Birding Factoids

1,137 species
 in 75 families
8 endemic species
76 speciality species
25 endangered species 
2 week trip expectation -
about 600 species

Checklist of Kenya BirdsConservation, Ecology and BiodiversityTours and GuidesEco-LodgesSpeciality BirdsPrint ResourcesMap and General Country Information

January, 2005 will see the inaugural Kenya Coast Birdwatching Festival. Contact
Festival Co-ordinator Jaqui Kaye for details and birdlists.

Check out Martin Zimber's A Guide to the Birds of Kenya - an excellent site with great photos
Peter Bono's Kenya Bird Photos
Guiliano Gerro and Silvio Sommazzi's Kenyan Birds
and Ron Eggert's East African Birds Gallery
See also Paul and Helen Harris's Gallery of Kenya Birds.

Kenya Specialities
(Pause your cursor on the photo to see the species name.)
African Ostrich - Photo copyright Nick Lowton
Photo copyright Nick Lowton
Kori Bustard - Photo copyright Paul and Helen Harris
Photo copyright Paul and Helen Harris
Vulturine Guineafowl - Photo copyright Nick Lowton
Photo copyright Nick Lowton
Southern Ground Hornbill - Photo copyright David Geale
Photo copyright David Geale
Yellow-necked Spurfowl - Photo copyright Nick Lowton
Photo copyright Nick Lowton
Great Cormorant - Photo copyright Paul and Helen Harris
Photo copyright Paul and Helen Harris
Rufous-bellied Heron - Photo copyright Zoo in the Wild
Photo copyright Zoo in the Wild
Brown-hooded Kingfisher - Photo copyright Nigel Blake
Photo copyright Nigel Blake
Grey-headed Social-Weaver - Photo copyright by Nick Lowton
Photo copyright Nick Lowton
Verreaux's Eagle - Photo copyright Eddie Howath
Photo copyright Eddie Horvath
White-bellied Bustard - Photo copyright Allen Chartier
Photo copyright Allen Chartier
Yellow-billed Shrike - Photo copyright Gerard Mornie
Photo copyright Gerard Mornie
Von der Decken's Hornbill - Photo copyright Anke Poggel
Photo copyright Anke Poggel
Blue-naped Mousebird - Photo copyright Naoto Noda
Photo copyright Naoto Noda
    ....Birdlife in Kenya - Kenya Association of Tour Operators and GORP.
      Kenya has a vast variety of species, over 1000, in a vast variety of habitats. The summaries on this site indicate which parks or reserves fall into which major habitats as well as naming some of the principal birds which can be found in them.
    ....Kenya Birds - this great site by Paul and Helen Harris 
      includes various Kenya checklists as well as information about birding at:
      • Amboseli
      • Lake Baringo
      • Lake Naivasha
      • Masaii Mara
      • Mt. Kenya
      • Samburu
      • Tsavo
    ....Birdlife in Kenya - Kenya has a more than 1,000 species of birds
      in a vast variety of habitats. The big variety of birds is made possible by lack of climatic extremes. Kenya straddles the equator and has only two seasons, wet and dry. In the northern latitudes huge numbers of birds migrate southwards to avoid the harsh winter. From as far east as the Bering Straits and as far west as the northern tip of Norway, they come in their millions to East Africa. It has been estimated that 6 billion birds make the journey each year. Add the visiting birds to the incredible variety of local birds, and you have an ornithological paradise.
    ....Kenya's National Parks and Reserves - this site contains information
      on all Kenya's parks, some reference to birdlife in each park. The Arabuko Sokoke Forest Reserve is considered one of the best. Another site on Kenya's parks. GORP's Kenya Parks page.
    ....Kenya's Eastern National Reserves - In the eastern part of the 
      country there are five national reserves and one national park. The reserves are: 
      • Arawale National Reserve
      • Tana River Primate National Reserve
      • Boni National Reserve
      • Dodori National Reserve
      • Shimba Hills National Reserve
      • Arabuko Sokoke National Park
    ....Maasai Mara National Park - The Maasai Mara is Kenya's finest 
