Why Lake Naivasha is a Bird Watching Tourism Paradise

Lake Naivasha is found in Naivasha town within the rift valley region in Kenya. It lays North West of Nairobi which is a two hour ride from the capital city by the use of road. The place has cool weather which makes it favorable for relaxing with your family or friends and for bird watching tourism this the place to be during bird’s migration. It offers one of the best roosting and breeding habitat for both Long-tailed and Great cormorant. These birds have found safe heavens in the tall Acacia trees next to the water where most predators aren’t able to access easily. At their nesting site, a birder is welcomed with calls and noises from both the adult and juvenile birds calling out for each other. Birding in Lake Naivasha is fun as you move into the deep waters using boats. As you move you’re able to spot from a distance the hippos in their territories playing. The place to spot the Giant King fishers as they patiently waits for fish in the adjacent trees. Lake Naivasha is home to the noisy African Fish Eagle flying over the water most of the time. There are hundreds of different bird species that have been recorded ranging from water birds constituting over 90 species with majority being migratory birds. It’s known to be a stopover point for migrating birds to feed, drink and roost.

Different types of birds head to Lake Naivasha due to the availability of submerged macrophytic growth and diverse plankton at many feeding and breeding sites. With papyrus vegetation in the Lake provide a home to the Papyrus yellow warbler, globally threatened and vulnerable specie. Other threatened birds species to be spotted includes the Papyrus Gonolek, White winged Swamp-warbler and Papyrus Canary. Once you are done with bird watching in the lake, it’s time to move and your next stop should be the Centre for Education in Sustainability, Elsamere with over 100 bird species visiting the center. The center offers camping facilities and accommodation and provides the best opportunity for residential tourists. The centre has been the training venue for Fundamentals of Ornithology, an annual course for beginning and experienced birders from all over the world

Lake Naivasha is a fresh water lake which is the second largest lake among the lakes in Kenya after Lake Victoria. The blue waters of the lake offer reflection of spectacular views of mount Longonot which has well laid vegetation. What makes its the bird watching tourism centre is that beside the lake there is the famous Hell’s Gate national park which has different species of game. One can take a walk within the park to experience some of its beauty. This can be done with the help of a guide to ensure no accidents and the security of the visitors. The Lake has been declared a ramsar site and support wide range of biodiversity both aquatic and terrestrial. “Ramsar site is a wetland of international importance with various unique ecological values and a rich biodiversity including endangered species”. Lake Naivasha is a hub to horticultural and floriculture farming providing employment to the residents generating foreign exchange for Kenya.

Being a fresh water lake, there is adequate fish especially Tilapia which makes it one of the great meals for the tourists. There are boats for those who love fishing and one can catch their own fish and prepare a camp fire to cook or roast. The lake has many varieties of fish to catch hence this is a great recreational activity. One can also travel around the lake with the help of the boats. This makes one have a closer feel of the lake and a view of the environs without having to look at it from the shores.

Along the lake there are hundreds of species of birds such as the king fishers, herons and love bird. The birds can be viewed flying above the sky while others walking along the shores. The birds also emit lovely tunes which give the area more color and beauty.
It also has spectacular game viewing of animals such as the hippopotamus, lion, giraffe, buffalo, monkeys and cheetah. The animals can be viewed from a distant or one can go near to have a closer look. There is also the stunning view of the sunrise early in the morning and the sunset in the evening. The sun is reflected on the lake making it remarkably adorable and beautiful as it rises and sets.

For visitors there are ample hotels and lodges to accommodate hundreds of customers. There are also camping facilities offered so one can choose the best accommodation that suites them best. The buildings offer beautiful views of the lake and its blue water.

Why Kenya is one of the best birding countries in the world

Located on the eastern coast of Africa, Kenya experiences tropical climate. The country which lay astride the equator also has the Great Rift Valley passing through it with over 1000 bird’s species from endemic to migrant to water birds and stretching from north-west Kenya into Tanzania. Now this is what makes Kenya the best birding country in the world, the world has a total of 50 species of Cisticola; with this, 46 species are found in Africa, while Kenya host 28 species amounting to over 50% and host a variety of bird species making it one of the best destinations for rare bird sighting. Birding in Kenya is made easier right from the capital city on your arrival with the ability to spot Nairobi birds. With many birding tours and safari companies you are guaranteed to move across the country with ease and comfort. In Kenyan’s rift valley lays Lake Naivasha, a ramsar site with over 300 bird species providing a hot spot for bird twitchers and nature lovers.

