East Africa is home to over 1000 unique bird species, with most of them found exclusively in Kenya. The abundance of bird habitats in the country is astounding and simply spectacular. Tourists can spot up to 100 species in a day, a fact that has earned the country the „bird watchers paradise“ title. Most of the bird species are found in four main habitats; in and around water, the open savannah, near and in the woodlands and in the open lands.
Species like the famous Pink flamingoes are abundant in the Rift valley province but mostly especially in Lake Nakuru national park. The magnificent white pelican and the African fish eagle are a must see in many of the rift valley lakes. Other birds found near water bodies and swamps include kingfisher that dives into the water at an angle of 90 degrees during fishing, Herons, Plovers, Storks, Wild duck and geese, Cranes and Jacanas. Many of these birds are quite easy to spot thanks, to their bright colors and unique fishing techniques.
The best places to visit to see these birds are the lake national parks like Lake Naivasha and Lake Nakuru. Other lakes include Bogoria, Baringo, Elementaita, Turkana and Magadi.The open savannah is home to the best when it comes to wildlife. Most parts of Kenya is covered in savannah grassland giving room for wildlife to thrive. A majority of Kenya’s national parks have wide open grassland areas that are home to these birds.
The ostrich is the biggest bird on earth and is a spectacular site to behold. Being a ground bird, it is adapted to living in areas with long grass that act as cover against enemies. The tall ground hornbill is also very active especially in its search for food on the ground. The semi bald vulture, the secretary bird and the eagle are also very easy to spot in the tall grass and in the sky above.
Another great habitat for birds, much smaller than the savannah birds, is the open land and farm land. Weaver birds are possibly the loudest and brightest colored birds in the farm land areas. They flock areas with abundance of grains and especially just before and during the harvest seasons. The ox peckers, sunbirds, egrets and bustards are also found in the open areas but most especially in the plains like the famous Athi-Kapiti plains of eastern province.
The most captivating birds in Kenya are undoubtedly the woodland and forest birds. A walk into any tree filled area offers you a splendid mix of the different jungle calls. Some are very high pitched, some give off deep bass sounds while for others the tempo is simply amazing. Bird watching in the tropical forests of Kenya is probably the best experience of all since the birds are usually well hidden. Finding them is never too hard even though they never last on one canopy for too long. These birds include; Drongos, Shrikes, Guinea fowls, Barbets and the lilac breasted roller bird.
Kenya has no strictly defined seasons like winter and summer; many birds migrate from lake to lake following their own instincts. Forest and savannah birds rarely migrate but may sometimes move to a new home within their habitat. You can catch all the bird action you could ever wish for within at least three days of travel. The different habitats are only a drive away when you are in Kenya and the bird watchers paradise never disappoints.