Small warbler – perhaps a Cisticola – amongst fearsome Acacia thorns, any one of which could so easily transfix it; probably in Nairobi National Park, in the late 1970s.

The Cisticolas are a group of small warblers that that all look very similar to each other; they are the archetypal “small brown birds”.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window – recommended.

Technique: OM-1 with a Vivitar 400mm telephoto; Agfa CT18 colour slide film rated at 64 ISO; Lightroom.  This would have been taken from the window of my car, from one of the tracks in the National Park.


I’m re-posting photographs that I took in Kenya over 30 years ago.  You can find more context here .  Click onto the “Archive Kenya” tag (below) to see more of these film images from Kenya.


About Adrian Lewis
Photographer - using mono, colour and combinations of the two - many types of subject, including Minimalism, landscapes, abstracts, soft colour, people, movement, nature - I like to be adventurous, trying new ideas, working in multiple genres. And I've a weakness for Full English Breakfasts and Duvel golden ale, though not necessarily together.


  1. bluebrightly says:

    “Small brown birds” were known as “LBJ’s” in the New York birding world back in the 70s. Little brown jobs – that’s a very New York slang kind of interpretation. I think mushroomers have a similar acronym. Those thorns are huge! In the US southwest, in the desert, there are species that successfully nest among thorns. But once I saw several dead birds caught in a cactus – it was pretty horrifying.


  2. Meanderer says:

    Ah, I remember this beautiful image well. Those thorns are incredibly long and I guess it’s a good place for birds to attain cover from possible predators.


  3. Andrew says:

    When I made my first trip to Kenya – 17 days and 500+ species – I ended up hating cisticolas. In fact the group decided that the most common species was the Effing Cisticola. I have grown to like them a little more now but they are a nightmare for the beginner in the field.


    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Now I forget many things these days and this may be one of them – but I didn’t know you’re a birder, Andrew! Wonderful!

      I was a birder 1967 to about 2002, and I wrote the species accounts for the Kenyan bird atlas, I led safaris (incl bird ones) there >>> and I also wrote several articles on Cistocola identification for the EA Nat Hist Soc Bulletin.

      So do you go on foreign birding trips these days – altho I suppose not due to covid. Do you do a lot of birding in the UK? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. krikitarts says:

    I am often amazed with birds’ ability to fly into spiky haunts like this, with practically no reports of their having become impaled in the process. It reinforces a vision that I’ve long held, that their thought processes work so much faster than ours.


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