Kenya, a country renowned for its wildlife and stunning landscapes is a haven, for enthusiasts who love bird watching from around the world. Its diverse terrain, ranging from the awe inspiring snow capped Mount Kenya to the savannahs of the Great Rift Valley and the beautiful coastal beaches provide a range of habitats for an astonishing number of bird species.
This African nation boasts than 1,100 species of birds which accounts for approximately 11% of global bird species and nearly 50% of Africas avian population. As a result Kenya has rightfully earned its place as one of the destinations for birding. Among these species are unique to Kenya while others migrate thousands of miles each year from Europe and Asia in search of weather conditions and abundant food sources.
Kenya’s Top Ten Bird Watching Destinations
Blessed with a range of habitats, from its tropical coastline to arid desert areas and lush high altitude forests Kenya is a bird lovers dream. Boasting a list of over 1,100 bird species Kenya provides an experience for avid bird watchers. Here are the ten must visit locations in Kenya for bird enthusiasts.
Lake Nakuru National Park
Situated in the Great Rift Valley, Lake Nakuru National Park is famous for its flocks of flamingos that adorn the lake with their vibrant pink hues. Keep an eye out for species such as the African Fish Eagle, Great White Pelican and majestic Goliath Heron. Thanks to its alkaline lake and diverse vegetation this park serves as a thriving sanctuary for these birds.
Hells Gate National Park
Don’t let its foreboding name fool you – Hells Gate is a haven for bird enthusiasts. Its rugged terrain provides shelter to over 100 bird species including Verreauxs Eagle, Augur Buzzard, Swifts and even the elusive Lammergeier. With its awe inspiring cliffs and picturesque gorges Hells Gate offers a backdrop, for observing our feathered friends.
Nairobi National Park
located outside the capital of Kenya is a true gem. It is home, to an array of bird species with over 400 different types to admire. From the African Spoonbill and Yellow throated Sandgrouse to the Secretary Bird and Crowned Crane visitors can indulge in a delightful bird watching experience while enjoying the picturesque backdrop of city skyscrapers.
Another fantastic destination for bird enthusiasts is Lake Baringo, a freshwater lake that serves as a haven for over 500 bird species. Here you can spot creatures like African Darters, Goliath Herons and White faced Scops owls. The surrounding area also offers an opportunity to marvel at night birds such as the Slender tailed Nightjar and Heuglins Courser.
For those seeking tranquility in a freshwater ecosystem teeming with wonders Lake Naivasha is a paradise. With than 400 species calling it home including Fish Eagles, Kingfishers, Jacanas and the graceful African Darter this location is simply unmissable for any bird lover.
Tsavo East & West National Parks
In Tsavo East and West National Parks lies a sprawling wilderness that serves as a migration corridor for birds. This makes it an idyllic sanctuary for bird watchers. Keep your eyes peeled for species, like the Eastern Paradise Whydah, African Golden Oriole and Violet Wood Hoopoe while immersing yourself in this setting.
In addition the waterholes and dams, in the parks attract a range of waterbirds.
Mount Kenya National Park
Mount Kenya National Park is home to bird species found at high altitudes. Birdwatchers can have an experience combining mountain climbing with the joy of spotting birds like the Abyssinian Ground Thrush, Olive Ibis and Hartlaubs Turaco.
Arabuko Sokoke Forest Reserve
Arabuko Sokoke Forest Reserve, the forest in East Africa boasts an impressive variety of over 200 bird species. This forest is a habitat for six species, including the Sokoke Scops Owl, Sokoke Pipit and Clarkes Weaver. It offers a birdwatching opportunity against the backdrop of the Indian Ocean.
Renowned for its geysers and hot springs Lake Bogoria also serves as a sanctuary for bird species. The lake is particularly famous for its populations of Lesser Flamingoes well as Greater Flamingoes, African Spoonbills and Grey headed Gulls.
Samburu National Reserve
The terrain of Samburu National Reserve provides a setting, for birdwatching enthusiasts.
This reserve boasts than 350 bird species, including the elusive Donaldson Smiths Sparrow weaver and the captivating Bristle crowned Starling. It provides a birdwatching opportunity, in the arid area making it a truly remarkable experience.
Top 10 Birds Of Kenya
Kenya is renowned for its variety of birds attracting bird watchers and ornithologists from, over the world. With its ecosystems, including wetlands, high altitude forests and semi arid savannas Kenya offers a home to bird species that exhibit fascinating characteristics and behaviors. Lets explore ten birds you can find in Kenya.
1. The Lilac breasted Roller
Without a doubt this bird stands out as one of Kenyas avian residents. Its hued feathers display captivating shades of blue, green, lilac and pink. You’ll often spot it perched atop trees or telephone wires diligently scanning the ground for insects or small reptiles.
2. The Superb Starling
True to its name this sociable bird showcases a blend of blue green plumage complemented by a vibrant orange belly. It’s commonly sighted in East Africa including Kenya.
3. The Grey Crowned Crane
Recognized as Ugandas bird but prevalent in Kenyas landscape the Grey Crowned Crane boasts an elegant ‘crown’ of golden feathers, atop its head while showcasing a graceful grey and white body.
4. The African Fish Eagle
This iconic avian symbol of Africa is frequently observed near freshwater lakes and rivers—its habitat where it reigns supreme as a hunter.
5. The Flamingo
The bird species mentioned in Kenyas Rift Valley lakes are quite remarkable. Flamingoes, both Lesser and Greater gather in numbers at Lake Nakuru and Lake Bogoria painting a pink scene, against the alkaline waters.
6. Secretary Bird
Another fascinating avian inhabitant is the Secretary Bird. This magnificent creature with its body and long crane like legs can often be spotted strolling through Kenyas grasslands diligently hunting for snakes and other small creatures.
7. African Eagle
One cannot overlook the awe inspiring Martial Eagle, one of Africas most formidable birds of prey. With its diet and ability to take down prey much larger than itself it truly commands attention.
8. Hadada Ibis
The Hadada Ibis is a sight (and sound) in Kenya thanks to its call that resembles “haa haa haa de dah.” This bird showcases green feathers, a long bill and a white ‘moustache’.
9. Saddle Billed Stork
And then there is the Saddle billed Stork—a wading bird distinguished by its red, black and yellow bill shaped like a saddle. It is easily recognizable, amidst Kenyas landscape.These birds are usually found near bodies of water, where they hunt for fish, frogs and small mammals.
10. African Hoopoe
One interesting bird is the African Hoopoe. You can easily recognize it by its unique ‘crown’ of feathers and black and white striped wings and tail. Its commonly spotted in country and woodland areas. Interestingly it gets its name from the rhythmic ‘hoop hoop hoop’ call it makes.
Each of these creatures adds to the bird population, in Kenya providing an unforgettable experience, for both avid bird watchers and casual observers alike.