Birding In Kenya

While to most travelers Kenya is a popular destination for wildlife viewing, particularly for the big game, on the other hand, birding is also remarkable. A total of more than 110 bird species live in Kenya and on a 3-week birding tour, birders have a higher possibility to identify up to 600 bird species and more than 800 bird species while on a 28-days birding safari.

Kenya is known for its unique geographical landscape which defines its diversity in bird species. Over 5 main geographical regions make up Kenya and each of them has diverse birds and other wildlife species for travelers on Kenya safaris to explore. They include the Western Plateau, Highlands, Rift Valley, Coastal, and the Northern Plains.Kenya Birding Safari

The highland region of Kenya is comprised of 2 main sections and they lie on either part of the Rift Valley. It is one region known to receive plentiful of rainfall and it is comprised of areas such as Aberdare Mountains, Nairobi National Park, Mau Forest, Kongelai Escarpment, Gatamaiyo Forest Reserve, Mount Kenya, and others.

The Rift Valley region in Kenya and Tanzania covers the Eastern half of the extensive African Rift Valley. The Rift Valley stretches Southwards from Lake Turkana on the Northern part of Kenya down to the Northern side of Tanzania. This is one part of Kenya where you will come across many Alkaline Lakes with a huge profusion of flamingos and they include Lake Nakuru. Other lakes include Lake Baringo and Naivasha- two fresh lakes that often attract a variety of water birds compared to Soda Lakes.

The Rift Valley extends to cover parts of the Serengeti Plains of Tanzania located close to Kenya’s Masai Mara. These are ideal spots to witness the wildebeest migration plus giraffes, zebras, antelopes, big mammals such as leopards, lions, cheetahs, and others. In Masai Mara National Reserve alone, there exist more than 500 bird species.

The Western Plateau lies adjacent to Lake Victoria, between the Eastern and Western Rift Valley branches. Here, you can find the Kakamega Forest a home to more than 80 bird species and these are endemic to this forest. The other of interest for birders is the Kongelai escarpment known for its diverse species of birds.

The coastal region stretches to occupy the whole half of Kenya’s Eastern area and has many floodplains, low plateaus. This area is popular for its wide range of restricted avifaunal species not existing anywhere else. The Northern region covers Lake Turkana, Chalbi desert and it is one of the best spots to find the semi-arid savanna and bush bird species.

Birds of Kenya

Kenya is home to endemic, near-endemic birds and also attracts migratory birds in large numbers making it a special birding destination of its own. The notable birds to identify while on a birding tour in Kenya include the bateleur, ostriches, African fish eagle, fiscals, flamingos, montane white eye, Aberdare cisticola, Clarke’s weaver, Sokoke Pipit, Amani sunbird; Hinde’s pied babblers, Taveta golden weaver, Jackson’s francolin, vulturine guinea fowl.

Lake Baringo Flamingos

Lake Baringo Flamingos

Best birding locations in Kenya

A total of about 500 bird species are in Lake Nakuru National Park alone. They include several flamingos, greater Blue-eared starling, great white pelicans, and more.

  • Arabuko-Sokoke National Park

Located on Kenya’s Indian Ocean coast, Arabuko NP shelters a variety of endemic birds including Clarke’s weaver birds, Sokoke scops owls, African pygmy kingfishers, Fischer’s turacos, little yellow flycatcher weavers, Amani sunbird, Mombasa woodpecker, yellow-bellied greenbuls, and more.

  • Lake Naivasha

This is one of the most stunning freshwater lakes in Kenya and home to 400 bird species. The park is located Northwest of Nairobi and has a bird flock including the lesser flamingos, Basra reed warblers, African fish eagles, African spoonbills, red knobbed coots, African darters, African skimmers, grey hooded, Hottentot teals, and others.

  • Lake Baringo

Lake Baringo is also best described as birders’ paradise, hosting up to 500 bird species including the brubru and red-fronted warblers, pygmy batis, fan-tailed raven, Verreaux’s eagle, little and golden-backed gallinule, Northern masked, African scops owls, Lichtenstein’s sandgrouse, spotted thick-Knee, Northern red bishop and others.

  • Kakamega forest

This is home to interesting forest birds including cinnamon chest bee-eaters, blue turacos, giant kingfishers, white-spotted flufftails, black-faced rufous warblers, African broadbill, yellow-bellied wattle eye, equatorial akalat, Southern hyliota, black and white casqued hornbills. Other birding spots in Kenya include Masai Mara, Amboseli, and Mount Kenya National Park among others.

Best time to go birding in Kenya

The timing of birding varies each year but traditionally, the best time to go enjoy bird watching safaris in Kenya is during the month of November and early December. March, April, May are the other months of the year you should consider for birding in Kenya. Visiting Kenya during these months guarantees sightings of not only resident birds but also migratory birds from Europe or North Africa.

How to book a Birding Trip in Kenya

Our team of experts will assist you to plan a perfect birding trip through Kenya and other destinations in Uganda and Tanzania. Contact us by email to