Kenya
Africa in a Nutshell
10-31 May, 2008

Guide: Benji Schwartz
Participants: Frank and Toni Wong


All photos taken on this tour
Eastern Paradise-Whydah


Introduction:

With world-class accommodation, spectacular scenery, and an amazing array of bird and mammal species, Kenya is the ideal destination for both birders and non-birders alike. It also makes an excellent introduction to Africa with habitat ranging from montane forest to open savannah and lowland rainforest with tremendous opportunities to truly study and get to grips with some of Africa’s most iconic species. Run as a custom tour, we were able to completely adjust the intensity of our birding to match our other interests. With a large focus on photography and mammal viewing, as well as a chance to experience some of Kenya’s outstanding culture, we were able to have an enjoyable and relaxed experience while still seeing a large number of fantastic birds.

Day 1: Lake Magadi
Birding in a new place is always a thrill, but when that place is on a different continent, and in an amazing country like Kenya, the excitement is almost unbearable. After having picked up species such as Superb Starling and Marabou Stork on the brief drive to our hotel the previous evening, our first new bird on our first full day was the gorgeous Bronze Sunbird. This unexpected find perched nicely for us on a telephone wire just on the outskirts of Nairobi. Having gotten off to a great start, we continued on our way to Lake Magadi. Brief roadside stops introduced us to some of the more common species such as White-eyed Slaty Flycatcher, Streaky Seedeater, and Kenya Rufous Sparrow that we would become very familiar with during our trip. A longer stop in Olepolos was our first true introduction to how amazing birding in Kenya can be. The birds just kept on appearing; from the giant White-bellied Go-away-bird to tiny Yellow-bellied Eremomela and species such as Red-and-yellow Barbet, Blue-headed Cordon-bleu, Banded Parisoma, and White-bellied Canary mixed in-between. The real highlight however was the majestic Kori Bustard that seemed not to notice us there and with stately grace walked by within fifteen meters of us!
Continuing on our way we made one final stop as a flock of about 10 Beautiful Sunbird fed on flowers along the roadside just before Lake Magadi. As we arrived, the thrill of hundreds of Flamingoes, both Greater and Lesser, was almost too much to take, but we soon started spotting other shorebirds as the flamingoes melted into the background. Lake Magadi was chock-a-block full of the normally difficult to find Chestnut-banded Plover.  Every time our bins were raised, another plover seemed to appear. Combine this with Curlew Sandpiper, slews of Pied Avocet, African Spoonbill, and Yellow-billed Stork, and Lake Magadi was definitely in good form. A final stop at a small water drip turned up African classics such as Namaqua Dove, Cut-throat Finch, Chestnut Sparrow, African Silverbill, and Chestnut Weaver. While it didn’t feel that the excitement of our first day could be matched, we knew there was still a lot more to come!

Day 2: Nairobi NP
Located within the city limits of Kenya’s capital, Nairobi NP is home to over 600 species: the highest species count of any capital city in the world! The almost mind-numbing number of birds seen in our one day here kept us constantly on our toes. The morning started out with fields full of Red-collared and White-winged Widowbirds dashing about all around us. We were also surprised and thrilled to find that the fields were full of Cardinal Quelea; a species that is only seasonally common in Kenya and often difficult to find. Driving through the park, birds weren’t the only things on our minds as we soon began to encounter some of the mammals that Africa is famous for.  Giraffes became a common background to our birding, but the true mammalian thriller was a gorgeous black rhino seen feeding on the plains. However, in a day of over 100 bird, and 7 mammal species, the highlight was still to come. As we were making our way back towards the exit gate, a strange sight drew all our attention. Out in the field an odd shape could be seen bouncing up and down. As soon as this stopped, the same could be seen in another part of the field, and then another and another. At least six Jackson’s Widowbird, an East African endemic, could be seen displaying all around us! Being able to sit and watch such a rare and amazing feat was definitely the highlight of a day full of amazing experiences!

Red-and-yellow BarbetMalachite Kingfisher
Red-and-yellow Barbet were quite common in suitable habitat throughout the tourMalachite Kingfisher is always a highlight for kingfisher enthusiasts


Day 3: Mt. Kenya – Castle Lodge
Leaving Nairobi, our excitement levels were high as we would now be spending an extended period of time away from the hustle and bustle of city life. The day began around the small town of Thika where we managed to pick up our first waterfowl of the trip with species including Red-billed, White-faced Whistling-, and Yellow-billed Ducks. Further stops along the way produced Black-backed Puffback, African Jacana, and amazing numbers of Intermediate Egret. Feeling ready for lunch, we made our way to Castle Lodge. Located on Mt. Kenya, Kenya’s highest mountain, we were set for a fabulous time. As hungry as we had all been, our food was unfortunately left to get cold due to the amazing number of sunbirds flitting past our table. The highlight of them all was the absolutely spectacular Tacazze Sunbird. The beautiful sunny day only went to make the iridescent gold and purple on this amazing species even brighter. An afternoon walk through the forest brought us species such as African Crowned-Eagle, Hunter’s Cisticola, African Hill Babbler, Tullberg’s Woodpecker, and Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird. However, the absolute highlight of the day came as we were on our way to dinner. Sitting at the top of a bare tree was a singing Abbott’s Starling! This East African endemic is confined to the highland slopes of Mt. Kenya and Northern Tanzania. While often extremely difficult to track down, this cooperative bird sat in perfect view for over an hour.

Day 4: Mt. Kenya – Mountain Lodge
While the heat from the fireplace may have kept some of us snug in bed, a persistent Montane Nightjar seemed to have plans of its own for our morning. Once rousted, the nightjar proceeded to sit in the open, providing excellent spotlight looks at our first nocturnal bird of the trip. As the sun rose, other birds began to make themselves known as well. Best of all, our Abbott’s Starling was back and had brought six of his friends. We now had a great chance to study both the males and the females. While difficult to tear ourselves away from this great bird, we knew there were still plenty of species for us to pick up. We quickly encountered, amongst others, Montane Oriole, Black-throated Apalis, and Kandt’s Waxbill. Having already had a fulfilling morning, we decided it was past time for some coffee and a great breakfast before heading on our way.
En-route to Mountain Lodge, a brief stop was all that was needed to find a lovely pair of roosting African Wood Owl. Accidentally flushing this bird was an overall bonus as it perched quite close and was immediately mobbed by a massive flurry of birds including Grey-capped Warbler, Northern Double-collared Sunbird, and Yellow-whiskered Greenbul. After taking in all the excitement of this mobbing action, we decided to leave the owl in peace and continue on our way to Mountain Lodge. While the bird activity here was rather slow, it did provide some excellent photographic opportunities and along with excellent views of the fantastic Golden-winged Sunbird and massive numbers of Eastern Bronze-naped Pigeon. The mammal viewing also went a long way to make up for the slow birding. African buffalo, defassa waterbuck, and bushbuck surrounded the waterhole in the afternoon, while darkness brought spotted hyena, greater-spotted genet, and white-tailed mongoose.

Day 5: Naru Moru
Feeling bad for their previous day’s inactivity, the birds this morning definitely seemed to feel they had some catching up to do. As soon as the sun hit the trees the birds started hopping around in earnest. We quickly picked up many of the specialties including Grey and Chestnut-throated Apalis, Slender-billed Greenbul, and fantastic views of Hartlaub’s Turaco. After a fantastic session of binocular aerobics, we sat down to a great breakfast before beginning our journey to Naru Moru. Passing through the Solio Plains, we quickly began accumulating even more species. The most fantastic of all though were the magnificent Long-tailed Widowbird in amazing breeding plumage. With foot-and-a-half long tails, watching these birds flit through the grasslands was an awe-inspiring sight! Other highlights here included African Silverbill, Northern Anteater-Chat, and massive flocks of the worlds most numerous land passerine: the Red-billed Quelea. Arriving at Naru Moru after a hectic morning of birding, we decided to relax a bit and watch as the splendid Tacazze, Bronze, and Golden-winged Sunbirds all vied for position at the flowering Jacarandas. Even in our relaxed mood, we couldn’t help but pick up species such as Rufous Chatterer, Black Cuckoo-Shrike, and African Hawk-Eagle.