The climate and the geographical features of the country contribute to its many tourist attractions, among them being Lake Bogoria in the rift valley province, the many tourist attraction sites in Nairobi, and the popular wildebeest migration. Kenya offers a variety of vacation activities including mountain climbing in Mount Kenya, Kilimanjaro among others.
Popularly known as the ‘green city in the sun,’ Kenya’s capital city, Nairobi, offers a varied number of tourist attractions. Amongest them are the spectacular buildings such as the Kenyatta International Conference Centre, located centrally in the city. Completed in 1974, the building hosts many meetings, exhibitions, conferences and seminars. Architecturally designed in the shape of a hut, the 33-storey building offers a spectacular view in the city centre. Also within central Nairobi is the Parliament House, an iconic building whose main attraction is the clock tower. Adjacent to it, is the mausoleum of Kenya’s first president, Jomo Kenyatta, another tourist attraction. Another major iconic structure within the city is the Jamia Mosque, designed in Arabic Muslim architecture. Built to preserve and promote the cultural heritage of the Kenyan people, the Bomas of Kenya situated in Lang’ata, is a major custodian of artifacts and values of the Kenyan people. The Kenya National Archives along Moi Avenue is another attraction that boasts a huge art gallery.

The National Museum of Kenya, a world-class museum located at Museum Hill, has a rich collection of animal exhibitions, art galleries, artifacts and ancient tools including weapons and instruments. National Museum has been conducting bird ringing in the country together with likeminded organization such as Kenya Wildlife Service, AROCHA Kenya among others. Bird ringing exercise helps in bird identify new migrants and resident species.
Another museum in Nairobi is the Karen Blixen Museum, at the foot of Ngong Hills, designed in Danish architecture. The building was owned by Karen Blixen, and after her departure, it was donated to the Kenyan government by the Danish government after Kenya gained independence. Also within the city is the Railway Museum near the Nairobi Railway Station. It exhibits ancient steam locomotives and the engineering designs of ancient railway construction. For the lovers of wildlife, the Giraffe Centre in Lang’ata offers tourists a close encounter with the tall ungulate mammals, while the Mamba Village in Karen is a great place to see crocodiles, different bird species, amongst them ostriches, and giraffes. The major wildlife attraction site in the city is the Nairobi National Park, located 7 kilometres from central Nairobi. It boasts a wide variety of wildlife and bird species, with the Nairobi orphanage situated within it. The orphanage offers refuge for injured and abandoned wildlife. Close to the National Museum is the Snake Park that prides itself in a wide range of snake species. Nairobi National park a few minutes ride from the city centre, in fact the only capital city with a national park hosting a number of birds and wildlife making it one of the best destination for bird watching. Kenya has a recorded over 1000 bird species from migrant to endemic.

In the volcanic region of the Rift Valley, lies the equatorial Lake Bogoria, a shallow and long basin of saline water estimated to cover 34 square kilometers. Located 260 kilometers from Nairobi, the lake offers an aesthetic view of flamingoes and pelicans, among other bird species. It is also famous for its blowholes, hot springs, geysers, fumaroles and steam jets along the western shore. From the lake, one has a scenic view of the Laikipia escarpment.

Wildebeests are large hoofed antelopes with an approximate height of 50 inches at the shoulder. Considered a ‘Wonder of The World’, watching the wildebeest migration is an amazing experience, as they move in search of water and fresh grass. The Serengeti Plains in Tanzania experience rains in the months of March and April, which is the mating season for the wildebeests. In May, the amount of rainfall starts decreasing and the animals start travelling north towards Kenya. The animals move in huge numbers, with the strong bulls defending secured grazing areas. In July, the animals cross River Grumeti in Tanzania, a major attraction site, as the animals cross the crocodile-infested river. The grass in this region dries by July and the animals move further north into Kenya. Crossing the Mara River is another struggle for the animals as they try to get past the many crocodiles preying on them in the river. The animals graze in Kenya until November. Rains start in Serengeti by early December and the wildebeests move back south to Tanzania.

These, among many other tourist attraction sites in the country, place Kenya among major tourist destinations in the world. The country receives millions of tourists annually, both local and international.

