It's a Golden-rumped Sengi! - Observation of the Week, 12/7/21

Our Observation of the Week is this Golden-rumped Sengi (Rhynchocyon chrysopygus), seen in Kenya by @mwas!

Mwangi Gitau grew up in Nakuru, Kenya, about ninety miles west of Nairobi, and says he first became interested in nature when he saw tourists “admire and take photos of the huge flocks of the Lesser Flamingos and other water birds” in Lake Elementeita - a saline lake in Africa’s Great Rift Valley. 

Now he leads birdwatching tours for ConQuest Adventures in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, which is where he photographed the observation of the week. 

The Golden Rumped Sengi was seen in Arabuko Sokoke Forest in Coastal Kenya, during an 8 days birding tour…We were on a trail looking at a Red-capped Robin-Chat, [and] deep in the thickets we could hear noises in the leaf litter. We stayed still for a while, and suddenly the sengi showed up on the trail - that’s how we managed to get the photo. The  Red-capped Robin-Chat follows the sengi when it's feeding because it disturbs insects on the litterfall, which the robin benefits from.  

Most of the clients who visit the forest always include it on their wish list, and luckily we saw close to 10 pairs in a transect of 12 miles for a duration of 3 days.

As its common name suggests, this species of sengi (also known as “elephant shrews”) has gold-colored fur on its hindquarters. This is thought to attract a predator’s attention to that part of its body, which has tougher skin and might deflect teeth or fangs - if they can even get close to this quick animal. Most of their diet consists of various invertebrates, which, as Mwangi explained, they find by digging in the leaf litter. The IUCN lists them as Endangered due to habitat loss and trapping.

Mwangi (above) tells me he’s been on iNaturalist for about three years after being persuaded to join by Mike Plagens (@mjplagens) and says “so far it’s a very good learning platform because you network with experts in all fields.”

- You can check out Mwangi’s bio here!

- Disovery/BBC shot some nice footage of a Rufous Sengi (Galegeeska rufescens).

Posted by tiwane tiwane, December 07, 2021 22:31


Wonderful observation, Mwangi! Thanks for sharing it with us all. :)

Posted by sambiology 8 months ago (Flag)

Just a little praise for Mwangi. Soon after I met him I discovered that every week he volunteers to take young people out for nature watching from Nairobi National Museum. Introducing people to the joy and values of nature is what we need.

Posted by mjplagens 8 months ago (Flag)

Fantastic find! Thanks for sharing your discoveries in person and virtually, Mwangi.

Posted by janetwright 8 months ago (Flag)

Great observation and description of the relationship between the sengi and robin-chats!

Posted by cthawley 8 months ago (Flag)

Wonderful find!

Posted by erikamitchell 8 months ago (Flag)

Cute animal! Thank you for sharing!

Posted by sunnetchan 8 months ago (Flag)

Such fascinating creatures!

Posted by carrieseltzer 8 months ago (Flag)

Brilliant, Thank you for the amazing write-up

Posted by mwas 8 months ago (Flag)

wow amazing!

Posted by sanjana_ 8 months ago (Flag)


Posted by greenesnake 8 months ago (Flag)

Excellent observation! I'd love to see the Red-capped Robin-Chat too!

Posted by williamstephens56 8 months ago (Flag)

Amazing. I would love to see one. Are they throughout Kwale?

Posted by chris_range 8 months ago (Flag)

Very cool! Never seen one before!! Great observation!!!

Posted by oridgen10 8 months ago (Flag)

That´s so damn cool! Amazing not only being able to observe, but even capture it in photo! Great work!

Posted by ajott 8 months ago (Flag)

What a gorgeous creature! Thank you so much for letting us see it!

Posted by susanhewitt 8 months ago (Flag)

Such an interestingly shaped animal, long, delicate snout, tail and legs and that round gold rump. Thx for sharing and pointing out its relationship with the red-capped robin-chat. I'm going to look for those in iNat next. Great find!

Posted by green_rhythm 8 months ago (Flag)

Great observation, this animal reminds me of the prehistoric Leptictida from Walking with Beasts

Posted by fuerchtegott 8 months ago (Flag)

Must travel to your part of the world! Amazing animal! Thank you for sharing it with us.

Posted by amzapp 8 months ago (Flag)

@mwas, You are inspiring! This observation is almost thrilling enough to make me change my username to "grsengi"!

Posted by gcwarbler 8 months ago (Flag)

@gcwarbler, Thank you, go ahead kindly!

Posted by mwas 8 months ago (Flag)

@chris_range They are confined in the Malindi area North of Mombasa, in Arabuko Sokoke forest, Gede area, and Dakatcha Woodlands,

Posted by mwas 8 months ago (Flag)

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