Grey-headed NegrofinchAbbott's Starling
Grey-headed Negrofinch was quite common in the montane forests of Mt. KenyaEndemic to East Africa and often quite difficult to find, 8 Abbott's Starling were seen around Castle Forest Lodge, Mt. Kenya

Day 6: Lake Naivasha
After some pre-breakfast birding, we were set to descend into the warmer climes of the Great Rift Valley. Our first stop on the way to Lake Naivasha was at the famous Mackinder’s Eagle-Owl site where we were able to get some excellent photos of our second day-roosting owl of the trip. We then made our way to Thompson Falls. This stunning waterfall is surrounded by picturesque gardens filled with birds. While marveling at a gorgeous Amethyst Sunbird overhead, our attention was quickly diverted as a pair of Sharpe’s Starling flew into a bare tree. These striking, though not easily found, starlings hung about for quite a while as they popped in and out of what turned out to be a large cavity nest. While we could have sat watching and photographing these stunners for ages, hunger pangs began to set in and we decided to continue on our way.
After gorging ourselves on a terrific lunch at Lake Naivasha, we loaded up into a canoe to let the food settle. Normally designed as a chance to see hippo, of which we saw two very large pods, the bird viewing was astounding as well. While watching a surprisingly friendly Giant Kingfisher, we quickly began ticking off cuckoos as Klaas’s, Dideric, African, and Red-chested Cuckoos all flew into a group of lakeside acacias. Other sightings from the canoe included Red-headed and Grosbeak Weavers, Grey-crowned Crane, Purple Gallinule, and hundreds of breeding plumage Whiskered Tern. Well pleased with our relaxing afternoon effort, but still wanting more, we explored the grounds of the Lake Naivasha Country Club. Just as the light was fading we managed to track down a singing Black Cuckoo, of the less widespread gabonensis subspecies, that seemed to be arriving a bit late for the earlier cuckoo party.

Day 7: Hell’s Gate and Lake Nakuru
An old volcanic crater, Hell’s Gate NP provides stunning scenery as the massive cliff faces rise out of the open plains. Our birding here began with a bang as Schalow’s Wheatear, one of the local specialties, was found hopping in a garden right at the entrance gate. Although not everyone was impressed with the beauty of this species, it is quite striking for a wheatear. Entering the park, our first stop was at a giant outcrop known as Witch’s Tit. While usually fairly active with passerines, a soaring pair of Lanner Falcon seemed to be keeping the birds hidden. We continued on through the massive herds of zebra and had excellent views of nearly 75 perched and soaring Rueppell’s Griffon. While swift numbers were low, we did manage to separate the Nyanza from the more common African Black Swifts. A final stop at the Witch’s Tit found the falcons perched and a very responsive Mocking Cliff-Chat before we left to begin the drive to Lake Nakuru.
Lake Nakuru is always an amazing experience and this afternoon was no exception. An attempt to drive straight from the entrance gate all the way to the lodge without stopping turned out to be futile as within minutes of entering the park two large francolins ran across the road. While worried we might miss out on lunch, we couldn’t stop ourselves from reaching for bins. It was definitely a good thing we did as the birds turned out to be two Hildebrandt’s Francolin frantically chasing each other on the road. While locally common, this species is often very difficult to pick up and always a good find. Just making it to the lodge in time for lunch, we spent some time relaxing before heading back out to see what other birds the park had in store. We weren’t disappointed as we quickly found Green Woodhoopoe, Blue-naped Mousebird, and Lilac-breasted Roller. The birding continued to be fantastic with hundreds of Great White Pelican and both Lesser and Greater Flamingoes, but the real highlight came just as we were about to start our return journey to the lodge. Having stopped to watch a Red-capped Lark, our attention was immediately drawn away by a black-backed jackal being chased by, and then chasing, a Grant’s gazelle. As if this wasn’t enough of a show, a spotted hyena came to join in the fun. While all the animals ended up going their separate ways, seeing this natural interplay is truly one of the most quintessential of African experiences.

Day 8: Lake Nakuru to Lake Baringo
Stepping out of our cabins as the sun was rising we were immediately greeted by the sight of thousands of White Pelican covering the surface of Lake Nakuru. While flamingo numbers weren’t as high, this was soon forgotten as we began ticking off species on our way to breakfast. White-browed Robin-Chat, Northern Black-Flycatcher, African Thrush, and Grey-headed Woodpecker were all seen within minutes of opening our doors and breakfast itself was interrupted by a stunning male Mocking Cliff-Chat hopping under our table. As we began our drive, the morning’s frenzy continued with amazing sightings including Common Scimitar-bill, Buff-bellied Warbler, Black-crowned Tchagra, Northern Crombec, and a stately Secretarybird. With final views of more Hildebrandt’s Francolin, we decided to depart Nakuru as the morning activity died down.
With Baringo being a center for the troubles of a few months past, it was wonderful to be greeted so enthusiastically by residents happy to see a return to normality. While some of the lodges in the area hadn’t reopened, the birds took no notice and were as prolific as ever. Though ventures further afield were planned for the afternoon, the massive number of birds in the lakeshore gardens ended up keeping us completely occupied. A virtual feast of fallen seeds was well underway when we arrived and some of the bird highlights included Jackson’s Hornbill – a specialty of the area, Rueppell’s Long-tailed Glossy-Starling, Brown Babbler, White-billed Buffalo-Weaver, and Spotted Palm-Thrush. As rain and strong winds began to pick up, a beautiful double rainbow was our last sight before turning in for the night.

Cinnamon-chested Bee-eaterRed-chested Cuckoo
Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater were quite common through out the tour, but not quite as photogenic as this oneRed-chested Cuckoo was just one of the 5 cuckoo species seen at Lake Naivasha


Day 9: Lake Baringo to Kakamega Forest
While the number of nocturnal birds that can usually be found at Baringo was low, the famous Baringo Cliffs more than made up for their absence. Starting off the morning with terrific sightings of a pair of roosting Grayish Eagle-Owl, we soon became swamped with birds including Pygmy Batis, Brown-backed Scrub-Robin, and Bristle-crowned Starling. Heading to the cliffs, we soon picked out Mouse-colored Penduline-Tit, Brown-tailed Rock Chat, Red-fronted Warbler, and Green-winged Pytilia. After picking up a slew of new birds, we departed from Baringo excited to reach our next destination. Kakamega forest stands alone in Kenya as a last patch of Congolese Rainforest. As such, there are many species here that can’t be found anywhere else in Kenya. We were all extremely excited to reach this unique destination and our optimism for its possibilities was quickly justified. Before even having a chance to check into Rondo Retreat, a pair of the comical and cartoonish Great Blue Turaco were spotted in a tree directly outside our cabin. Perched out in the open, these birds allowed excellent views (and photos) before they began running through the trees like giant, crested squirrels. While on-and-off-again downpours made the last hour of birding before sunset difficult, it didn’t stop us picking up a couple more goodies in the form of Grey-winged Robin-Chat and Brown-chested Alethe. With two full days of birding Kakamega ahead of us, it was a thrill to have picked up two quite difficult birds within our first hour!

Day 10: Kakamega Forest
With heavy rain continuing throughout the night, we were quite relieved when it finally let up as the sun rose. And no sooner had the rain stopped than the birds came out in force! Before even reaching the dining room we had seen Slender-billed Greenbul, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, White-headed Saw-wing, and, best of all, the globally threatened and extremely range restricted Turner’s Eremomela. With such a great start to the day, we didn’t think things could possibly improve; little did we know what was in store! Birding around the grounds of Rondo Retreat turned out to be extremely productive. Flowering trees brought in swarms of Green-headed, Green-throated, Bronze, Scarlet-chested, and Northern Double-collared Sunbirds while Grey-winged and Snowy-crowned Robin-Chats hopped on the ground nearby. Making our way out to the road we quickly picked up goodies such as White-tailed Ant-Thrush, Chubb’s Cisticola, African Blue-Flycatcher, Bocage’s Bush-shrike, and Black-and-white Casqued Hornbill. Feeling quite happy with our morning effort, we jokingly commented that it was a shame we hadn’t seen more barbets about. Well, they must have heard us and been offended because they showed up in force once we arrived back at our cabin. Grey-throated, Double-toothed, Hairy-breasted, and Yellow-spotted Barbets were all seen feeding on a bush just behind the main office! Watching their feeding frenzy soon made us realize we were due for one of our own before beginning our afternoon jaunt.
Unfortunately the rains once again began just as we were about to head further afield into the forest. We started on our way regardless of the weather, but the deluge soon had us questioning our sanity. Just as we were about to give up and head back, a Black-faced Rufous Warbler was heard and we decided to brave the rain and exit the van to track it down. As soon as we stepped out of the vehicle the rain suddenly stopped and not only did we see the warbler, but a very obliging Leudher’s Bush-shrike flew within meters of us for excellent looks (though we were all kicking ourselves for not having cameras with us due to the rain). With the rain stopped, we continued our walk with highlights including Olive-green Camaroptera, Banded Prinia, Kakamega Greenbul, and Dusky Tit. As a grand finale to a terrific day, two notorious skulkers, Equatorial Akalat and Brown-chested Alethe, came out into the open on the side of the road!