The Best Kenya Tourist Attractions National Parks and Game Reserves for Safari Holidays

The Amboseli National Park

The park is located in Kajiado County, 140 kilometers south of Nairobi in the Rift valley province found in Kenya.  The governing body of the park is Kenya Wildlife service in conjunction with the Kajiado county and the Maasai community. Park was set aside as the southern reserve for Maasai in 1906 but returned to local control as a reserve in 1948. The park was formerly called Masai Amboseli game reserve before the name was changed to Amboseli national park in the year 1974. The park covers 392 square kilometres which makes it one of the biggest parks in Kenya. The word Amboseli means ‘salty dust’ in Maasai language. The ‘salty dust’ was the volcanic ash that occurred during the Mt.Kilimanjaro eruptions thousands of years ago. The local people are mostly the Maasai people but people from other communities have settled around the area attracted by the strong economy in the area that has grown due to tourism and good agricultural climate that exists along the swamps. The area is famous for being among the best places in Africa to get close and watch great elephants due tothe high elephant population which can be seen walking and grazing in large herds. The area has low rainfall averaging 350 mm which makes the area one of the best wildlife viewing experiences in the world as one can visit at any time of the year. The animals found in the area include elephants, buffalo, Impala,lion, cheetah, hyena, giraffe, zebra and wildebeest. Over 400 species of bird such as the water birds, pelicans, kingfishers and 47 types of raptors can be seen in groups along the park. Amboseli national park also offers spectacular views of the peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro which during the early light at dawn is adark hue with purple-like colour and the snow appearing into an ethereal pink.It also protects two of the five parks in the area and there is a dried uppleistocene lake. Ecosystem is mainly savannah which spread across the Kenya-Tanzania border. The roads in Amboseli have a loose surface of volcanic soil that is dusty during the dry season often crossed by whirlwinds sending columns of dust in the sky and impassable during the wet season. The park is centred on a large hill with spectacular views of the surrounding plains.

There are lodges to accommodate visitors and also camps for those who love camping hence assuring you of having great time with a visit to Amboseli.

Masai Mara National Game Reserves

Masai Mara is located in the south –western part of the rift valley province of Kenya. It was originally established in 1948 but extended to the east in 1961 in order to cover a large area and it’s governed by Trans-Mara in conjunction with Narok county government.The park is a continuation of the Serengeti national park found in Tanzania stretching 1510 square kilometres raising 1500 to 2170 metres above the sea level. It’s bounded by Serengeti Park to the south, Siria escarpments to the west and Maasai pastoral ranches such as Koiyaki, Lemek, Olkinyei and Naikara to the east and north. The area was named after Maasai people the original inhabitants of the area and also with their description of the area when looked at from distance beyond. “Mara” which in Maasai language means ‘spotted’ is used to describe the vast the trees and savannah in the area. Masai regard themselves not only as residents of the area but are as much as part of the land as land is part of their lives. The park is famous for its big cat population, great number of game and the marvelous migration of over 1.3 million wildebeest, Thomson’s gazelle and zebras in a single herd. Wildlife that can be viewed includes cheetah, wildebeest, hyena, jackals and black rhinoceros.It hosts over 570 species of bird and also the unique co-existence of the Maasai with the animals makes it a unique wilderness. The environment is mainly grassland and riverine forest which contain clumps of the distinctive acacia.The main rivers of the park are Talek River and Mara River which contain large numbers of hippopotamus and the Nile crocodiles. There is also a spectacular view of elephants and buffalos as they wallow in the wide Masia swamp.  The wildebeest during the migration mass together on the Mara banks before they can brisk their way across the raging water to reach the fresh pastures. They struggle along the swift currents and the waiting hungry crocodiles leaving one mesmerized by this world wonder. The migration also brings new life as there are predators that follow them such as the hyena and the big cats.

Giraffe in Masai mara

There is great game viewing as the wardens’ control car movements around animal sighting and also regular patrols to control poaching which ensures no unauthorized killing of the wild animals. Lodges and camping facilities are available for tourists who visit the park.

