Kenya – Kenya is home to more than a thousand bird species – many are rare/threatened and most are beautiful. Birds can be found in all forests and national parks in Kenya and people from all over the world spend thousands of dollars to see them. Here are some tips for bird watching in Kenya!
Written by ‘bird nerd’ Andrea Liebl.
Where to go birdwatching in Kenya?
Fortunately, bird watching almost anywhere in Kenya is extraordinary. You can use a local company (e.g. Biodiversity Expedition Safari, a company that is run by a friend of mine) or go alone (some suggestions below). National parks will all have a stunning diversity of birds of all types, and you cannot go wrong by birding in any one of them.
Kakamega forest and Taita Hills are two places I found almost overwhelming (in a good way) for songbirds, and Watamu was the best place I visited for coastal birds. I had the rare opportunity to view birds in the hand, and although most people cannot do that, I would recommend working with a tour company for at least part of your trip if you are interested in the ecology of the birds you are observing.
Although many species are year-round residents of Kenya, some species migrate in the spring to Europe or other parts of Africa. One must-see is the flamingo migration. You can expect to see throughout much of the Rift Valley in Kenya during the summer months. Most tourists visit Lake Nakuru or Lake Naivasha, however smaller parks such as Lake Bogoria or Lake Baringo offer cheaper, and less crowded alternatives. At any lake, you can expect to see thousands of greater and lesser flamingos.
In Nairobi the organization ‘Nature Kenya’ organizes bird walks every wednesday morning. They meet at 8.45 a.m. at the Nairobi National Museum. Check the website for more information. They also sell a useful Nairobi National Park Bird checklist.
When to go birdwatching in Kenya?
Great news! You can go bird watching all year round in Kenya. In the rainy seasons, birds migrate overseas, but that’s only a small percentage of Kenya’s birdlife. You can find amazing native birds every day of the year.
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About the author
Andrea Liebl is a biologist who has had the opportunity to travel to many corners of the world to conduct and present her research on birds. For her Ph.D. dissertation work, Andrea spent a lot of time in many cities throughout Kenya studying the physiology and behavior of house sparrow (an introduced bird there). She currently works as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Exeter conducting research in Australia.
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A guide to Eliye Springs
Any additional tips for bird watching? Any questions?
Lots of good tips in here! Would love to get to Kenya someday to see some of these incredible creatures.
Hi Neil, thanks :)! You should go! Amazing wildlife there!
I love going to places where you can see different birds or wildlife. I think the blue bird at the top is a red-cheeked cordon-bleu.
I love the flamingos photo! So many of them! Those birds look fearless, do they come to your hand just like that?
I’m not sure Elena. I haven’t been on a bird tour myself unfortunately! But I reckon they don’t ;)!
The bird at Lake Nakuru: is that a kingfisher?