Day 11: Kakamega
Still on a bird-high from the previous days bonanza, we spent the day searching the forest interior for some of Kakamegas more difficult species. While the quantity was no match for the day before, the quality was definitely up there. Within minutes of starting we had picked up Jameson’s Wattle-eye, Uganda Wood-Warbler, Brown-eared Woodpecker, and Olive-green Camaroptera. Continuing deeper into this lush forest the birding got more difficult, but the benefits seemed greater. The piercing call of Scaly-breasted Illadopsis could be heard all around us while Red-tailed Bristlebill and Cabanis’s Greenbul hopped through the undergrowth. We were soon lucky enough to hit a large flock where we picked out species such as Pink-footed Puffback, African Shrike-Flycatcher, Red-headed Malimbe, Dusky Crested-Flycatcher, Yellowbill, and both Chestnut and Yellow-breasted Wattle-eyes. One of the highlights though was spotting what on first sight appeared to be a Red-bellied Paradise-Flycatcher; an extremely rare bird in the region. On closer inspection, the bird in question turned out to be a partial hybrid with African Paradise-Flycatcher (a much more common bird in the region). While having a red belly and lacking the white in the wings, the gray-blue of the head came down to merge slightly with the red. Definitely a gorgeous bird and all the more exciting for the controversy it raised over countability! Though bird activity slowed down in the afternoon, stunning Red-headed Bluebill and Blue-headed Bee-eater made the extra effort well worthwhile!

Great Blue TuracoHairy-breasted Barbet
Running through the trees like a giant squirrel, the comical Great Blue Turaco is always one of the highlights of Kakamega ForestHairy-breasted Barbet displayed very nicely on the grounds of Rondo Retreat, Kakamega Forest


Day 12: Masai Mara
Though mostly a driving day, Kenya is the sort of place where it’s near impossible not to see new birds. Leaving Kakamega before the birds were active, we arrived at Kisumu quite early and decided to take advantage of the situation by having a peak at one of Africa’s largest lakes: Lake Victoria. Massive numbers of Hammerkop surrounded us as we watched Fan-tailed Widowbird and the absolutely stunning Red-chested Sunbird flit through the reeds. With our photographic thirst quenched we left Lake Victoria only to come to a screeching halt on the outskirts of Kisumu as a horde of African Openbill landed in the roadside rice paddies!
After a long drive, we arrived in the Mara with a bit of light remaining and birded our way to the lodge. While Water Thick-knee, Black Coucal, and Yellow-throated Longclaw were all impressive, the true draw of the Masai Mara is in the assortment and pure number of mammals. Huge herds (properly referred to as “dazzles”) of zebra could be seen frolicking on the open plains with Thompson’s and Grant’s gazelle, impala, topi, wildebeest, and hartebeest while stately giraffe fed in the distance. An obliging family of elephant passed extremely close while a hyena with numerous cubs wrestled and yelped right next to the van (one of the cubs actually started trying to eat the vans radio antenna before we decided it was time to go!) With a late afternoon thunder storm rolling in, we arrived at the lodge full of anticipation for what the next couple days would bring!

Day 13: Masai Mara
The Masai Mara definitely did not disappoint us today. Starting off the morning we quickly picked up Rosy-throated Longclaw, Parasitic Weaver, and displaying Flappet Lark. Our mind soon turned from birds though as we caught sight of a cheetah with two cubs perched atop a termite mound. These stunning animals were very cooperative and provided excellent photo opportunities. By the time other vehicles arrived to check out our sighting, they seemed rather confused as we were all facing away from the cheetah to get photos of a lovely displaying Sooty Chat and a covey of Harlequin Quail. Continuing on, we soon encountered our second large cat species for the morning: a male and female lion. Not at all wary of our presence, the true king of the African savannah got up to stretch and show off within mere meters of the vehicle! With our excitement levels high we drove off in search of more amazing experiences.
The afternoon found us in the midst of hundreds of zebra. The sea of black-and-white stripes was almost mind boggling and it was easy to see how their hides provide a great strategy for confusing potential predators. As we continued driving we noticed a distinct lack of ungulates and soon spotted the cause: a lone cheetah on the prowl and looking quite hungry! Even while surrounded by such amazing mammals, birds were not neglected. African Wattled Lapwing sat preening on the shore of the Mara River surrounded by hippos and crocodiles while Singing Bushlark flitted between hooves. Stopped to view a stunning Lappet-faced Vulture, we were commenting on the seeming lack of large ground dwelling birds when a White-bellied Bustard flew from the tall grasses. Not 100 meters later a pair of Black-bellied Bustard dust bathing in the middle of the road provided an excellent close to the day.

Sooty ChatCheetah
With a displaying Sooty Chat on one side and a cheetah family on the other, it was hard to know exactly where to point the camera

Day 14: Masai Mara
Deviating slightly from birding, today was spent experiencing the local Masai culture. Visiting a small village, we were allowed to see the traditional lifestyle led by this ancient tribal group. Primarily shepherds leading a semi-nomadic existence, the villages lack electricity, running water, and many of the other modern amenities that are often considered so essential to our survival. Greeted by a traditional dance of welcome, the chief was kind enough to give us a tour through the small village and through his small shelter. While we were all fascinated by the Masai way of life, they seemed equally enthralled with our birding gear and looking through the spotting scope was definitely a highlight for them.
Though our day was rather relaxing and not a lot of time was spent searching for birds, we still managed some extraordinary species. Walking around the grounds of one of the lodges we were stopped in our tracks as Ross’s Turaco began calling nearby. Tracking the bird down, we were able to get spectacular looks of this stunning purple, yellow, and red bird. While watching these, we were flabbergasted as two Schalow’s Turaco flew into the same tree. While this is your more run-of-the-mill green turaco, its extremely long crest makes it quite distinctive and its limited range in East Africa makes it all that much more exciting. Seeing both of these spectacular turacos in one tree surely makes up for the lack of time spent birding during the rest of the day! Still, we did manage quite a few other species including Gray Kestrel, Capped Wheatear, Slate-colored Boubou, Long-billed Pipit, and the range restricted Usambiro Barbet.  Add to this over 20 species of mammal, including great views of both cheetah and lion, and the combination of culture, birding, photography, and mammal viewing was definitely a success!

Day 15: Masai Mara to Nairobi
Primarily a travel day, our morning began with a final drive through the vast open plains of the Mara. With mammals and birds at every turn, it’s always difficult to say good-bye to this fantastic region. With final views of elephant, giraffe, zebra, and many others, we left the park to start our journey back to Nairobi. The drive brought us through more amazing scenery and, once up the escarpment, superb views over the Great Rift Valley. Before arriving in Nairobi, a stop at the Limuru ponds rounded off our waterfowl list with species such as Maccoa, Fulvous Whistling-Duck, and the often difficult to find White-backed Duck. Though this was the end of the standard two-week tour, we had all luckily signed up for the eastern extension and were thrilled to know that there was still so much more to see and explore.

Day 16: Nairobi to Tsavo West
Leaving the city once again, we were all quite excited to see what our first new bird in the east would be. We definitely weren’t disappointed! A short stop at Hobcraft Ranch on our way to Tsavo proved to be extremely beneficial. While the bird numbers here weren’t extremely high, the quality was tremendous and we quickly picked up our number one target species: Red-throated Tit. This endemic of southern Kenya and northern Tanzania is often quite difficult to find and we were absolutely flabbergasted at the ease with which we saw this species and how cooperative it was in giving us great views! Our day definitely would have been well spent if that was the only species we saw but, Kenya being Kenya, there’s always more to come. Arriving in Tsavo we briefly birded the area around the gate where we picked up Hunter’s Sunbird, the dodsoni subspecies of Common Bulbul, and the fantastically tiny Pygmy Falcon. Other highlights of our afternoon drive and time spent photographing birds around the lodge include African Bare-eyed Thrush, Spot-flanked Barbet, Spotted Mourning-Thrush, and Abyssinian Scimitar-bill.