The Meru National Park

Meru national park is located in the Eastern part of Kenya with the nearest town being Meru. It’s in the east of Meru 350 kilometres from Nairobi. The park can be accessed from Nairobi via Nyeri –Nanyuki – Meru which is 350 kilometres from Nairobi, via Embu to Meru, via Mauato Murera gate which is 35 kilometres. It was established in 1966 and is governed by Kenya Wildlife service. It covers an area of 870 square kilometres bordered by Bisanadi national reserve and also incorporates Kora, Rahole andMwingi reserves. Residents around the area are mostly the Meru and Borana tribes’people who live in harmony and good co-existence with the animals. Between the year 2000 and 2005 Kenya wildlife service helped International Fund restore the park from near destruction as one of the promising growing tourist destination parks in East Africa by solving the poaching problem that had started in the 1980s. The number of elephants is now growing since the Kenya Wildlife Service has ensured there are security patrols to control any poaching threat and improve security in the area. Flora in the park is mostly bushes in the north,wooded grassland in the west, open grassland in the east and south. There are dense riverine forests of Doum and Raffia palm which contain different beautiful scenery from the wide open plains with many rivers to the woodlands on the slopes of Nyambene mountain range, to the north-east of Mt. Kenya. Animals that can be found include elephant, hippopotamus, lion, leopard, cheetah, blackrhinoceros and some rare antelopes. The most common tourist attractions are home of the conservationists George Adamson and Joy Adamson the authors of the biographical book and award winning movie ‘Born Free’ which helped make the park famous hence increasing the number of visitors making it the most famous park in the Eastern Province, beautiful views of Mt. Kenya the great Tana river which is the largest river in Kenya. There are also more than 300 species of bird such as kingfishers, rollers, starlings, weavers which can be seen flying above the horizon and also in large groups in the Tana banks. These amazing views ensure your trip is worth the time and it’s an experience you will live to remember.

These marvellous attractions have continued to attract more tourists in the area making it one of the successful parks in Kenya.

There are lodges and camping facilities provided to the tourists by the Kenya wildlife Service.

Buffalo resting in the park

The Nairobi National Park

It’s located 7 kilometres south of the centre of Nairobi which is Kenya’s capital city. The park was established in 1946 as the first national park in Kenya. It’s also the only park in the world that is surrounded by a city without affecting or threatening people or their way of life. It covers an area of 117 square kilometres and its altitude ranges between 1533 metres to 1760 metres above sea level. The nearness of urban and natural environments has caused conflicts between animals and people which threaten animal migration routes as there is an electric fence which limits movement in and out of the park.

When the British colonists first arrived in Kenya and wanted to settle where the park is located, Athi plains east and south of what is Nairobi today had a lot of wildlife. The Maasai herded their cattle among the wildlife while the Kikuyu community farmed the forested highlands above Nairobi. When the British formed the city, the population started growing which created danger as animals could roam in the city at night as there was no barrier. To protect the lives of the people, the colonial government confined the animals’ in the large plains to the west and south of Nairobi setting the area aside as a game reserve.

The area has a dry climate: from January to March it’s hot and dry, April to June it’s hot and wet while from July to October it’s warm and wet. The environment is open grass plain with scattered acacia bushes while uplands in the western have highland dry forest with species of Olea Africana, Calolendrum. The lower slopes have grassland which contains Cypress; Themeda species also there is a riverine forest along the south.

The park has a diverse wildlife population which include the buffalo, baboon, black rhinoceros, cheetah, lion, leopard and hippopotamus. There are also up to 500 species of bird in the park which tend to be attracted by small dams built along the Mbagathi River to provide more water for the animals during the dry season. Migrating herbivores such as wildebeest and zebra can be seen gather at the park during the dry season.

Although it has a small size, it has a small size, it boasts to have one of the Kenya’s most successful rhinoceros sanctuaries which allow visitors to see the black rhinoceros in its natural habitat.

The park is open throughout the year for tourist to watch and view the game.

The Sibiloi National Park

Sibiloi national park is commonly known as the cradle of mankind due to the remains and discoveries of the evolution that the area is known and associated with. It’s located in Eastern Kenya approximately 800 kilometres from Nairobi covering an area of 1570 square kilometres. The preferred means to access the park is by air since it’s a long a weary journey by road. It lies on the north eastern shore of Lake Turkana in the northern part of Kenya. It was established in 1973 by the government of Kenya for the protection of wildlife and the paleontological sites found in the area. The park is governed by Kenya wildlife Service. In the year 1997 it was listed as UNESCO World Heritage site as part of Lake Turkana national parks due to its combination of wildlife and paleontological sites as it holds strong mankind history. It was named after the view of Mt. Sibiloi at Ali Bay on the south perimeter. It’s most famous for the remains of Australopithecus and early homo– fossils which were moved to Nairobi before the park was established butnon-humanoid fossils are on display on the park which includes the giant tortoise and the 18 – 20 feet long crocodile. It also houses Koobi Fora museum and Koobi Fora research base located to the north.

