Birds – Lake Nakuru NP

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.

Lake Nakuru is a great birding destination with more than 500 species recorded. The soda lake is a birding hotspot and supports a lot of birdlife, including large flocks of pelicans. Unfortunately, flamingos are no longer the drawcard here as unfavorable conditions have driven them to other Rift Valley lakes. Nakuru is also one of the best places in Kenya to see the striking, long-tailed widowbird. There is a good variety of raptors including Verreaux’s and long-crested eagle.

Notable Birds in Lake Nakuru
Great white pelican
Greater blue-eared starling
Greater flamingo
Hottentot teal
Lesser flamingo

Birding Rating

Birding Specials Treats for Avid Birders

(E) = endemic to Kenya & (NE) = near-endemic to Kenya

  • Abyssinian thrush
  • Arrow-marked babbler
  • Bateleur
  • Black-tailed godwit
  • Black-winged lapwing
  • Brimstone canary
  • Brown-backed scrub robin
  • Crab-plover
  • European roller
  • Grey crowned crane
  • Grey-headed woodpecker
  • Great snipe
  • Greater spotted eagle
  • Grey-crested helmet-shrike (NE)
  • Hildebrandt’s starling
  • Eastern imperial eagle
  • Kenya rufous sparrow
  • Lappet-faced vulture
  • Lesser flamingo
  • Lesser kestrel
  • Long-tailed widowbird
  • Maccoa duck
  • Montane white-eye
  • Northern puffback
  • Pallid harrier
  • Red-capped lark
  • Rufous-throated wryneck
  • Rüppell's vulture
  • Rüppell's robin-chat
  • Schalow’s wheatear
  • Shining sunbird
  • Slender-billed greenbul
  • Sooty falcon
  • Speke’s weaver
  • Western reef heron
  • White-fronted bee-eater
  • White-headed vulture

Best Time for Bird Watching

If spotting migrant birds from Europe and north Africa is part of plans for a trip to Lake Nakuru, then the best time to visit is from November to April. As this is also breeding season, many species are nesting at this time. Otherwise, the park offers good bird watching throughout the year. Although it’s good for birding, April tends to be very wet, and is a less productive time for general wildlife viewing.

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 Lake Nakuru NP?

Birding Rating

Facts & Figures

Birds in Lake Nakuru NP
Bird Species
Migratory Birds
Nov to Apr