Golden-breasted StarlingFischer's Starling
The only thing better than seeing a stunning Golden-breasted Starling is seeing a tree full of them!Endemic to Eastern Africa, Fischer's Starling is quite easy to spot in Tsavos acacia woodland


Day 17: Tsavo West
Eating breakfast before first light, we were stationed and ready as the first birds came in to a wonderful fruiting fig tree on the lodge grounds. African Green Pigeon, Grey-headed Bush-shrike, and Black-throated Barbet could all be seen partaking in their early morning feast before we hit the roads to see what else Tsavo had to offer. After the vast open plains of the Masai Mara, birding in Tsavo was quite a shock to the system. Rather than open savannah with sparse acacias, Tsavo is acacia woodland and seemed extraordinarily dense after our time in the Mara. As we got used to our new surroundings, we quickly realized that though the mammals are quite similar, the birds are very different. We soon began racking up new species including Pink-breasted Lark, Red-billed Buffalo-Weaver, Pangani Longclaw, and Black-capped Social-Weaver. As the day began to heat up and bird activity diminished we decided to explore the natural beauty around us. With the snow-covered summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro in the background we drove through the stunning valleys that make up this section of Tsavo. Giraffe, elephant, and lesser kudu could all be seen making their way through this truly remote wilderness.
Early afternoon found us at Sagala Lodge. Taking advantage of being able to leave the van behind and explore on foot, we once again began to quickly find some astounding birds. Fischer’s Starling were quite common along with African Black-headed Oriole and Tsavo Purple-banded Sunbird. Large amounts of chattering overhead soon brought our walk to a halt as we found a tree filled with species including White-crested Helmetshrike, Slate-colored Boubou, Kenya Violet-backed Sunbird, and Yellow-spotted Petronia. Searching for what had caused all the raucous, we soon discovered two well camouflaged Pearl-spotted Owlet perched in the center of the tree. Seeing this mobbing behavior was truly spectacular, but the real highlight was still to come. Making our way back to the lodge we came across one of the most stunning sights any of us had seen: a tree full of Golden-breasted Starling. With its iridescent blue-purple back and long tail, this bird is nice enough from behind, but with the first hint of its bright golden-yellow belly, the heart truly starts racing. The Golden-breasted Starling was immediately elevated to favorite bird of the trip!

Day 18: Taita Hills to Tsavo East
Ascending from the hot and dry woodlands of Tsavo, we found ourselves in the isolated forests of the Taita Hills. Separated from other montane forests, the Taita Hills have evolved three unique subspecies which may well deserve full species status. These were of course the birds we were in hot pursuit of. While the Taita White-eye (a sub-species of Montane White-eye) was, as always, easy to find, the other two proved quite difficult. Hearing the Taita Apalis (a sub-species of Bar-throated Apalis) quite frequently didn’t seem to help in actually setting eyes on them. After an exhaustive search we were near the point of giving up when once again the bird began calling in the canopy up-slope of us. Dashing off into the forest, we were shocked when, rather than the apalis, we quite suddenly came face-to-face with the Taita Thrush (a sub-species of Olive Thrush). Within a few minutes we had nailed the apalis as well.  While our fleeting glimpses left us wanting more, we were thrilled that our arduous effort hadn’t been in vain. While these three species were by far the highlight of our morning excursion, other species included Yellow-throated Wood-Warbler, Stripe-cheeked Bulbul, and Cabanis’s Greenbul.
Returning to the lowlands, we made our way to Tsavo East where we once again began picking up open-country species including African Mourning Dove, Gray Wren-Warbler, and Three-streaked Tchagra. The real highlight of the afternoon however was another lion sighting. While these magnificent beasts tend to be fairly lazy and inactive during the day, the late afternoon found one lioness out on the hunt. First spotted trying to stealthily peer over an embankment, the lioness soon turned her attention our way and came strutting down the road right next to our van. Seeing such a powerful creature in action so close was the thrill of a lifetime!

Day 19: Tsavo East to Malindi
Our last morning in what is so often thought of as quintessential Africa was spent searching the acacias for previously missed species. As a last opportunity for Africa’s big game, time was also spent getting final pictures of the elephant, giraffe, zebra, and myriad antelope that we had gotten so used to. With flocks of Red-billed Quelea numbering in the thousands and a varied assortment of sparrow-weavers, sparrow-larks, buffalo-weavers, starlings, and francolins surrounding us, it was a truly phenomenal farewell. The highlight however was a chance encounter with a Golden Pipit. Unlike the majority of pipits – drab, brown-streaked, and often confusing – this species is bright yellow with a small black breast-band and is absolutely stunning. While often quite difficult to find, we were extremely lucky in seeing two perched up in plain view. It was definitely a fantastic ending to our time in Tsavo!
As we made our way to the coast the rain began to fall. With a brief window of clear skies we stopped at Mida Creek. As we made our way out onto the flats, we began picking up a host of shorebirds. However, as we reached the bird hide it immediately began pouring down rain once again. Not deterred, we starting ticking of waders including Lesser Sandplover, Terek Sandpiper, and, our target bird, the odd looking Crab-plover. Having picked up our key species and ready for a hot shower at the beach resort, we made our way back to the van wet but pleased with having gotten the birds we wanted.

LionSpotted hyena
Tsavo is one of Kenya's premier mammal watching locations and we were lucky enough to see these spotted hyena and lion within meters of our van

Day 20: Sokoke Forest and Sabaki River
With the heavy rains from the previous evening continuing through breakfast, we decided to brave the elements and see what we could find at the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest. This isolated remnant patch of coastal lowland rainforest is home to many endemic and specialty species and we were thrilled when the rain stopped just as we arrived. We soon began picking up birds such as Green Barbet, African Golden Oriole, Pallid Honeyguide, and the stunning red-crested Fischer’s Turaco – all the more exciting as it was one of the specialties we were searching for! Heading into the lush brachystigia forest the birding started out slow but we were soon going at break-neck speed as we ran into a couple feeding flocks. Birds here included Retz’s and Chestnut-fronted Helmetshrikes, brightly colored Narina Trogon, tiny Little Yellow Flycatcher and Pale Batis, Forest Weaver, and amazing views of the endemic Mombasa Woodpecker. Hardly able to keep up with all the activity, we continued on to search for another of Sokokes endemic specialties. Walking along the road, the soft whistle of the Sokoke Pipit was suddenly heard nearby and we quickly dashed off into the forest. Skulking along the forest floor, this species is often quite difficult to find but we were lucky enough to have two sit up perched for us out in the open; one facing towards us and the other away just to be sure that we could have the best views imaginable! Hardly able to tear ourselves away, lunch was beckoning and we reluctantly left this amazing forest.
Wanting a chance at better photographic opportunities, we decided that the afternoon would be spent in the more open habitat of the Sabaki River mouth. While the weather remained in our favor, we never would have guessed what the afternoon had in store for us. Starting out with a beautiful blue sky, the rain again began to fall just as we were arriving at the Sabaki River. Within moments, the van became stuck in the mud. Despite all our best efforts, it seemed we would be there for a while. Quite close to our final destination, we set out birding as the local villagers arrived to replace us in helping our driver out of the muck. Scanning the flats we soon began spotting new birds for the trip including African Skimmer, Greater and Lesser Crested Terns, Eurasian Curlew, and Lesser Black-backed Gull. As the sun began to set, we returned to the van only to find that it had been abandoned. Two local children informed us that the villagers’ efforts had accomplished little more than our own so they had all gone off to find a tractor. Taking advantage of our “extra” birding time, we were lucky enough to see lovely flocks of Madagascar Pratincole coming in to roost. Just as we began to give up hope of our drivers return, the tractor’s bright lights rounded the corner. In holiday mood, the villagers quickly had us out of the mud and on our way. No Kenyan experience is complete without getting stuck in the mud at least once and due to the friendly Kenyan nature, what could have been a very frustrating situation ended up being quite a lark!