The landscape is mostly dry, arid and hot especially between December to March with strong winds which blow both in the morning and evening. The area is beautiful with panoramic scenic views of the expansive wilderness.  It has low rainfall of less than 250mm per annum but some places around the area may fail to rain throughout the year with the coolest months being May to September. The park contains different types of habitats starting from the lake shore with water vegetation, desert like lava rock terrain as well as savannah plains to reverine forest. Animals found include dry country species such as the gerenuk,Oryx, gravy’s zebra, tiang (a sub-species of topi) and the common burchell’s zebra can be spotted grazing and moving along the park. There are also many species of birds such as pelicans, heroin, ducks, flamingos, gulls, African skimmer can be seen on the shore line.

Although there are few tourists due to its location in the interior, one is assured of experiencing the history that lies in the Sibiloi wilderness.

The park has lodges and camping facilities for tourists.

Whereto go birding in Kenya

With over 1000 types of birds species spread all over the country, it might prove difficult selecting your next bird watching trip. As a birder and a tourist you can choose among the many different types of climatic condition suitable for different types of birds. The country has one of the richest avifauna composing of about 12% of world’s bird species due to the varied habitats with different types of vegetation and landscape features hosting different types of birds.  A place to go birding in Kenya includes theendemic bird areas, the forest, and water among others. About seven bird’sspecies are endemic in Kenya these are the Sharpe’s Longclaw, Hinde’s Babbler,Taita Thrush, Tana River Cisticola, Aberdare Cisticola, Clarke’s weaver andWilliam’s Lark. The country also serves as a major fly pathway of thePalaearctic migrants from Eastern Europe, Russia, the middle East and Asia’sboth land and water-birds. Of the different types of bird species found inKenya about 170 are Palaearctic migrants while over 60 species are known tomigrate frequently within the Afro tropics.  If you are looking for a suitable place to gobirding in Kenya, you can choose among the highlighted habitats and regions.

Birding in Kenyan Forest

Bird watching in Kenyan’s Forests

About 300 Kenyan’s bird’s species have been documented in various forested habitats across the country with over 200 depending entirely on forest for feeding, breeding and roosting. There are various types of forest suitable for birds including the Highland moist forest in areas with rainfall of more than 1,200mm per year. These forests vary in altitude and latitude with different types of tree species such as the Podocarpus, Olea among others with rich montane avifauna. Birds to watch include the Brown-capped weaver, Jackson’sFrancolin, Brown woodland warbler, Chestnut-throated Apalis, Montane Oriole andthe Hartlaub’s Turaco.

Birding of Kakamega and Nandi Forest

Known as the Guineo-Congolian rainforest and some of the few rainforest in African with a variety of birds to watch while in Kenya, Located in Western Kenya, County of Kakamega, host an array of endemic birds such as the Chapin’s flycatcher Muscicapa lendu is only found in Kakamega and Nandi Forest, the Chestnut wattle-eye Dyaphorophyia c.castanea, the Yellow-billed wattle-eye Dyaphorophyia concreta graueri. Some of the birds found in these forests are found nowhere else in Kenya for example the Grey Parrot, Uganda Woodland Warbler, Blue-headed Bee-eater, and the Ansorge’s Greenbul. Going bird watching in Kakaemga requires a local guide tomove through the trees and shrubs, and a binocular to be able to spot birds from a distance.

The coastal forest and Waters

These habitats are found along the coastal strip of Kenya with varied vegetation due to climatic condition and the soil types. There are different types of birds found in these forests such as the Clarke’s weaver, Green-headed Oriole, Tiny Greenbul, Sokoke Scops Owl the snake eagle among others. In the coastal areas mangrove forest host a number of bird species and offers suitable location for bird safaris in Kenya as they provide a safe stop-over for the Palaearctic migrants during migration time.

Kenya lies across the equator with altitude range of 5,199 m at the top of Mountain Kenya and with this varied topography offer a variety of habitats with its unique bird type. Almost three quarter of the country is arid or semi-arid with bush land, wooded grassland birds.

Grassland and moorland 

This includes the Mt. Kenya, the Aberdare Mountains, the Cherangan is and Mt Elgon with little vegetation at the top and a few birds to watch at the top of the mountains. The species to watch in these areas are the Scarlet-tufted Malachite sunbird in the Lobelia zone, Alpine chat and the Aberdare Cisticola are found in the grassland and shrubs. Birding inhighland grassland provide opportunity for birders to watch the threatened Sharpe’s Longclaw typically found in Kinagop grassland, other birds species present in highland grassland habitat includes the Jackson, long-tailed widowbird, Levaillant’s Cisticola Quail Finch among others. Looking for more grand lands for bird watching, consider travelling to the Masai Mara, seasonal flood plan and delta grassland. Open grassland host various types of birds such as larks, Cisticola, pipits with Mara Serengeti hosting endemic birds.

