Best Birding Destinations of Kenya

lake nakuru flamingo

It is believed that if you want to see the African continent in one country, Kenya is perfect. From valleys, abundant wildlife, mountains, and the famous Safaris, Kenya has it all.

Although equipped with multiple experiences and activities, bird watching is one of the most popular activities undertaken in Kenya .

A stunning amount of 1100+ bird species are found in Kenya. You can expect to spot about 50-100 species in a dedicated bird watching trip to Kenya.

What brings a variety of birds to Kenya are the favourable climate and geographical features suitable for migratory birds. In the whole of Africa, you can witness most of the migrant birds in Kenya.

Bird watching in Kenya is favourable all year round. The months of April to November mark as the rainy season. During these months you can view the migration of birds coming or departing from Europe and Asia. These include a variety of storks and cranes, the American White Pelican and the tiny Cisticola.

Common birds like Crowned Hornbill, Scarlet-chested Sunbird, and the white-bellied go-away bird can be spotted all year around. The world’s biggest bird, Ostrich, and the beautiful pink flamingos can be found at Lakes of the Great Rift Valley. Other birds like bar-tailed trogon, Kori Bustard, Golden Breasted Starling, and many more are a treat for avid bird watchers.

To spot Kenya’s rarest, indigenous birds, one may have to seek spots in high grasslands, the heart of the forests, and near-certain mountain ranges. These include the unfortunately endangered species of Taita Apalis, Kilifi Weaver, and Grey Crowned Crane that are tucked away in the deepest parts of Kenya.

There are birds of prey or Raptors in Kenya like Hawks, Eagles, Kites, and the oldest Bearded Vulture which can be found in various bird-watching sights in Kenya.

With so much and more to offer, it is safe to conclude that Kenya is a birdwatcher’s paradise. Encompassing a large number of birds, bird watching is an experience you may not want to miss here. There are plentiful spots offered in Kenya where you witness various bird species.

Here is a list featuring some of the best bird spotting destinations in Kenya:

Lake Nakuru
Lake Nakuru is one of the popular birding destinations where you can spot at least 500 species of birds. It is also commonplace for habitual birdwatchers.

Here, you can spot Greater and Lesser flamingos, large flocks of Pelican, Greater Blue Eyes Starling, and the prominent Long-tailed Widowbird. A variety of raptors can also be seen at Lake Nakuru, including Martial Eagle and Lesser Krestel.

Maasai Mara
The Maasai Mara is one of the most spectacular places to spot birds in Kenya. Abundant in wildlife, you can stumble upon big cats and at least 470 species of birds.

You will witness an impressive amount of raptor birds including the Rufous-bellied Heron that breeds only in Masaai Mara. Visitors are always impressed by the large number of Vultures soaring high in the sky, keeping a watchful eye for their prey.

In the grasslands, it is easy to spot small birds like the Jaunty Crowned- Plovers. You can also spot other birds like Secretary Birds, Ostriches, and Crowned Hornbill in the grasslands. On the edge of the swamp, a flock of Crowned cranes and elegant Saddle-billed Storks can be witnessed.

At least 7 species of Kingfisher can be found near the Mara River, from the Giant Kingfisher to the tiny Pygmy. One of the most memorable birds you can find in this destination is the Bateleur, flying through the African blue sky majestically.

Nairobi City
Kenya’s capital city Nairobi houses over 500 species of birds. A trip to hotel gardens, Nairobi National Park, or the National Museum will provide a glimpse of some of the unique African birds. You can spot the beautiful Sunbirds, Bustards, and Mousebirds flying across the city or perched on top of the trees.

The Marabou Storks are frequent visitors in Nairobi. Birds such as Corncrake, Fisher’s lovebird, White-bellied Vulture, and more can be spotted by avid bird watchers.

The city offers day trips that take place at several spots where one can capture a wide variety of birds nesting.

Malindi Watamu
In the Malindi Watamu, birdlife is rich and diverse. This area has over 450 species of birds, including some of the rarest ones making it on top of the list of ornithologists. This destination is very popular among bird watchers and offers birding safaris as well. You can find migratory and local species of birds like Eurasian golden oriole, Black Cuckoo-shrike and the African Pygmy Kingfisher.

There is a feeding area exclusively for birds at Mida Creek, along the Watamu beaches. You can spot the Western Reef Heron, Curlew Sandpiper, and Sanderling.

Palaearctic species such as Eurasian bee-eater, Rufous Bush Chat, and Spotted Flycatcher are common in this area. During the rainy seasons, the large freshwater pool welcomes many waterbirds near Lake Chem Chem and Lake Jilore.

Arabuko Sokoke Forest
This destination is an important area for birding where you find over 230 species of birds. The area also includes the world’s globally threatened species like the Clarke’s Weaver, Southern Banded Snake Eagle, East Coast Akalat, Plain-backed Sunbird to name a few.

But the most significant bird you can spot in the forest is the world’s rarest Owl, the Sokoke Scops Owl. This species can only be found in the Arabuko Sokoke forest, although there are sightings reported in Northern Tanzania.

Yet another well-known birding destination, Lake Naivasha holds over 400 species of birds. The entire region is popular among birding specialists and guided tours.

malachite kingfisher
malachite kingfisher
The waters of the lake have a healthy population of fishes, attracting a wide variety of water birds. Many species of ducks, African fish eagles, Spoonbills, Goliath Heron, and several others can be spotted near the lake.

The forest and shores of the lake are excellent birding territories while the Cliffs of Hell’s Gate National Park is an important nesting area for raptors.

Southern ground hornbill
Southern ground hornbill
There is no denying that bird watching in Kenya gives one a chance to spot the rare and magnificent birds of the continent. From the colorful kingfishers to various raptors, head to these birding destinations in Kenya to view the incredible birds of the country.

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