Day 21: Lake Jilare and Mida Creek
With the morning once again looking rather rainy, we set out to brave the weather and were once again thrilled when the rain stopped just as we reached our destination. Lake Jilare, located on the far side of the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest on the road towards Tsavo’s Sala gate, is a lovely haven for water birds and surrounded by beautiful acacia woodland. With the sun beginning to shine the birds became active and we quickly picked up Jacobin Cuckoo, Mouse-colored sunbird, and Scaly Babbler. Scanning the open water, the absolutely stunning African Pygmy-Goose was quickly spotted and, to everyone’s extreme delight, a Mangrove Kingfisher came to perch quite nearby. Though in the seemingly wrong habitat, this lovely species seemed to feel perfectly at home in the acacia surrounded lake.
With a long journey home the following day, it was decided that the afternoon should be spent enjoying the marvelous Kenyan coast and relaxing on the beach while the weather held out. As the clouds began to close in, we decided that one last foray should be made to Mida Creek to attempt some non-rain-drenched photos of the Crab Plover. Arriving at high tide, all the waders were fabulously close and we were able to get to grips with many of this often confusing group of birds. While photography was our main goal, we couldn’t help but pick up a few new species including Ruddy Turnstone and Woolly-necked Stork.

African Openbill and Dimorphic EgretAfrican Pygmy Kingfisher
This Dimorphic Egret seemed quite keen to steal the African Openbills hard earned foodWhile the Sokoke Pipit didn't allow any photos, the African Pygmy Kingfisher next to them in Sokoke was much more cooperative