Birding in Savannah habitats

It runs from the Amboseli in the south through the Tsavo national park to north-east and North West ofKenya. The major tree species attracting various bird types include the Acacia,Commiphora and Combretum while grasses species include the Digitaria, Themeda among others.  Savannah pride itself with a variety of seed-eating birds such as the doves, weavers, larks, bush shrike,game birds, rollers and hornbill.

Desert birding

Kenyan’s north-central and north-western is covered by a desert hosting a few bird species to watch. These areas have little to no vegetation to provide birds with food and shelter. But if you’re interest in waching the Williams’s lark, Heuglin’s Bustard and Star-spotted Nightjar then prepare adequately with necessary birding equipment and bird guides.

Wetlands and Open Waters

You can go bird watching in Kenyan’s wetlands   which are important habitats covering about 14,000km2 of the country surface (Crafter et al. 1992). With the number of Lakes in the Rift valley, western Kenya, Turkana, Magadi provide conducive habitat for water birds that depends on fish. Best places to watch these birds are Lake Victoria, Lake Naivasha and other open dams and rivers. To watch aunique bird species then one has to travel to the papyrus swamp in Yalawetland, Lake Victoria. Papyrus vegetation host endemic bird species such asthe Papyrus Gonolek, Papyrus Canary, White-winged warbler, and the Papyrus Yellow Warbler. You can also create a bird habitat to enable different types of birds to come near you. Such created habitat provides an excellent way to bird watch near your door step, feeding and providing water for the little birds.Again where to go birding will depend on many factors including but not limited to the type of birds you’re interested in watching, the habitat near you and with long distance birding tours requires adequate preparation and resources to move. Birding in your back-yard doesn’t require many birding equipment. Always dress appropriately avoiding shiny attire that birds will spot from a distance.

Types of Birds in Kenya

There are Over 1000 bird types in Kenya

Kenya is one of those rare places on earth with over 1000 types of birds species making it the best bird watching destination in the world.Bird watching in Kenya is made easier with the tailor made birding trips and safaris by different tour companies and guides.  The type of birds found in Kenya has been documented by various birding and environmental conservation groups. With the recent effort to map various birds types in Kenya and their habitat by different organizations, local and international birders submitting data to Kenya bird map portal. With these information bird twitchers easily finds out where to go for any particular type of bird species.  Kenyans’ geographical and climatic condition favors various types of migrant bird species such as Eurasian and Intra African birds, endemic water birds, high altitude and low altitude birds among others. One of the most common question about Kenyan birds has always been this “How many birds species are there in Kenya? The answer to this question may vary due to climatic and environmental changes over the years enabling different types of birds species in Kenya to emerge and the same time eliminating other species.But one of the most essential bird watching book guide titled “Birds of Kenya& Northern Tanzania” have recorded all types of birds species found in Kenya with over 1000 birds documented. The book is one of the best and easiest user guide for both experienced and novice birders just getting started in the world of bird watching.

For birders having vacation or intending to have bird watching safari in Kenya should consider the months of October through April for migrants birds. Endemic birds are all over the country throughout the year making Kenya an all year round birding destination. Bird watching in Kenya requires adequate preparation from the most essential birding gears including but not limited to binoculars, bird guides and a notebook and a bird friendly dressed code taking into account the varied weather pattern the country normally experience.

The following are some selected birds of Kenya species

Pelagic Birds of Kenya

Mostly found in the coastal part of Kenya with some species arriving in the month of August-September. These species includes the Albatross from the Diomedeidae family.These birds have large web-toed, longer wings. The bird is known to nest in the island in southern ocean and feed on ocean insects among others. The most common species spotted in Kenya are the Black-browed Albatross Diomedea melanophris and the Shy Albatross Diomedea cauta. The other notable beviour about these birds are their behavior to follow ships sailing in the waters. Other Pelagic Birds includes Greater Frigatebirds, the Brown,Masked and Red-footed Booby among others. For a birder planning to watch the Albatross consider spending time in the coastal town of Kenya and be equipped with basic or waterproofed binoculars as birding may take you to the open waters.