      wildlife sanctuary. Everything about this reserve is outstanding. The wildlife is abundant and the gentle rolling grassland ensures that animals are never out of sight. Birds too are prolific, including migrant birds and 57 species of birds of prey.
    ....A Visit to Masai Mara - a Safari to Central Kenya by Matthias
      Zimber and Martin Becker. This trip report provides information about the mammals and birds seen during a visit to several national parks in the Masai area. Check also the author's review of the national parks from a naturalist's perspective, and including information on accomodations.
    ....Lake Turkana and Sibiloi National Park - Sibiloi National Park is
      situated on the east shore of Lake Turkana in northern Kenya. Lake Turkana'a ecosystem with its diverse bird life and desert environment offers an exceptional laboratory for studies of plant and animal communities. The lake is also one of Africa's most important breeding areas for the Nile crocodile.
    ....Virtual Safaris in Kenya's National Parks - this commenrial site will
      give you a sense of what you will see in the various national parks. 
    ....Amboseli National Park - The park encompasses dry lake beds,
      savannah woodland, and extensive swamps constantly fed by springs emanating from the mountain. The water attracts a wide variety of bird and animal life. 
    ....Kakamega Forest National Reserve, Ruma National Park, Ndere 
      Island National Park & Kisumu Impala Sanctuary- The Reserve is twice the size of Nairobi National Park with 380 species of plants spread in swamps, riverine and hardwood forest areas, glades and the shallow forest around the edge of the reserve. 350 species of bird have been recorded including rare snake-eating birds.
    ....The Aberdares - The Aberdares is the established name of a 
      mountain range which thrusts directly north from Nairobi for more than 160 km. Part of the range is protected as the Aberdare National Park. Birds are not only plentiful but also dazzling.
    ....Kenya - Directory of Wetlands of International Importance - includes 
      information on all Kenya's Ramsar designated sites, including:
      • Lake Nakuru
    ....Trip Report: Nairobi, Kenya 24 April 2005. By Charlie Moores. 
      One day's birding in Kenya - one WHOLE day in a country with a list of about 800, unforgettable birding highlights, a huge range of habitats and was always going to be a little frustrating... Well, about this time last year I'd stumbled on a quiet and well-laid out little bird reserve called the AFEW Nature Sanctuary, attached to the Langata Giraffe Centre in Karen - about 8 miles/15km from Nairobi City Centre, or a twenty minute taxi ride. 
    ....Trip Report: Kenya, 24th June – 9th July  2002 by Steve Bird. 
      588 Species seen (2 weeks). Great company, excellent bird sightings with everything seen well by everyone and all backed up by very good weather and fantastic scenery. A Birdseekers Tour Report.
    ....Trip Report: Budget Birding in Kenya - March 12-25 2002 - by 
      Frank E. Rheindt. At the beginning of March, I was confronted with an unexpected 4 weeks of vacation and decided to do some birding abroad. As a student, I have to restrict my traveling to economic destinations, so I was very pleased when I found a rather cheap flight from Zurich to Mombasa coupled with a 2-week stay in Kenya. 2 weeks isn’t quite an appropriate amount of time to cover this mega-diverse country, but I figured it was better than nothing, and – in retrospect – my wallet would not have permitted a single additional day.
    ....Trip Report: Kenya 2001 - by Mark Kuiper NatuurBeleven. 
      Kenya is great place for birding. The country offers a huge variety of biotopes in breathtaking landscapes and birds are everywhere. And they are easy to see too! If you favor car-birding, there are many tours to choose from. In Kenya people assume that if you are rich, you do not want to walk. Hotels offer walks in the wilderness -total length of the hike: 0.3 mile ! However, if you like to combine birding with real hiking in the wilderness, it is not easy to find a tour company to arrange things.
