Nairobi is a wonderfully birdy destination; most of the birding adventures in Kenya start or end in Nairobi. It has an array of hotspots that supports more mega-charismatic and glamorous bird species, places where you just walk, drive, cycle, or sit on a bench, and birds start presenting themselves in rapid sequence
Kenya is one of the best value birding destinations on the whole continent. The outstanding infrastructure, great accommodation, excellent food, wonderful hospitality, picturesque and motley scenery, and the presence of Africa’s big and small mammals makes it one of the most delightful countries in the world to bird in
A guided birding tour will introduce you to the feathered fauna of Kenyan birds that are interesting and, beautiful. Kenya is a perfect destination for birdwatchers. The country’s endemic birds are something to behold while the migratory bird species give birdwatchers the chance to see them in their natural habitats. Kenya is certainly a birding location for everyone. Nearly 1100 bird species have been recorded in Kenya, about twice the total number of birds in Europe. This in itself is enough for any birdwatcher to visit Kenya for a birding holiday
A good number of endemic and near-endemic bird species can effortlessly be seen on two weeks birding safari. These birds are especially desired as they only occur within the country or marginally beyond. The European migrants are present from August to April every year
Nairobi National Park
Nairobi National Park is the oldest Park in Kenya over 70 years old, the park list more than 500 bird species with half of these being residents or regular visitors. As in most National parks in Kenya, access by foot is restricted, being limited to designated areas; such as the Impala Observation Point, Mokoyeti Cliff, Hippo Pools Nature Trails, Ivory Burning site, Nairobi National Park lies only seven kilometers from the city center and thus provides a useful starting place for any birdwatcher. Nairobi National Park is really a birdwatching haven and you can see an amazing selection of birds throughout the year. Nairobi National Park has a wide variety of habitats that attracts an excellent selection of birds. These habitats can be divided into natural and man-made dams (ponds and lakes) open grassy plains, bush country, rock gorges riverine woodland, and upland forest
Nairobi National Park has four of the Big Five and has its own migration, Most of the herbivores move outside the park in search of pasture during the dry season, Roads are motorable throughout the year and they are well signposted
Best Birding Localities in Nairobi National Park
This route combined with Hippo pools and the Ox-bow lake is a gratifying area, the best place to see bustards, raptors, waders, and larks. The Athi Dam has substantial muddy margins which attract a variety of waders and water birds, crocodiles basking on the shore, and hundreds of Marabou Storks that commonly visit the dam in the afternoon to quench their thirst
This area consists of lush scrub bordering the Mbagathi River, with adjacent Yellow-barked Acacias woodland. A well-maintained nature trail allows access along the river through much of the woodland. Birding hours are productive early morning and late afternoon, especially when mixed flocks bird feeding parties are in evidence
The viewpoint over the wooded Mbagathi river gorge offers views of some woodland birds. The best place to see the shy and clandestine African Finfoot, Snowy-headed Barbet, Rocky Hryaxes, Olive Baboon, Leopard, Bushbuck, Black Rhino, Martial Eagle,
Kisembe forest covers the highland section of the park and is readily accessible, birds that may be seen here includes Emerald Cuckoo, Hartlaub’s Turaco, African Crowned Eagle nesting, Thick-billed Cuckoo, Narina Trogon, Olive Pigeon, Green Pigeon, Silvery-cheeked Hornbill, Grey-olive Greenbul, and Violet-backed Starling A day birding tour in Nairobi National may yield more than 150 bird species, but it is advisable to start early and have a bird guide who knows the park’s birds well
Magadi Road Birding
There are numerous stopovers along this road with the first one at Corner Baridi (cold bend), The fun part of it, is you do birding while walking as opposed to many areas where you confined to a vehicle
Gatamaiyu Forest Birding
Gatamaiyu is part of the larger Kereita forest, which is an extension of the southernmost end of the indigenous forest of the Aberdare Ranges, an ideal destination for Urban birding and hiking, Gatamaiyu forest is good for many afro tropical highland species, it’s a one-hour drive from Nairobi.
Manguo Swamp Birding
A wetland 30 minutes drive from Nairobi, a nice area for a variety of Waterfowl, and a localized Maccoa Duck
Manguo Swamp freshwater is a lodestone for the water birds and other highland species such as the Malachite Sunbird, Hunters Cisticola, Ayres’s Hawk-Eagle, Migrant species, Spotted Crake, Ferruginous Duck, Southern Pochard, Northern Shoveler & Pintail, Garganey have all been seen and recorded in the swamp
Karura Forest Birding
Situated in the northern part of Nairobi city, Karura Forest is 1,041 hectares, making it one of the largest urban gazetted forests in the world. Karura forest holds nearly all the 605 species of wildlife found in Nairobi, including three types of antelope.
The forest is home to a number of different mammals including the Harvey`s Duiker, Bush Bucks, Sykes’s & Vervet monkeys, Three horned Chameleon, Bird species include; Singing Cisticola African Goshawk, African Crowned Eagle, Augur Buzzard, Grey Cuckoo, Brown-chested Alethe, Narina Trogon, Long Crested Eagle, White-backed Duck, Malachite Kingfisher, Hartlaub’s Turaco, White-headed Barbet, Slender-billed Greenbul, African Black Duck, African Emerald Cuckoo, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, Paradise FlycatcherKindly note; Plastic water bottles are not allowed in the forest, carry your water with reusable bottles. Kindly note; Plastic water bottles are not allowed in the forest, carry your water with reusable bottles.
Ngong Road Forest Birding
Ngong Forest Sanctuary is one of the only very few forests in the world that exists within a city. Only 6 kilometers from Nairobi’s central business district, the forest is a precious resource for Kenya’s capital city.
The birds of Ngong Forest Sanctuary include bird characteristics of the indigenous dry evergreen forest of Nairobi, birds of the surrounding grasslands and gardens, and water birds. African, Grey, Mountain & Yellow Wagtails, Grassland & Tree Pipits, Yellow-throated Longclaws Slender-billed Greenbul, Cabanis’s & Yellow-bellied Greenbul, Common Bulbul, White-starred Robin, Cape & Ruppell’s Robin-Chats, Brown-backed Scrub-Robin, Common Stonechat, Northern &Pied Wheatear, Olive Thrush, Yellow-whiskered Greenbul, Crimson rumped Waxbill, African Fish Eagle, White-headed Barbet, Grosbeak Weaver, Singing Cisticola, Augur Buzzard, African Citril
Oloolua Nature Trail Birding
Oloolua nature trail is tucked in Karen suburbs, which is 250 hectares in size of dry upland indigenous forest with few patches that have the exotic plantations of the Eucalyptus. Oloolua Nature trail is known to have exciting bird species such as the African Crowned Eagle, a pair have successfully bred in the forest for many years now, Lemon Dove, Hartlaub’s Turaco can’t be missed, the high-pitched squawk and loud, guttural series of barking calls “kwa, kak, kwak-kwak, Kwak”, will be heard in high up in the tree canopies, Narina Trogon- an eye-catching, mostly iridescent-metallic-green bird, with a scarlet belly, broad yellow bill, and white under the tail. The face and throat of the male are green; while the females’ are dirty gray-brown which is very good at camouflaging on the green leaves may also be seen or heard a soft “whoo” in the canopies