander off to a setting equally vibrant. And while we’re deep down in the dark of this ‘imagicave’ of mine, for good measure, lets go ahead and add a smoking pipe to the khaki clad gin and tonic-er.

Admittedly, the Brubru was a lifer for me on this trip, and my first sighting of it was from afar as it gave impressions of an overweight Batis. Which is what I yelled out with the confidence of “astounding ornithological authority”.

With no one around to correct me, I moved on swiftly to larger, more easily identifiable members of avifauna. It was not till later that night in a khaki-free, sober note at the campfire while conferring with a field guide that I smacked myself across the head as if to swat an insatiable mosquito (in the event anyone saw me).

However, no one was the wiser then and if not for this blog post, no one would have known that khakis influence and channel precise and masterful identification based on deduction and years of knowledge.

What I should have paid attention to, when confidently mis-id’ing the Brubru, was the call.

The Brubru – momentarily disregarding nomenclature – is a fascinating bird on several levels. Albeit wanting to side step nomenclature, it useless to mention the fascination without mentioning that though it is classified as a bush-shrike, it stands alone in its genus: Nilaus, and the word Brubru according to Urban Dictionary is “a nonsensical term of friendship or endearment towards a person of Orient” (bat your eyelids didjya?).

While we’re on that subject, whilst bush-shrikes were considered related to true shrikes, the two families are not closely related. Which is odd (to me), considering they share a few anatomical similarities. Then again, if that was a solid argument then I would have no trouble talking to girls (all being human beings and all), and yet, I seem to hit barriers quite often. I blame the khakis.

The other fascinating feature are its physical attributes of rufous markings that contrast the black and white feathers and it’s striking superciliary stripe with beak that professes lizard hunting capabilities (which is a very shrikey thing). But mostly, the call of the Brubru is – dare I say – Brutiful?

There, I said it!

Like other bush-shrikes, the Brubru is a talented ventriloquist and whistler of long – throwing, flutey “toot toot truuuu’s” that are responded to with love by a female as they ‘wooingly’ duet hot afternoons away.

To end this bird blog, Birlog®©, I would like to mention that this bird was spotted at the Selenkay Conservancy at the Game Watchers Camp and the place begs a visit. I also had one of my best kill/ hunting sightings there. Stay tuned to be surprised at exactly what hunted what (you will be bafflingly Brubru’ed).

Keep it Baobab for the next Birlog.

Till then, keep eyes in the sky and let me know if you spot a cool bird or need help with an ID.

A day after the first ID-ing it, I spent a little more time at its favorite tree and got a shot of the Brubru.


Northern pied babblers. Some of the wonderful bird life at Selenkay


Tawny Eagle in flight. Some of the wonderful birdlife at Selenkay


Brown Snake Eagle in flight. Some of the wonderful bird life at Selenkay