    ....Trip Report: Kenya & Netherlands - July 6-23, 2000. By Allen and
      Nancy Chartier.  Allen was working on setting up an Arizona tour for Sarus Tours, which ended up being cancelled due to lack of registrations, so Nigel suggested we might want to tag along on a trip to Kenya scheduled for the same time. This was a special trip organized by a group from Minnesota, who mostly all knew each other. Nigel offered to let us join the group, and we only had to think about it for a minute before saying yes! 
    ....Trip Report: Kenya & Tanzania - October 12 to November 8, 2000. 
      By Linda Lee Baker. The animal & bird watching was excellent in each country, but was far better in Tanzania.  This was our fourth trip to the continent (South Africa, Botswana, and Zimbabwe previously), and we saw more animals than in the last 3 trips combined.
    ....1999 Kenya (Rookies on Safari!) - February 28 to March 21, 1999 - by 
      Sam and Lea Febba. This trip resulted in 525 birds and 53 mammals! 
    ....Tanzania and Kenya Trip Report. This trip report is provided courtesy
      of Urs Geiser's Trip Report Archive. October 7-27, 1999 by David Kelly. My annual holiday this year was to be in Australia but the friends we were going with couldn't make it, so my wife, Lillian, and I decided to go to Kenya. From the UK one of the most economical ways to visit Africa is to go by overland truck. This means that you follow a preset itinerary and that you have to camp but we had a good time. 
    ....Kenya Trip - May 2001. Trip Report - The First Ever "disabled 
      birders association" Trip. 13th May 2001 - 28th May 2001. By Bo Crombet-Beolens. This report will focus more closely on accommodation and access than a normal birding trip report as it was the first undertaken by the dba (Disabled Birders Association).
    ....Trip Report: Birding Kenya, 5 December 2001 - 19 January 2002. 
      By Duan Biggs. 
    ....Trip Report: Kenya, October 28 - November 21, 1998. By Theresa
    ....Trip Report: Kenya & Uganda, July 19 - August 11, 1997. This trip report ....Tanzania and Kenya Trip Report -  30 June to 20 July 1996 by 
      Michael Mills. This trip report covers Nairobi, Amboseli NP, Arusha, Arusha NP, Tarangire NP, Ngorogoro Crator and Serengeti NP.
    ....Trip Report: Kenya, July 29 - August 25, 1996. This trip report is ......
    ....Trip Report: Kenya, Tanzania and Malawi, February 1996
      'Cheating' for Southern African Species North of the Zambezi River by Mike Pope and Grant Dunbar. This trip report is provided courtesy of Urs Geiser's Trip Report Archive. It was the following extract of an article about birding in Kenya that caught my attention about what really does lie north of the Zambezi. It comes from "Where to watch birds in Africa."  'Expect to see more birds than you can possibly imagine in Kenya. Some bird tour companies notch up to 600 species in 2 weeks and 700 species in 3 weeks. In 1991 Brian Finch set the African record by notching up a staggering 797 species in just 25 days, this also included 70 mammal species...' 
    ....Trip Report: Kenya, 24 January - 14 April 1996 and 15 December - 
      29 December 1996. A report about a birding trip mainly outside national parks by means of public transport. 25 sites and 9 maps. By Michiel de Boer. Kenya is one of the best birding countries in the world with a list of about 1200 species. As a destination for a (short) birding holiday Kenya is maybe the best country in the world. The main reason for this is that birding is delightfully easy (a lot of open habitat and incredible high species density for open habitat) and as a bonus one can easily see a lot of mammal species.
    ....Trip Report: Kenya, 1981 - by Don Roberson. 
    ....Kenya Trip Reports - you can find Kenya trip reports on John
      Girdley's BirdTours website. 

