Birds – Kenya

Anthony Ham
By Anthony Ham

Anthony is a renowned Africa expert and author of many Lonely Planet guidebooks, including the guide to Kenya.

Anthony is a renowned Africa expert and author of the Lonely Planet guide to Kenya.

Anthony is the author of the Lonely Planet guide to Kenya.

With over 1,100 recorded species, Kenya is one of Africa’s best birding destinations. In Africa, this number of species is only exceeded by the much larger and inaccessible Democratic Republic of Congo. A fair number of endemic and near-endemic species can easily be seen on any birding trip. The European migrants are present from September to April.

Notable Birds in Kenya
Crowned hornbill
Hartlaub's bustard
Scarlet-chested sunbird
Southern Ground hornbill
White-bellied go-away bird

Birding Rating

Endemic (E) & near-endemic (NE) birds

  • Abbott's starling (NE)
  • Aberdare cisticola (E)
  • Amani sunbird (NE)
  • Clarke's weaver (E)
  • Grey-crested helmet-shrike (NE)
  • Hinde's pied babbler (E)
  • Jackson's hornbill (NE)
  • Jackson's francolin (NE)
  • Montane white-eye (E)
  • Sharpe's longclaw (NE)
  • Sokoke pipit (NE)
  • Sokoke scops owl (NE)
  • Taita thrush (E)
  • Tana River cisticola (E)
  • Taveta golden weaver (NE)
  • Williams's lark (E)

Other Birding Specials

  • Abyssinian crimsonwing
  • Bar-tailed trogon
  • Blue-headed bee-eater
  • Friedmann's lark
  • Golden-breasted starling
  • Golden-winged sunbird
  • Great blue turaco
  • Kori bustard
  • Red-naped bush-shrike
  • Secretary bird
  • Somali courser
  • Somali sparrow
  • Taita apalis
  • Turner's eremomela
  • Vulturine guineafowl
  • Yellow-bellied wattle-eye

Best Time for Bird Watching

The birdlife in Kenya is good year-round, but at its prime from September to April when the migratory birds from Europe and northern Africa are present. At this time, many resident bird species are nesting and are in breeding plumage. For wildlife viewing, however, the Dry season is better.

Best Parks for Birding Including Birding Rating

The best wildlife viewing parks, such as the Masai Mara and Amboseli, offer a solid introduction to East Africa’s common birds. The Rift Valley Lakes including Lake Nakuru and Bogoria are the places to go to mark off many waterbirds, while the arid north, such as Samburu, offers many dry-country specials. Arabuko-Sokoke and Kakamega Forest are birding hotspots as well.

Want to Visit Kenya?

Birding Rating

Facts & Figures

Birds in Kenya
Bird Species
Migratory Birds
Sep to Apr