Bird-watching Thrives In Kenya, A Home To Over 400 Birds Species
Birdwatching, or birding, is a form of wildlife observation doubles up as a recreational activity. Mostly done with the naked eye or through a visual enhancement device like binoculars, telescopes, and many others. While some do it by listening for bird sounds. Birds watching public webcams have increased tremendously in the recent age after the discovery of broadband broadcasting and live streaming giving all nature lovers as equal opportunity to enjoy. Bird watching often involves a significant auditory component, as many bird species are more easily detected and identified by ear than by eye. Most birdwatchers pursue this activity for recreational or social reasons, unlike ornithologists, who engage in the study of birds using formal scientific methods
From the famous and biggest bird in the world, the Ostrich, to the spectacular flamingos that congregate in their millions at the various Lakes of the Great Rift Valley, camouflaged in pink, Kenya holds some remarkable birding sights that you have to see them to believe. With eleven percent of the world’s species – some 1089 different varieties, Kenya’s birding is one of the best in the world with records for birding trips to suggest a sighting of 300-600 different varieties on a short trip or to more than 120 at a particular site on a single day, thanks to the favourable climate all around the year, creating diverse habitats and geographical features that make it a suitable migratory route for birds. Even without venturing outside Nairobi, Kenya’s capital, more than 600 resident and migratory bird species are found; more than in any other capital city, and more than in most countries.
The rainy seasons of April and November coincides with the migration of birds from and to Europe and Asia, and some of the top day’s totals have been recorded at that time. Migrants make up only about ten percent of Kenya’s birdlife. Al though some spectacular birds of the bush topped by the guinea fowl, go-away birds, rollers and barbets, to mention but a few – are active all year.
Bird lover get a great chance to watch the world rarest spies in the tropical climate, mostly African indigenous and the unfortunately endangered birds, and for these rare sighting the bird enthusiast needs to sneak deep into our forests or climb on top of some high points in the highland grasslands tucked away amongst various farmlands. Arabuko-Sokoke Forest near Malindi, tops the list, with the six threatened bird species of the Sokoke Scops Owl, Sokoke Pipit, Spotted Ground Thrush, East Coast Akalat, Amani Sunbird and Clarke’s Weaver.
Some other areas including the forest “islands” at the top of the Taita Hills, near Voi, is home to the beautiful but critically endangered Taita Thrush and Taita Apalis, as well as the endangered Taita White-eye. Sharpe’s Longclaw and Aberdare Cisticola, native and endangered, live in the highland grasslands near the Aberdare mountain range. In western Kenya, Kakamega Forest is a little patch of Guineo-Congolian rainforest in Kenya. Among the many rainforest species found are spectacular Turacos and Hornbills, and the tiny, endangered Turner’s Eremomela. The scarce and threatened Papyrus Yellow Warbler is found in papyrus swamps on the shores of Lake Victoria, alongside the Papyrus Gonolek,
Nairobi have been known for it fast growing population in the last decade and the population has not stopped the birds from thriving with the stock leading, a stroll in hotel gardens or a trip to the Nairobi will leave any bird watcher with beautiful memories. Nairobi National Park or the grounds of the National Museum are likely to turn up bright black and yellow weavers, thanks to the tiny iridescent sunbirds resembling flying jewels, Secretary Bird, Bustards and Mousebirds with long tails, which are unique to Africa.
The giant Marabou Storks, a frequent visitor to the city, now nests on the acacia trees along the streets. Nature Kenya organizes weekly Morning Birdwalks in and around Nairobi to these and many more sites. A surprisingly wide range of habitats can be visited on day trips from Nairobi. These include Lake Naivasha in the Rift Valley, the dry bush around the Olorgesailie Prehistoric Site, and the Escarpment Forests in the foothills of the Aberdare mountain range.
The variety of locations available in Kenya wide natural reserves provides endless opportunity for birdwatchers. It is understood that Kenya is home to such a thriving bird population due to specific habitats and climates favoured by our endemic species and the lack of predatory animals that would otherwise threaten number. We look at the endless birds watching list on our next article.