    Factoids taken from Where to Watch Birds in Africa - by Nigel Wheatley.

Choose another countryChoose another continentAdd or change a URL

Top of Page

Conservation, Biodiversity

and Environment

Greater and Lesser Flamingos - Photo copyright Cliff Buckton
Photo copyright Cliff Buckton
    ....Protect Kenya's Parks! - Kenya's parks are in grave danger. This crisis
      is a threat to Kenya's unique biological diversity and the world's last great ungulate populations. Also, because tourism is Kenya's largest earner of foreign currency, poorly protected parks threaten to undermine Kenya's economic stability as a whole. Parks are threatened by inadequate protection and monitoring, poorly managed impacts from tourism and an absolute lack of investment in infrastructure. In today's politically volatile climate, the unfortunate reality finds the parks being ‘mined’ for short-term  profit with no long-term interest in sustainability. Click through to read more, and to see what you can do to help. Information provided by Cheesemans' Ecology Safaris.

Choose another countryChoose another continentAdd or change a URL
Top of Page

Tours and Guides

Black-faced Sandgrouse - Photo copyright Nick Lowton
Photo copyright Nick Lowton

White-headed Mouse Bird - Photo copyright Paul and Helen Harris

Photo copyright Paul and Helen Harris

Long-crested Eagle - Photo copyright Minnattallah Boutros

Photo copyright Minnattallah Boutros
    **..Kenyan Tours with Tropical Birding. Our trips are generally 
      for keen birders, both experienced and inexperienced. It is not necessary to be an expert or a super-lister to enjoy yourself. Our tours are designed for enthusiastic travellers who enjoy spending most, if not all, of their holiday time birding. Our goal is to get birders to the world's most amazing places, seeing the world's most amazing birds, in as much comfort as possible. Our trips range from shorter day-trips out of Cape Town to intensive three-week birding safaris throughout the continent and we offer both set departure and custom-made tours.
    **..Birding Kenya - with Birding & Beyond Safaris. Kenya is probably
      becoming the top most and popular birding destination on the African Continent.Many people think of Kenya being purely a Land of the "Big Five"  - Lion, Leopard,Buffalo,Rhino and Elephant; but, Kenya has a bird List with nearly 1,100 species!!! The diverse Habitat and Beauty of Kenyan Birds makes lots of amatuer  and Veteran Birders  to include Kenya on their Must Go destination.Kenya`s Varied Habitat of volcanic plains, hot springs soda lakes, desert, evergreen coastal Forests, cool montane and intermediate rain forest plus the grassy plains answers why Kenya is Africa`s Birding Paradise. BIRDING & BEYOND SAFARIS will be happy to host you Birding in Kenya.We  are a specialized Bird watching operator in East African Safaris. Our target market circles around all categories of Bird watchers around the world. We will guide you Birding and Big Game viewing through out Kenya and provide options for extentions into neighbouring Tanzania and Uganda. Our Itineraries  are designed to to take you through the most popular bird sites in Kenya to include: Lake Nakuru,Lake Baringo,Lake Naivasha,Samburu Reserve,Masai Mara Reserve,Mt Kenya,Kakamega Forest, Lake Victoria,Saiwa Swamp,Wajee Bird Sanctuary,Aberdares,Tsavo Park,Coastal Beaches as well as Arabuko Sokoke Coastal Forest. Our Experience is what makes us Unique! 
    **..The Ecology of Tanzania and Kenya - Cheesemans' Ecology
      Safaris. June 21 to July 15, 2004. No place in the world can offer such an immensity of mammals and birds! This safari will encompass the diversity of East Africa’s unparalleled wild lands, our favorite tour now for over twenty years.  We focus on East Africa’s stunning natural history, animal behavior, birding, and photography.  This is natural Africa as it should be, defining the in-depth nature tour. Leaders: Doug & Gail Cheeseman and local drivers. 16 participants.
    **..Birding Kenya with BES Tours - Ben's Ecological Safaris offers a
      diverse range of excursions to suit a variety of people; from weekend breaks for business travellers who are stopping over for a conference, to longer stays for family groups experiencing Kenya for the first time. With BES you get a qualified Kenyan guide who can share his knowledge and experience with you. 
    **..Kenya Bird Safari with Victor Emanuel Nature Tours (VENT)
      With a well-deserved reputation for top game-viewing, outstanding parks, superb tourist facilities, and an excellent new field guide, Kenya offers the Africa trip of a lifetime. Nowhere else can such a broad slice of the best of Africa be found in a small, accessible area including an avifauna of more than 1,100 species. 
      • Kenya Bird Safari  - October 27 - November 16, 2003 (21.0 days - Limit 12) with leaders David Wolf & Jeff Gordon. See also the Masai Mara Extension (to Kenya Bird Safari) with David Wolf, November 16 - November 21, 2002 (6.0 days - Limit 12). 
      VENT offers nearly 140 tours to over 100 land-based destinations each year and is the largest tour company in the world specializing in birding and natural history.

