Best Birding Spots In Kenya
1. Nairobi National Park
Nairobi National Park is one of the most unique parks in the world. It is the only wildlife park within a capital city and hosts a wide variety of wildlife including the Big 5, and over 500 species of birds.
The park has a range of habitats including open grasslands, lightly wooded plains, rocky valleys, seasonal wetlands, dams, forest-lined rivers and streams, and montane forests. So it is not uncommon to get a species list of more than 200 species in a day!
The savannah grasslands host a variety of seed-eating birds from Orange-breasted W
axbills and Black-cheeked Waxbill to Yellow bishops, and the Near Endemic Jackson’s Widowbird. Other birds expected would be Shelley’s Francolins, Kori Bustards, Secretary Birds, Black-shouldered Kites, and about 10 species of Cisticolas.
2. Mt Kenya National Park
Mt Kenya is the highest mount in Kenya, and arguably the most difficult to climb. But Mt Kenya also host a wide variety of montane forest and moorland species. The forests on the slopes of the mountain are most productive in birds, but the shy forest birds are sometimes more often heard than seen.
The cold montane forest are a heaven for elusive birds like the Olive Ibis, Abyssinian Ground Thrush, Black-fronted Bushshrike, Montane White-eye, Bar-tailed Trogon, Jackson’s Francolin, Mountain Buzzard and Abbot’s Starling.
3. Samburu & Buffalo Springs National Reserve
The semi-arid areas of samburu are well known for its Samburu warriors and diverse wildlife like the threatened Grevy’s Zebra, Reticulated Giraffes and even Black Leopards. But this area also hosts about 400 species of birds in its dry environment.
The Ewaso Ny’iro river that passes through these parks is a vital source of precious water, and many birds and animals can be expected to visit the river at different times of the day.
The Acacia bushland dominates much of the Samburu area and birds like Pygmy falcons, White-headed Buffalo Weaver, Magpie Starlings, Somali Bee-eater, Vulturine Guineafowl, Donaldson Smith’s Sparrow-weaver, Eastern Yellow-billed Hornbill and the tiny Yellow-vented Eremomela are easily found.
4. Lake Naivasha
Lake Naivasha is one of the freshwater lakes along the rift valley. It is well known locally for its sheer number of waterbirds. The edges of the lake are fringed with yellow fever trees which host a wide variety of special birds and free ranging wildlife.
The lake itself hold a huge number of water birds such as; Great White and Pink-Backed Pelicans, Reed and Great Cormorants, African Darters, Yellow-billed Ducks, Red-billed and Hottentot teals, Red-knobbed Coots, Black and Grey Herons, Great White, Little and Cattle Egrets, African Spoonbills, African Skimmers, Grey-hooded, Lesser Black-backed and Common black-headed Gulls, Lesser and Common Moorhen, Purple Swamphens; and the highest concentration of African Fish Eagles anywhere in Kenya!
5. Kinangop Plateau
The Kinangop plateau is an abrupt floor that rises from the floor of the rift valley. Although this area is outside a protected park or reserve it still host quite a few special birds, including the Endemic Sharpe’s Longclaw.
The tussock grasslands that stretched for mile are now farmlands, but the birds can still be seen hanging on these artificial habitats. Birds commonly seen around these grasslands/farmlands are; Sharpe’s Longclaw, Rufous-naped and Red-capped Larks, Cape Rook, Capped Wheatear, Long-tailed and Jackson’s Widowbirds, Hunter’s, Leveillants and Stout Cisticolas, Red-throated Wryneck and Augur Buzzards.
Marshes and seasonal lily ponds in the grasslands attract Grey-crowned Cranes, Yellow-crowned Bishop, Glossy Ibis and the elusive Lesser Jacana. Migrant Harriers also frequent the wet marshes like the Western Marsh, Pallid and Montagu’s Harriers.