Bird List
1(Common) OstrichStruthio camelus
2Little Grebe (Dabchick)Tachybaptus ruficollis
3Great White PelicanPelecanus onocrotalus
4Pink-backed PelicanPelecanus rufescens
5Great (White-breasted) CormorantPhalacrocorax carbo
6Long-tailed (Reed) CormorantPhalacrocorax africanus
7DarterAnhinga melanogaster
8Gray HeronArdea cinerea
9Black-headed HeronArdea melanocephala
10Goliath HeronArdea goliath
11Purple HeronArdea purpurea
12Great Egret (Egret)Ardea alba
13Intermediate EgretEgretta intermediaYellow-billed Stork
14Little EgretEgretta garzetta
15Dimorphic EgretEgretta garzetta dimorpha
16Cattle EgretBubulcus ibis
17Black-crowned Night-HeronNycticorax nycticorax
18HamerkopScopus umbretta
19Yellow-billed StorkMycteria ibis
20African OpenbillAnastomus lamelligerus
21Woolly-necked StorkCiconia episcopus
22Marabou StorkLeptoptilos crumeniferus
23Sacred IbisThreskiornis aethiopicus
24Hadada IbisBostrychia hagedash
25Glossy IbisPlegadis falcinellus
26African SpoonbillPlatalea alba
27Greater FlamingoPhoenicopterus roseusYellow-billed Stork was seen quite regularly throughout the trip
28Lesser FlamingoPhoenicopterus minor
29Fulvous Whistling-DuckDendrocygna bicolor
30White-faced Whistling-DuckDendrocygna viduata
31White-backed DuckThalassornis leuconotus
32Egyptian GooseAlopochen aegyptiacus
33Comb (Knob-billed) DuckSarkidiornis melanotos
34African Pygmy-gooseNettapus auritus
35Yellow-billed DuckAnas undulata
36Red-billed DuckAnas erythrorhyncha
37Maccoa DuckOxyura maccoa
38Black-shouldered KiteElanus caeruleus
39Yellow-billed KiteMilvus migrans aegyptius
40African Fish-EagleHaliaeetus vocifer
41White-backed VultureGyps africanus
42Rueppell's GriffonGyps rueppellii
43Lappet-faced VultureTorgos tracheliotus
44White-headed VultureTrigonoceps occipitalis
45Brown Snake-EagleCircaetus cinereus
46BateleurTerathopius ecaudatus
47African Harrier-Hawk (Gymnogene)Polyboroides typus
48Lizard BuzzardKaupifalco monogrammicus
49Eastern Chanting-GoshawkMelierax poliopterus
50Gabar GoshawkMicronisus gabar
51Black GoshawkAccipiter melanoleucus
52Augur BuzzardButeo augur
53Tawny EagleAquila rapax
54Wahlberg's EagleAquila wahlbergi
55African Hawk-EagleAquila spilogaster
56Martial EaglePolemaetus bellicosus
57Long-crested EagleLophaetus occipitalis
58Crowned Hawk-EagleStephanoaetus coronatus
59Secretary-birdSagittarius serpentarius
60Pygmy FalconPolihierax semitorquatus
61Gray KestrelFalco ardosiaceus
62Lanner FalconFalco biarmicus
63Crested FrancolinFrancolinus sephaena
64Scaly FrancolinFrancolinus squamatus
65Hildebrandt's FrancolinFrancolinus hildebrandti
66Yellow-necked Francolin (Spurfowl)Francolinus leucoscepus
67Red-necked Francolin (Spurfowl)Francolinus afer
68Harlequin QuailCoturnix delegorguei
69Helmeted GuineafowlNumida meleagris
70Gray (Southern) Crowned-CraneBalearica regulorum
71Black CrakeAmaurornis flavirostris
72Purple SwamphenPorphyrio porphyrio
73Common MoorhenGallinula chloropus
74Red-knobbed CootFulica cristataCrab Plover
75Kori BustardArdeotis kori
76White-bellied BustardEupodotis senegalensis
77Buff-crested BustardEupodotis gindiana
78Black-bellied BustardLissotis melanogaster
79African JacanaActophilornis africanus
80Crab PloverDromas ardeola
81Black-winged StiltHimantopus himantopus
82Pied AvocetRecurvirostra avosetta
83Water Thick-knee (Dikkop)Burhinus vermiculatus
84Madagascar PratincoleGlareola ocularis
85Long-toed LapwingVanellus crassirostris
86Blacksmith PloverVanellus armatus
87Spur-winged PloverVanellus spinosusOne of the most looked for species at Mida Creek, Crab Plover was quite easy to see this year
88Black-headed LapwingVanellus tectus
89Black-winged LapwingVanellus melanopterus
90Crowned LapwingVanellus coronatus
91Wattled LapwingVanellus senegallus
92Black-bellied PloverPluvialis squatarola
93Common Ringed PloverCharadrius hiaticula
94Kittlitz's PloverCharadrius pecuarius
95Three-banded PloverCharadrius tricollaris
96Chestnut-banded PloverCharadrius pallidus
97Lesser SandploverCharadrius mongolus
98WhimbrelNumenius phaeopus
99Eurasian CurlewNumenius arquata
100Common GreenshankTringa nebularia
101Wood SandpiperTringa glareola
102Terek SandpiperXenus cinereus
103Common SandpiperActitis hypoleucos
104Ruddy TurnstoneArenaria interpres
105SanderlingCalidris alba
106Little StintCalidris minuta
107Temminck's StintCalidris temminckii
108Curlew SandpiperCalidris ferruginea
109RuffPhilomachus pugnax
110Sooty GullLarus hemprichii
111Lesser Black-backed GullLarus fuscus
112Gray-headed GullLarus cirrocephalus
113Lesser Crested TernSterna bengalensis
114Great Crested (Swift) TernSterna bergii
115Whiskered TernChlidonias hybridus
116African SkimmerRynchops flavirostris
117Black-faced SandgrousePterocles decoratus
118Rock (Feral) PigeonColumba livia
119Speckled (Rock) PigeonColumba guinea
120Rameron (Olive) PigeonColumba arquatrix
121Delegorgue's (Eastern Bronze-naped) PigeonColumba delegorguei
122Dusky Turtle-DoveStreptopelia lugens
123African Mourning DoveStreptopelia decipiens
124Red-eyed DoveStreptopelia semitorquata
125Ring-necked (Cape Turtle) DoveStreptopelia capicola
126Laughing DoveStreptopelia senegalensisRed-fronted Parrot
127Emerald-spotted Wood-DoveTurtur chalcospilos
128Blue-spotted Wood-DoveTurtur afer
129Tambourine DoveTurtur tympanistria
130Namaqua DoveOena capensis
131African Green-PigeonTreron calva
132Fischer's LovebirdAgapornis fischeri
133Red-fronted ParrotPoicephalus gulielmi
134Red-bellied (African Orange-bellied) ParrotPoicephalus rufiventris
135Great Blue TuracoCorythaeola cristata
136Schalow's TuracoTauraco schalowi
137White-crested TuracoTauraco leucolophus
138Fischer's TuracoTauraco fischeri
139Hartlaub's TuracoTauraco hartlaubi
140Ross's TuracoMusophaga rossaeRed-fronted Parrot roosted in the tree just outside the dining room at Castle Lodge, Mt. Kenya
141White-bellied Go-away-birdCorythaixoides leucogaster
142Pied (Black-and-white, Jacobin) CuckooClamator jacobinus
143Red-chested CuckooCuculus solitarius
144Black CuckooCuculus clamosus
145African CuckooCuculus gularis
146Klaas's CuckooChrysococcyx klaasMackinder's Eagle-Owl
147African Emerald CuckooChrysococcyx cupreus
148Dideric CuckooChrysococcyx caprius
149Yellowbill (Green Coucal)Ceuthmochares aereus
150Black CoucalCentropus grillii
151White-browed CoucalCentropus superciliosus
152Cape [Mackinder's] Eagle-OwlBubo capensis
153Spotted Eagle-OwlBubo africanus
154Grayish Eagle-OwlBubo cinerascens
155Verreaux's (Giant) Eagle-OwlBubo lacteus
156African Wood-OwlStrix woodfordii
157Pearl-spotted OwletGlaucidium perlatum
158Abyssinian (Montane) NightjarCaprimulgus poliocephalus
159Slender-tailed NightjarCaprimulgus clarus
160Bat-like (Bohm's) SpinetailNeafrapus boehmiA likely split from Cape Eagle-Owl, Mackinder's Eagle-Owl is found at much higher elevations
161African Palm-SwiftCypsiurus parvus
162Mottled SwiftTachymarptis aequatorialis
163Nyanza SwiftApus niansae
164African (Black) SwiftApus barbatus
165Little SwiftApus affinis
166White-rumped SwiftApus caffer
167Speckled MousebirdColius striatus
168White-headed MousebirdColius leucocephalus
169Blue-naped MousebirdUrocolius macrourusMangrove Kingfisher
170Narina TrogonApaloderma narina
171Bar-tailed TrogonApaloderma vittatum
172Malachite KingfisherAlcedo cristata
173African Pygmy-KingfisherIspidina picta
174Gray-headed (Gray-hooded) KingfisherHalcyon leucocephala
175Woodland KingfisherHalcyon senegalensis
176Mangrove KingfisherHalcyon senegaloides
177Striped KingfisherHalcyon chelicuti
178Giant KingfisherMegaceryle maximus
179Pied KingfisherCeryle rudis
180Blue-headed Bee-eaterMerops muelleri
181White-fronted Bee-eaterMerops bullockoides
182Little Bee-eaterMerops pusillus
183Cinnamon-chested Bee-eaterMerops oreobatesMangrove Kingfisher was a last minute surprise around Lake Jilare
184White-throated Bee-eaterMerops albicollis
185Madagascar (Olive) Bee-eaterMerops superciliosus
186Lilac-breasted RollerCoracias caudata
187Rufous-crowned (Purple) RollerCoracias naevia
188[African Hoopoe][Upupa africana]
189Green (Red-billed) WoodhoopoePhoeniculus purpureus
190Common (Greater) Scimitar-billRhinopomastus cyanomelas
191Abyssinian Scimitar-billRhinopomastus minor
192Red-billed HornbillTockus erythrorhynchus
193Eastern Yellow-billed HornbillTockus flavirostris
194Jackson's HornbillTockus jacksoni
195Von der Decken's HornbillTockus deckeni
196Crowned HornbillTockus alboterminatus
197Hemprich's HornbillTockus hemprichii
198African Gray HornbillTockus nasutus
199Trumpeter HornbillCeratogymna bucinator
200Silvery-cheeked HornbillCeratogymna brevis
201Black-and-white-casqued HornbillCeratogymna subcylindricus
202Southern Ground-HornbillBucorvus leadbeateri
203Gray-throated BarbetGymnobucco bonapartei
204Green BarbetStactolaema olivacea
205Yellow-rumped TinkerbirdPogoniulus bilineatus
206Red-fronted TinkerbirdPogoniulus pusillus
207Yellow-spotted BarbetBuccanodon duchaillui
208Hairy-breasted BarbetTricholaema hirsuta
209Red-fronted BarbetTricholaema diademata
210Spot-flanked BarbetTricholaema lachrymosa
211Black-throated BarbetTricholaema melanocephala
212White-headed BarbetLybius leucocephalusUsambiro Barbet
213Double-toothed BarbetLybius bidentatus
214Yellow-billed BarbetTrachyphonus purpuratus
215Red-and-yellow BarbetTrachyphonus erythrocephalus
216D'Arnaud's BarbetTrachyphonus darnaudii
217Usambiro BarbetTrachyphonus darnaudii usambiro
218Scaly-throated HoneyguideIndicator variegatus
219Lesser HoneyguideIndicator minor
220Least HoneyguideIndicator exilis
221Pallid HoneyguideIndicator meliphilus
222Nubian WoodpeckerCampethera nubica
223Mombasa WoodpeckerCampethera mombassica
224Tullberg's (Fine-banded) WoodpeckerCampethera tullbergi
225Brown-eared WoodpeckerCampethera caroliThis sub-species of D'Arnaud's Barbet is restricted to the Serengeti system and may be given full species status
226Cardinal WoodpeckerDendropicos fuscescens
227Bearded WoodpeckerDendropicos namaquus
228Gray-headed WoodpeckerDendropicos spodocephalus
229Singing BushlarkMirafra cantillans
230Red-winged LarkMirafra hypermetra
231Rufous-naped LarkMirafra africana
232Flappet LarkMirafra rufocinnamomea
233Pink-breasted LarkCalendulauda poecilosterna
234Foxy (Fawn-colored, Abyssinian) LarkCalendulauda alopex
235Chestnut-headed Sparrow-LarkEremopterix signata
236Fischer's Sparrow-LarkEremopterix leucopareia
237Red-capped LarkCalandrella cinerea
238Plain (Brown-throated Sand) MartinRiparia paludicola
239Banded MartinRiparia cincta
240Rock MartinPtyonoprogne fuligula
241Barn (European) SwallowHirundo rustica
242Angola SwallowHirundo angolensis
243Wire-tailed SwallowHirundo smithii
244Lesser Striped-SwallowCecropis abyssinica
245Rufous-chested (Red-breasted) SwallowCecropis semirufa
246Mosque SwallowCecropis senegalensis
247Red-rumped SwallowCecropis daurica
248White-headed SawwingPsalidoprocne albicepsYellow-throated Longclaw
249Blue (Black) SawwingPsalidoprocne pristoptera
250African Pied WagtailMotacilla aguimp
251Cape WagtailMotacilla capensis
252Mountain (Long-tailed) WagtailMotacilla clara
253Golden PipitTmetothylacus tenellus
254Yellow-throated LongclawMacronyx croceus
255Rosy-throated (Rosy-breasted) LongclawMacronyx ameliae
256Pangani LongclawMacronyx aurantiigula
257Plain-backed PipitAnthus leucophrys
258African (Grassveld) PipitAnthus cinnamomeus
259Long-billed PipitAnthus similis
260Sokoke PipitAnthus sokokensis
261Petit's Cuckoo-shrikeCampephaga petiti
262Black Cuckoo-shrikeCampephaga flavaYellow-throated Longclaw is quite common in the open savannas of the Masai Mara
263Common (Black-eyed) BulbulPycnonotus barbatus
264Dodson's BulbulPycnonotus barbatus dodsoni
265Shelley's [Kakamega] GreenbulAndropadus masukuensis
266(Little) Gray GreenbulAndropadus gracilis
267Slender-billed GreenbulAndropadus gracilirostris
268(Zanzibar) Sombre GreenbulAndropadus importunus
269Yellow-whiskered BulbulAndropadus latirostris
270Eastern Mountain-GreenbulAndropadus nigriceps
271Stripe-cheeked Bulbul (Greenbul)Andropadus milanjensis
272Honeyguide GreenbulBaeopogon indicator
273Yellow-bellied GreenbulChlorocichla flaviventris
274Joyful GreenbulChlorocichla laetissima