Choose another countryChoose another continentAdd or change a URL

Top of Page


Red-billed hornbill - Photo copyright Nick Lowton
Photo copyright Nick Lowton
    ....Malindi Camp and Cottage - on the Sabaki River, Kenya. 
      Budget Accommodations in Idyllic Surroundings at Sabaki River Estuary. Just five miles north of Malindi is the mouth and estuary of the Sabaki River, the second largest river in Kenya. It is two hours north of Mombassa on the Kenya Coast. The site is renowned for its thousands of migrant and resident waterbirds, including flamingoes and fish eagles. This is a community conservation effort through ecotourism.  The owner is local and is doing this to preserve the area for habitat.

Choose another countryChoose another continentAdd or change a URL

Top of Page


Endemics and Specialities

in Kenya

Information on endemics and specialities is derived from Sibley & Monroe checklists and bird distribution lists in Thayer's Birder's Diary - Version 2.05, supplemented by material found in Where to Watch Birds in Africa - by Nigel Wheatley. African speciality birds, while not endemic, are those that can only be found in three or less countries of Africa. Information on endangered birds is derived from the IUCN Red List, Birdlife International.  The endemic, endangered and speciality birds may be uncommon, extremely rare vagrants, may be extirpated in the country now or may only be present in migration. However, documented sightings of each species noted below have been made in Kenya.
Taveta Social-weaver - Photo copyright Pat Goltz
Photo copyright Pat Goltz

Endemics in Kenya
(for more information on endemic birds in Kenya, see Paul and Helen Harris' website)
___ Aberdare Cisticola
___ Clarke's Weaver
___ Hinde's Pied-Babbler
___ Kulal White-eye
___ Sharpe's Pipit
___ Sokoke Scops-Owl
___ Taita Thrush
___ Taita White-eye
___ Tana River Cisticola
___ William's Lark
Endangered Birds in Kenya
(endemics are printed in bold italic)

Breeding Birds

Non-Breeding Birds

___ Abbott's Starling
___ Amani Sunbird
___ Chapin's Flycatcher
___ Clarke's Weaver
___ East Coast Akalat
___ Grey-crested Helmetshrike
___ Hinde's Pied-Babbler
___ Kulal White-eye
___ Sokoke Pipit
___ Sokoke Scops-Owl
___ Taita Apalis
___ Taita Falcon
___ Taita Thrush
___ Taita White-eye
___ Tana River Cisticola
___ Thin-billed Flycatcher-Warbler
___ Turner's Eremomela
___ White-winged Apalis
___ Blue Swallow
___ Christmas Island Frigatebird
___ Corn Crake
___ Greater Spotted-Eagle
___ Lesser Kestrel
___ Spotted Ground-Thrush
___ White-eyed Gull

Other Near-Endemic Birds in Kenya
(adapted from Where to Watch Birds in Africa - by Nigel Wheatley.)