The Bush Shrikes

The bush shrike species is fairly spread within Kenya; in western Kenya you’re likely tospot Luhder’s bush-shrike Laniarius l. luehderi with the locally common and wide spread species of Red-Naped Bush-shrike Laniarius ruficeps rufinuchalis, Sulphur-breasted Bush-shrike Malaconotus sulfureopectus, Rosy-patchedbush-shrike Rhodophoneus cruentus, Black-frontedbush-shrike Malaconotus nigrifrons among others

The Gonoleks

There are two types of gonolek species in Kenya namely the Black-headed gonolek Laniariuserythrogaster and the Papyrus Gonolek Laniarius mfumbiri. The Papyrus Gonolekis mostly found in Papyrus swampy places in Western Kenya and common in Yala Swamp and the surrounding lakes. The black-headed gonolek is also common and wide spread in Western Kenya shrubs, thickets and bushy cultivation. The more common of the two species is the black-headed, this bird is found in an open fields, woodlots and homestead and if not in pair will be calling most of the time to locate its partner. When bird watching in Western Kenya you’re like lyto record the black-headed gonolek in every 6th recording while Papyrus Gonolek is restricted and endemic to the Papyrus vegetation. To watch Papyrus Gonolek in Yala Swamp or the surrounding Lakes a birder may use the available boats to get into the waters as these birds rarely come out of the papyrus plantation.

The Flycatchers

Among notable bird species found in Kenya are the Flycatchers. More than 10 species have been recorded and documented. In Western Kenya you’re likely to spot the Red-Bellied Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone rufiventer emini, Dusky Crested flycatcher,African Blue Flycatcher and the most common and widespread in Kenya are the African Paradise, Northern Black and South Black flycatcher. The rare species are the Blue-mantled crested Black-And-White, Semi-Collared and the Lead-colored. When bird watching in Kenya swamp you’re likely to spot the swamp flycatcher which is common in Yala wetland. The Chapin’s flycatcher is only found in Kakamega and Nandi Forest in Kenya. Also present and uncommon in Kenya is the Semi Collared Flycatcher, Palearctic migrant found in Western Kenya

The Babblers


The noisy bird that moves in group across Kenya vegetation, there are six recorded birdspecies found in various Kenyan birding terrain among these are the Scaly BabblerT. s squamulatus, Arrow-Marked Babbler T. jardineii emini found mostly in Rift valley region in Lake Naivasha and Nakuru also like thickets and forested places, Black-lored Babbler T.sharpei, Brown Babbler T. plebejus cinereus,Nothern Pied Babbler T. h.hypoleucus and Hinde’s Babbler T.hindei found central Kenya and locally common in the highlands. In western Kenya the babblers are found in shrub and near the water area of Lake Kanyaboli, mountain areas and the low land places.

The Ostrich is the largest living bird family in Kenya, a heavy and a flightless bird with very strong and powerful legs. Kenya host two types of Ostrich bird species namely the Somali Ostrich Struthio molybdophanes mostly found in the Savannah and the Common Ostrich Struthio camelus massaicus a wide spread specie in Kenya territory.

The Guinea fowls unlike the Ostriches, these birds are medium in size and spend most of their time on the ground but move to trees in the night to roost. They have featherless head with blue, black and white plumage. Three species have been documented in Kenya namely the Vulturine Guinea fowl Acrylliumvulturine which is locally common in dry bushes. The Crested Guinea fowl Gutterapucherani locally common in dense forest and woodland. Helmeted Guinea fowl Numidia meleagrisis widespread specie in Kenyan’s bushes, savanna, woodlands and shrubby grassland

The Quails and Francolins these are small to medium size type of birds found in Kenya,they are ground living birds. The documented species in Kenya are the Orange River Francolin Francolinus levaillantoides archeri.  TheMoorland francolin Francolinuspsilolaemus elgonensis mostly found in Mt Kenya, Elgon and the Aberdares,the Shelley’s Francolin Francolinus shelleyi uleunsis, the most common species in grassland and open field both in central and southern Kenya. The Chestnut-Naped Francolin Francolinus castaneicollis atrifrons,mostly common in Kenya borders with Ethiopia near Moyale and forest edges. The Red-Winged Francolin Francolinus levaillantii kikuyuensis alarge grassland bird species which was widely distributed in Western Kenya highlands but now scarce. The ScalyFrancolin this darken red-billed francolin is found in green forest andwidespread in Mt. Elgon, the Cherenganis and Mt. Nyiru. Hildebrandt’s Francolin commonFrancolinus hildebrandit documentedin the Kenyan rift valley, Nakuru north, Elgeyu to Nguruman hills and the Jackson’s Francolin Francolinus jacksoni speciereside mostly in areas of above 2500 altitude and mainly found in Mt Kenya and the Aberdares.