275Cabanis's GreenbulPhyllastrephus cabanisi
276Toro Olive-GreenbulPhyllastrephus hypochloris
277Common (Red-tailed) BristlebillBleda syndactyla
278Eastern (Yellow-spotted) NicatorNicator gularisChubb's Cisticola
279White-tailed Ant-ThrushNeocossyphus poensis
280Olive ThrushTurdus olivaceus
281[Taita Thrush][Turdus helleri]
282African ThrushTurdus pelios
283African Bare-eyed ThrushTurdus tephronotus
284Brown-chested AletheAlethe poliocephala
285Singing CisticolaCisticola cantans
286Chubb's CisticolaCisticola chubbi
287Hunter's CisticolaCisticola hunteri
288Rattling CisticolaCisticola chiniana
289Winding CisticolaCisticola galactotes
290Stout CisticolaCisticola robustus
291Zitting (Fan-tailed) CisticolaCisticola juncidis
292Tawny-flanked PriniaPrinia subflavaChubb's Cistocal displayed quite nicely around Kakamega Forest
293White-chinned PriniaPrinia leucopogon
294Banded [Black-faced] PriniaPrinia bairdii
295Black-collared ApalisApalis pulchra
296Taita ApalisApalis thoracica fuscigularis
297Black-throated ApalisApalis jacksoni
298Yellow-breasted ApalisApalis flavida
299Chestnut-throated ApalisApalis porphyrolaema
300Black-headed ApalisApalis melanocephala
301Gray ApalisApalis cinerea
302Red-fronted WarblerUrorhipis rufifrons
303Gray-capped WarblerEminia lepida
304Green-backed CamaropteraCamaroptera brachyura
305[Gray-backed Camaroptera][Camaroptera brevicaudata]
306Olive-green CamaropteraCamaroptera chloronota
307Gray Wren-WarblerCalamonastes simplex
308Cinnamon Bracken-WarblerBradypterus cinnamomeus
309Black-faced Rufous-WarblerBathmocercus rufus
310(African) Moustached Grass-WarblerMelocichla mentalis
311African Reed-WarblerAcrocephalus baeticatus
312Mountain Yellow WarblerChloropeta similis
313Buff-bellied WarblerPhyllolais pulchella
314Yellow-bellied EremomelaEremomela icteropygialis
315Turner's EremomelaEremomela turneri
316Northern CrombecSylvietta brachyura
317Red-faced CrombecSylvietta whytii
318Yellow-throated Wood-WarblerPhylloscopus ruficapillus
319Uganda Wood-WarblerPhylloscopus budongoensis
320Greater (Common) WhitethroatSylvia communis
321Banded Warbler (Parisoma)Parisoma boehmi
322SilverbirdEmpidornis semipartitus
323Pale FlycatcherBradornis pallidus
324African Gray FlycatcherBradornis microrhynchus
325White-eyed Slaty-FlycatcherMelaenornis fischeri
326Northern Black-FlycatcherMelaenornis edolioides
327Southern Black-FlycatcherMelaenornis pammelaina
328African Dusky FlycatcherMuscicapa adusta
329Ashy FlycatcherMuscicapa caerulescensSnowy-crowned Robin-Chat
330White-starred (Starred) RobinPogonocichla stellata
331Equatorial AkalatSheppardia aequatorialis
332Cape Robin-ChatCossypha caffra
333Gray-winged Robin-ChatCossypha polioptera
334Rueppell's Robin-ChatCossypha semirufa
335White-browed Robin-ChatCossypha heuglini
336Red-capped (Natal) Robin-ChatCossypha natalensis
337Snowy-crowned Robin-ChatCossypha niveicapilla
338Spotted Morning-Thrush (Palm-Thrush)Cichladusa guttata
339(Eastern) Bearded Scrub-RobinCercotrichas quadrivirgata
340Brown-backed Scrub-RobinCercotrichas hartlaubi
341Red-backed (White-browed) Scrub-RobinCercotrichas leucophrys
342African StonechatSaxicola torquata
343Mourning (Schalow's) WheatearOenanthe lugens
344Capped WheatearOenanthe pileata
345Familiar (Red-tailed) ChatCercomela familiaris
346Brown-tailed (Rock) ChatCercomela scotocerca
347Northern Anteater-ChatMyrmecocichla aethiops
348Sooty ChatMyrmecocichla nigraThis charming Snow-crowned Robin-Chat was very cooperative on the grounds of Rondo Retreat, Kakamega Forest
349Mocking Cliff-ChatThamnolaea cinnamomeiventris
350African Shrike-flycatcherMegabyas flammulatus
351Brown-throated (Common) Wattle-eyePlatysteira cyanea
352Chestnut Wattle-eyePlatysteira castanea
353Jameson's Wattle-eyePlatysteira jamesoni
354Yellow-bellied Wattle-eyePlatysteira concreta
355Short-tailed (Forest) BatisBatis mixta
356Chinspot BatisBatis molitor
357Pale (East Coast) BatisBatis soror
358Pygmy BatisBatis perkeo
359(Little) Yellow FlycatcherErythrocercus holochlorus
360African Blue-FlycatcherElminia longicauda
361Dusky Crested-FlycatcherElminia nigromitrata
362White-tailed Crested-FlycatcherElminia albonotata
363Black-headed (Red-bellied) Paradise-FlycatcherTerpsiphone rufiventer
364African Paradise-FlycatcherTerpsiphone viridis
365Scaly-breasted IlladopsisIlladopsis albipectus
366African Hill BabblerIlladopsis abyssinica
367Scaly ChattererTurdoides aylmeri
368Rufous ChattererTurdoides rubiginosus
369Black-lored (Sharpe's) BabblerTurdoides sharpei
370Scaly BabblerTurdoides squamulatus
371Northern Pied-BabblerTurdoides hypoleucus
372Brown BabblerTurdoides plebejus
373Arrow-marked BabblerTurdoides jardineii
374White-bellied TitMelaniparus albiventris
375Dusky TitMelaniparus funereus
376Red-throated TitMelaniparus fringillinus
377Mouse-colored Penduline-TitAnthoscopus musculus
378Kenya (Eastern) Violet-backed SunbirdAnthreptes orientalis
379Collared SunbirdHedydipna collaris
380Amani SunbirdHedydipna pallidigaster
381Green-headed SunbirdCyanomitra verticalisBronze Sunbird
382Eastern Olive-SunbirdCyanomitra olivacea
383Mouse-colored (Grey) SunbirdCyanomitra veroxii
384Green-throated SunbirdChalcomitra rubescens
385Amethyst (Black) SunbirdChalcomitra amethystina
386Scarlet-chested SunbirdChalcomitra senegalensis
387Hunter's SunbirdChalcomitra hunteri
388Tacazze SunbirdNectarinia tacazze
389Bronze SunbirdNectarinia kilimensis
390Golden-winged SunbirdDrepanorhynchus reichenowi
391Northern Double-collared SunbirdCinnyris preussi
392Eastern Double-collared SunbirdCinnyris mediocris
393Beautiful SunbirdCinnyris pulchellus
394Mariqua (Marico) SunbirdCinnyris mariquensis
395Red-chested SunbirdCinnyris erythrocerca
396Purple-banded SunbirdCinnyris bifasciatus
397Tsavo [Purple-banded] SunbirdCinnyris tsavoensis
398Variable (Yellow-bellied) SunbirdCinnyris venustus
399African Yellow White-eyeZosterops senegalensis
400Broad-ringed (Montane) White-eyeZosterops poliogastrusThe stunning Bronze Sunbird was our very first bird of the trip, right on the outskirts of Nairobi
401[Taita White-eye][Zosterops silvanus]
402White-breasted (Abyssinian) White-eyeZosterops abyssinicus
403African Golden OrioleOriolus auratus
404African Black-headed OrioleOriolus larvatus
405Black-tailed (Montane) OrioleOriolus percivali
406Gray-backed FiscalLanius excubitoroides
407Long-tailed FiscalLanius cabanisi
408Taita FiscalLanius dorsalis
409Mackinnon's Shrike (Fiscal)Lanius mackinnoni
410Common Fiscal (Shrike)Lanius collaris
411White-rumped (Northern White-crowned) ShrikeEurocephalus rueppelli
412BrubruNilaus afer
413Northern PuffbackDryoscopus gambensisLuehder's Bushshrike
414Black-backed PuffbackDryoscopus cubla
415Pink-footed PuffbackDryoscopus angolensis
416Black-crowned TchagraTchagra senegala
417Brown-crowned (Three-streaked) TchagraTchagra australis
418Three-streaked TchagraTchagra jamesi
419Luehder's BushshrikeLaniarius luehderi
420Tropical BoubouLaniarius aethiopicus
421Black-headed GonolekLaniarius erythrogaster
422Slate-colored BoubouLaniarius funebris
423Rosy-patched BushshrikeRhodophoneus cruentus
424Gray-green (Bocage's) BushshrikeTelophorus bocagei
425Gray-headed BushshrikeMalaconotus blanchoti
426White (White-crested) HelmetshrikePrionops plumatus
427Retz's (Red-billed) HelmetshrikePrionops retziiLuehder's Bushshrike showed quite well at Kakamega Forest
428Chestnut-fronted HelmetshrikePrionops scopifrons
429Square-tailed DrongoDicrurus ludwigii
430Fork-tailed (Common) DrongoDicrurus adsimilis
431House CrowCorvus splendens
432Cape (Black) Crow (Rook)Corvus capensis
433Pied CrowCorvus albus
434Fan-tailed RavenCorvus rhipidurus
435White-necked (White-naped) RavenCorvus albicollis
436Wattled StarlingCreatophora cinerea
437Greater Blue-eared Glossy-StarlingLamprotornis chalybaeus
438Rueppell's (Long-tailed) Glossy-StarlingLamprotornis purpuropterus
439Golden-breasted StarlingLamprotornis regius
440Black-bellied Glossy-StarlingLamprotornis corruscus
441Superb StarlingLamprotornis superbus
442Hildebrandt's StarlingLamprotornis hildebrandtiSharpe's Starling
443Violet-backed (Plum-coloured) StarlingCinnyricinclus leucogaster
444Fischer's StarlingSpreo fischeri
445Red-winged StarlingOnychognathus morio
446Waller's StarlingOnychognathus walleri
447Bristle-crowned StarlingOnychognathus salvadorii
448Stuhlmann's StarlingPoeoptera stuhlmanni
449Kenrick's StarlingPoeoptera kenricki
450Sharpe's StarlingPholia sharpii
451Abbott's StarlingPholia femoralis
452Red-billed OxpeckerBuphagus erythrorhynchus
453Yellow-billed OxpeckerBuphagus africanus
454White-billed Buffalo-WeaverBubalornis albirostris
455Red-billed Buffalo-WeaverBubalornis niger
456White-headed Buffalo-WeaverDinemellia dinemelli
457Speckle-fronted WeaverSporopipes frontalis
458White-browed Sparrow-WeaverPlocepasser mahali
459Gray-headed (Gray-capped) Social-WeaverPseudonigrita arnaudi
460Black-capped Social-WeaverPseudonigrita cabanisiEndemic to Eastern Africa, Sharpe's Starling was found nesting at Thomson Falls
461Baglafecht WeaverPloceus baglafecht
462Little WeaverPloceus luteolus
463Lesser Masked-WeaverPloceus intermedius
464Spectacled WeaverPloceus ocularis
465Black-necked WeaverPloceus nigricollis
466Black-billed WeaverPloceus melanogaster
467Golden Palm WeaverPloceus bojeri
468Northern Masked-WeaverPloceus taeniopterus
469Vitelline Masked-WeaverPloceus vitellinus
470Village (Black-headed) WeaverPloceus cucullatus
471Speke's WeaverPloceus spekei
472Vieillot's (Black) WeaverPloceus nigerrimus
473Chestnut WeaverPloceus rubiginosus
474Forest (Dark-backed) WeaverPloceus bicolor
475Brown-capped WeaverPloceus insignis
476Red-headed MalimbeMalimbus rubricollis
477Red-headed WeaverAnaplectes rubriceps
478Cardinal QueleaQuelea cardinalis
479Red-billed QueleaQuelea quelea
480Yellow-crowned BishopEuplectes afer
481Yellow (Yellow-rumped) BishopEuplectes capensis
482Fan-tailed WidowbirdEuplectes axillaris
483Yellow-shouldered (Yellow-mantled) WidowbirdEuplectes macrourus
484White-winged WidowbirdEuplectes albonotatus
485Red-collared WidowbirdEuplectes ardens
486Long-tailed WidowbirdEuplectes progne
487Jackson's WidowbirdEuplectes jacksoni
488Grosbeak WeaverAmblyospiza albifrons
489Gray-headed NegrofinchNigrita canicapilla
490Green-winged PytiliaPytilia melba
491Red-headed BluebillSpermophaga ruficapilla
492Red-billed FirefinchLagonosticta senegala
493Red-cheeked CordonbleuUraeginthus bengalus
494Blue-capped CordonbleuUraeginthus cyanocephalusAfrican Quailfinch
495Purple GrenadierUraeginthus ianthinogaster
496Yellow-bellied WaxbillEstrilda quartinia
497Common WaxbillEstrilda astrild
498Black-crowned WaxbillEstrilda nonnula
499Kandt's [Black-headed] WaxbillEstrilda kandti
500Red-rumped (Black-cheeked) WaxbillEstrilda charmosyna
501African QuailfinchOrtygospiza fuscocrissa
502African SilverbillEuodice cantans
503Gray-headed (Munia) SilverbillOdontospiza griseicapilla
504Bronze MannikinSpermestes cucullatus
505Black-and-white (Red-backed) MannikinSpermestes bicolor
506Cut-throat (Finch)Amadina fasciata
507Village Indigobird (Widowfinch)Vidua chalybeata
508Pin-tailed WhydahVidua macroura
509Eastern Paradise-WhydahVidua paradisaea
510Parasitic Weaver (Cuckoo Finch)Anomalospiza imberbis
511Cinnamon-breasted (Rock) BuntingEmberiza tahapisi
512Yellow-crowned [Cape] CanarySerinus flavivertexHuge numbers of Afircan Quailfinch were found in the Masai Mara this year
513African CitrilSerinus citrinelloides
514Southern [Easte African] CitrilSerinus hyposticutus
515Reichenow's (Yellow-rumped) SeedeaterSerinus reichenowi
516Yellow-fronted CanarySerinus mozambicus
517Southern Grosbeak-CanarySerinus buchanani
518White-bellied CanarySerinus dorsostriatus
519Brimstone (Bully) CanarySerinus sulphuratus
520Streaky SeedeaterSerinus striolatus
521Thick-billed SeedeaterSerinus burtoni
522House SparrowPasser domesticus
523Kenya [Rufous] SparrowPasser rufocinctus
524Gray-headed SparrowPasser griseus
525Parrot-billed SparrowPasser gongonensis
526Swaheli SparrowPasser suahelicus
527Chestnut SparrowPasser eminibey
528Yellow-spotted PetroniaPetronia pyrgita


