Birds – Samburu NR

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.

There have been more than 390 bird species recorded in Samburu and Buffalo Springs national reserves. The reserves protect a variety of habitats, home to different bird species including arid acacia savannah, scrub and gallery forest alongside the Uaso Nyiro River. The dry, open country offers very rewarding birding opportunities and boasts a number of northeast African dry-country species shared with Ethiopia and Somalia, such as vulturine guineafowl, Somali bee-eater and golden-breasted starling.

Notable Birds in Samburu
Black-capped social weaver
Black-faced sandgrouse
Locally common
D'Arnaud's barbet
Locally common
Vulturine guineafowl
White-bellied bustard

Birding Rating

Birding Specials Treats for Avid Birders

  • Acacia tit
  • Bare-eyed thrush
  • African palm swift
  • Ashy cisticola
  • Black-bellied sunbird
  • Black-capped social weaver
  • Brown-tailed rock chat
  • Chestnut-headed sparrow lark
  • Chestnut weaver
  • Donaldson-Smith’s sparrow-weaver
  • Fischer’s starling
  • Golden pipit
  • Golden-breasted starling
  • Greater kestrel
  • Grey wren-warbler
  • Hunter’s sunbird
  • Lanner falcon
  • Mariqua sunbird
  • Northern brownbul
  • Palm-nut vulture
  • Pink-breasted lark
  • Pygmy batis
  • Red-bellied parrot
  • Red-necked falcon
  • Red-winged lark
  • Reichenow’s seedeater
  • Rosy-patched bush-shrike
  • Secretary bird
  • Singing bush lark
  • Somali bee-eater
  • Somali ostrich
  • Spotted palm-thrush
  • Von der Decken’s hornbill
  • Vulturine guineafowl
  • White-headed mousebird
  • Yellow-vented eremomela

Best Time for Bird Watching

Samburu is a bird watcher’s delight all year. Many unusual, dry-country specials reside here and can be spotted year-round. Migratory birds arrive into the reserve from November to April. One important consideration is the weather, as heavy showers can mess up your birding plans – November and April receive the most rainfall.

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 Samburu NR?

Birding Rating

Facts & Figures

Birds in Samburu NR
Bird Species
Migratory Birds
Nov to Apr