Flamingoes theseare aquatic long-legged birds with longneck and pink-colour. There are two documented types of flamingoes in Kenya namely the Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterusroseus endemic to soda lakes in the great rift valley of Kenya. These Kenyans birds are locally common for bird twitchers. The other species is known as the Lesser Flamingo Phoeniconaias minor also found in large numbers in rift valley soda Lakes. Recent changes in water quality have since the dwindling number of Flamingoes in the Rift valley soda Lakes and are migrating to other suitable lakes in Tanzania. Most Flamingoes breeds in Lake Natron but in some occasion breeding take place in Magadi and Logipi.


These are insectivorous birds of Kenya with over 20 species documented in various habitats across the country. Among the endemic species are the Red-bellied Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone rufiventer eminithat is restricted to Western Kenya’s Kakamega forest. The specie interbreed with the African Paradise Fly catcher Terpsiphoneviridis which is wide spread and common in wooded and garden areas.


These are insectivorous bright colored birds that move in numbers. Kenya host a number of species both residence and migrants. The notable residence found in the country includes the little bee-eater Merops pusillus cyanostictus, a widespread and common with a black patch in the throat, Cinamon-Chested Merops oreobates that are locally common and widespread wooded areas, the specie is larger than the little and Blue-breasted bee-eater. Eurasian bee-eaterMerops apiaster is migrant specie common and wide spread in autumn, March through April and August – Octoberperiod. Over 10 different species have been observed and documented in Kenya.

Kenya birds of prey

There are different types of bird of preys in Kenya including the Falcons which are small and medium sized with razor-sharp tooth on their upper mandible, with female larger than the male. Among the notable Falcons includes the Lanner Falco b. biarmicus, the PeregrineFalco peregrines minor, Taita Falco fasciinucha among others. The other birds of prey in Kenya are the Vultures with Lappet-faced, Ruppel’s Griffon, African white-backed, Hooded,White-headed, Lammerger, Palm-nut  amongother species are locally available in different habitats, Bustards, hawks and allies


Are widespread in water habitat and characterized by medium legs with very long toes, among the species found in Kenya are the African Jacana Actophinlornisafricanus which is common and widespread on waters and floating vegetation in rivers, Lakes and Swampy areas. The other scarce specie is known as Lesser Jacana Microparra capensis.

The Cormorants

These are duck like birds with dark colored feathers and long necks. Cormorants have a very strong bill with short legs and webbed feet to walk on water vegetation.When hunting for food they dive below the water surface to get their delicacy.Kenyan species includes the long-tailedPhalacrocorax a. africanus and the Great cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo lucidus.

The Rails

 These are ground dwelling small sized birds with long toes and legs and mostly found in marshes. African water rail Ralluscaerulescens is widespread in Central region and the south of Masai Mara Reserve. The bird is scarce in other areas.

The Turacos

Are long-tailed medium size birds of Kenya and restricted to African continent. Overseven species have been recorded and documented including the Great Blue Turaco Corythaeola cristata. This specie is scarce but available in some forest in Western Kenya. Hartlaub’sTuraco Tauraco hartlaubi is a very common and widespread in highland forest. It has a white facial marking with dark bushy crest.  Other species are the Fischer’s Turaco Tauraco f. fischeri among others.

The Mousebirds

As the name suggest, these are small mouse like birds. Have long tail and a crest. These birds are only found in Africa and the species available in Kenya are the Blue-napped Urocolius macrourus pulcher whichis common and widespread in dry bush. The other two species are the Speckled Colius striatus kikuyuensis and White-headedColius leucocephalus turneri mousebirds 

The Bulbuls

Very common specie in almost every corner of the country with fairly short bills, feeds on insects and seeds. The specie is present in almost every habitat from desert to forest; Common Bulbul Pycnonotus barbatushave been recorded in every corner of the country.


Consist of different family and are small in size. Spend most of the time feeding in the ground eating seeds. Species in Kenya are the Zebra Amandava subflava which is rare in humid grassland, the common waxbill Estrilda Astrid a common and widespread in grassy places with brown rump and tail, theblack-crowned waxbill Estrilda n.nonnula mostly found in western Kenya. There are more than 10 species present in Kenya.

Cisticolas One of the most difficult birds of Kenya to identify due to their similarities,with 50 species recorded worldwide Kenya host about half the species spread across the country.