Mammal List:

1Black-and-white (Guereza) ColobusColobus guereza
2Olive BaboonPapio anubis
3Yellow BaboonPapio cynocephalus
4Vervet MonkeyCercopithecus pygerythrus
5Gentle (Blue) MonkeyCercopithecus mitis
6Gentle (Sykes) MonkeyCercopithecus mitis albogularis
7Red-tailed MonkeyCercopithecus ascanius
8Golden-rumped Elephant ShrewRhynchocyon chrysopygus
9Unstriped Ground SquirrelXerus rutilis
10Red-bellied Coast SquirrelParaxerus palliatus
11Red-legged Sun SquirrelHeliosciurus rufobrachium
12Giant Forest SquirrelProtoxerus stangeri
13Black-backed JackalCanis mesomelus
14Bat-eared FoxOtocyon megalotis
15Black-tipped (Slender) MongooseHerpestes sanguinea
16Dwarf MongooseHelogale parvula
17Banded MongooseMungos mungo
18White-tailed MongooseIchneumia albicauda
19Spotted HyaenaCrocuta crocuta
20Common (Large-spotted) GenetGenetta geneta
21LionPanthera leo
22CheetahAcinonyx jubatus
23Black-necked Rock HyraxProcavia johnstoni
24Eastern Tree HyraxDendrohyrax validus
25African ElephantLoxodonta africana
26Common (Grant's) ZebraEquus quagga boehmi
27Black RhinocerosDiceros bicornis
28White RhinocerosCeratotherium simum
29HippopotamusHippopotamus amphibius
30Common WarthogPharcochoerus africanus
31Masai GiraffeGiraffa tippelskirchi
32Rothschild's GiraffeGiraffa rothschildi
33African (Cape) BuffaloSyncerus caffer
34BushbuckTragelaphus scriptus
35Lesser KuduTragelaphus imberbis
36ElandTaurotragus oryx
37Blue DuikerCephalophus monticola
38Kirk's DikdikMadoqua kirkii
39WaterbuckKobus ellipsiprymnus defassa
40Thomson's (Red-fronted) GazelleGazella rufifrons
41Grant's GazelleGazella granti
42GerenukLitocranius walleri
43ImpalaAepyceros melampus
44TopiDamaliscus korrigum
45Coke's HartebeestAlcelaphus buselaphus cokei
46White-bearded Gnu (Wildebeest)Connochaetes taurinus albojubatus
47Beisa OryxOryx beisa
Masai Mara