___ Abbott's Starling
___ Abyssinian Grosbeak-Canary
___ Amani Sunbird
___ Athi Short-toed Lark
___ Black-billed Wood-hoopoe
___ Boran Cisticola
___ Broad-winged White-eye
___ Brown-tailed Apalis
___ Buff-bellied Penduline-Tit
___ Chapin's Flycatcher
___ Chestnut-naped Francolin
___ Chubb's Cisticola
___ Collared Lark
___ Doherty's Bushshrike
___ Donaldson-Smith's 
___ Sparrow-Weaver
___ East Coast Akalat
___ Fire-fronted Bishop
___ Fischer's Greenbul
___ Fischer's Starling
___ Fischer's Turaco
___ Friedmann's Lark
___ Gillett's Lark
___ Golden Palm Weaver
___ Golden-winged Sunbird
___ Grey-crested Helmetshrike
___ Hartlaub's Turaco
___ Heuglin's Bustard
___ Hildebrande's Starling
___ Hunter's Cisticola
___ Jackson's Francolin
___ Jackson's Hornbill
___ Jackson's Widowbird
___ Kenrick's Starling
___ Kenya Grosbeak-Canary
___ Long-tailed Fiscal
___ Lyne's Cisticola
___ Malindi Pipit
___ Masked Lark
___ Mombassa Woodpecker
___ Moorland Chat
___ Moorland Francolin
___ Northern Pied-Babbler
___ Pale Batis
___ Pangani Long-claw
___ Papyrus Canary
___ Papyrus Gonolek
___ Papyrus Yellow Warbler
___ Plain-backed Sunbird
___ Red-naped Bushshrike
___ Red-throated Tit
___ Salvadori's Weaver
___ Scaly Babbler
___ Scaly Chatterer
___ Scheffler's Owlet
___ Sharpe's Pied-Babbler
___ Short-tailed Batis
___ Sokoke Pipit
___ Somali Bee-eater
___ Somali Crombec
___ Somali Sparrow
___ Stripe-cheeked Bulbul
___ Swahili Sparrow
___ Swainson's Sparrow
___ Taveta Golden-weaver
___ Tiny Greenbul
___ Turner's Eremomela
___ Uganda Wood-warbler
___ Uluguru Violet-backed Sunbird
___ Usambiro Barbet
___ White-browed Cronbec
___ White-headed Mousebird
___ White-winged Collared Dove
___ Yellow Flycatcher
___ Zanzibar Bishop

Choose another countryChoose another continentAdd or change a URL

Top of Page

Print and Other Resources on Birds

and Birding in Kenya

(logos and links take you to on-line locations where you can order/purchase these resources)
AMAZON.COM is the registered trademark of, Inc.
A small portion of your purchase price for any books purchased by following links from this site will go toward supporting the maintenance and development costs of this site.
Eastern Chanting-Goshawk - Photo copyright Eric Van Poppel
Photo copyright Eric Van Poppel
    ....Birds of Kenya and Northern Tanzania - by Dale A. Zimmerman
      (Illustrator), Donald A. Turner, David J. Pearson, Ian Willis (Illustrator). July, 1999. In East Africa, where Kenya alone boasts nearly 1,100 species, scarcely more than half are figured in the most widely used field guide. Because there has been so much guesswork by traveling birders about the hundreds of unfigured species, a superb team has finally done something about it and filled the gap. There will be no more guesswork.... The present volume should be hailed not only by birders but by conservationists aware of the urgent need for African governments to establish strong strategies to preserve their rich natural heritage. 
    ....Field Guide to the Birds of East Africa: Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda,
      Rwanda, Burundi (A Volume in the Poyser Series) by Fanshawe, John Fanshawe, Norman Arlott, John Gale, Brian Small, Terry Stevens. July, 2001. The Birds of East Africa is the first comprehensive field guide to the whole of this spectacular region. Small and compact, the guide covers a remarkable 1388 species, and three experienced artists have painstakingly prepared 287 plates with almost 3400 images illustrating all the plumages and major races likely to be encountered. 
    ....Birds of East Africa - by Dave Richards, David Richards. 
      February, 2001. This book is authoritative, small, inexpensive, and beautifully illustrated with photos taken by the author. Dave Richards is a superb photographer, and he has chosen those photos which best depict salient features of the birds. Not infrequently, he has more than one picture per species (females, flight, etc.), and he covers 265 species that you are likely to see.
    ....Lonely Planet Kenya (Lonely Planet Kenya, 4th Ed) - by Matt 
      Fletcher, Hugh Finlay, Geoff Crowther. Lonely Planet travel guides offer practical information for every budget on transportation, restaurants, and accommodations. These easy-to-use guides include numerous accurate maps, extensive background material and  detailed descriptions of sites, both on and off the beaten track.

Choose another countryChoose another continentAdd or change a URL

Top of Page