Bird Watching Safari

Kenya holds some remarkable birding sights that you have to see them to believe ranging from the world’s biggest bird, the Ostrich, to spectacular flamingos that congregate in their millions at the various Lakes of the Great Rift Valley and camouflage them in pink.

Eleven percent of the world’s birds species (1089 different varieties) are found here. Kenya’s birding is indeed one of the best in the world. This is due to the favourable climate, diverse habitats and geographical features that make it a suitable migratory route for birds.

It is not unusual for birding trips to record 300-600 different varieties on a short trip or to record more than 120 at a particular site on a single day! 

 

In the Kenya’s capital alone, more than 600 resident and migratory bird species are found; more than in any other capital city, and more than in most countries. You are guaranteed to find birds everywhere you travel. A stroll in hotel gardens, a trip to the Nairobi National Park or the grounds of the National Museum is likely to turn up bright black and yellow weavers, tiny iridescent sunbirds resembling flying jewels, Secretary Bird, Bustards and Mousebirds with long tails, which are unique to Africa.

The giant Marabou Storks, a frequent visitor to the City, now nests on the acacia trees along the streets. 

 

The rainy seasons of April and November coincide with migration of birds from and to Europe and Asia, and some of the top day’s totals have been recorded at that time. Notably, the migrants make up only about ten percent of Kenya’s birdlife, however, and the spectacular birds of the bush –guinea fowl, go-away birds, rollers and barbets, to mention but a few – are active all year. 

 

Visits to a variety of habitats, such as the dry-country parks of Tsavo or Samburu, the western grasslands of the Maasai Mara, one of the Rift Valley lakes or one of the highland forests, will produce a long and varied bird list.

A surprisingly wide range of habitats can be visited on day trips from Nairobi. These include Lake Naivasha in the Rift Valley, the dry bush around the Olorgesailie Prehistoric Site, and the Escarpment Forests in the foothills of the Aberdare mountain range.

To see Kenya’s rarest, indigenous and unfortunately endangered birds, the bird enthusiast needs to seek out forests or highland grasslands tucked away amongst various farmlands. Arabuko-Sokoke Forest near Malindi, tops the list, with the six threatened bird species of the Sokoke Scops Owl, Sokoke Pipit, Spotted Ground Thrush, East Coast Akalat, Amani Sunbird and Clarke’s Weaver. 

 

Some other areas including the forest “islands” at the top of the Taita Hills, near Voi, is home to the beautiful but critically endangered Taita Thrush and Taita Apalis, as well as the endangered Taita White-eye.

Other species such as Sharpe’s Longclaw and Aberdare Cisticola, native and endangered, live in the highland grasslands near the Aberdare mountain range. 

 

In western Kenya, Kakamega Forest is a little patch of Guineo-Congolian rainforest in Kenya. Among the many rainforest species found are spectacular Turacos and Hornbills, and the tiny, endangered Turner’s Eremomela.

The scarce and threatened Papyrus Yellow Warbler is found in papyrus swamps on the shores of Lake Victoria, alongside the Papyrus Gonolek, White-winged Warbler and Papyrus Canary, all papyrus endemics. 

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