More than 1000 species of birds can be found in Kenya. They include eagles, vultures, hornbills, weavers, flamingos, and ostriches. This Kenyan bird guide highlights many of the birds you would likely see while on a standard safari in Kenya, in the Masai Mara or Samburu, Amboseli, and Lake Nakuru National Parks.
For serious birders, it's worth taking a specialized birding safari. The best time to go birding in Kenya is from October to April. The roads can be muddy, but you'll be well rewarded. Birding safaris will take you to parks like Lake Baringo, Kakamega, Meru, and Lake Naivasha. They will also allow you the time to study the birds, unlike other safaris where you can occasionally be rushed.
Birding safaris in Kenya:
- GamewatchersBirding safari in Kenya led by expert Maasai guide Wilson ole Kasaine
- Birding and Beyond Kenya Tours
- Nature's Wonderland Birding Safaris in Kenya
The Vulture (or Vulturine) Guineafowl is a stunning bird, with a gorgeous body and typically "homely" looking bald head. It eats seeds, worms, and insects.
The Lesser Flamingo is smaller and is a brighter pink than the Greater Flamingo. Huge flocks are common in Kenya's soda lakes: Nakuru, Oloidien, and Bogoria.
The Lappet-faced Vulture usually feasts on dead carcasses but has been known to attack the occasional live animal. It has a very powerful beak.
The Masked Weaver is a commonly sighted bird in Kenya. Weaver birds build incredible nests woven from reed, palm or grass. They eat seeds, insects, and nectar.
The Crowned Crane is quite common and lives in marshes or grassland near rivers and lakes. They grow up to 3 feet in height and perform courtship dances.
Lilac-breasted Rollers are a common sight on tree-tops in many of Kenya's national parks. These colorful little guys eat insects, small rodents, and lizards.
The Saddle-billed Stork is a handsome looking wading bird found in several of Kenya's National Park Lakes. They can grow up to 58 inches (almost 5 feet).
The Masai Ostrich has small feathers on its head, and bright orange thighs and neck. It's a sub-species of the Ostrich family, the largest bird in the world.
The Ground Hornbill lives in open habitats, it travels in groups and feeds on insects, small reptiles, and mammals. It's a fun bird to watch if you can spot it.
Greater Flamingo, Lake Bogoria, Kenya
The Greater Flamingo is common in Kenya's soda lakes (like Bogoria and Nakuru). It's bigger than the Lesser Flamingo and has a pink bill tipped with black.
The Grey-headed Kingfisher lives in dry woodlands, usually near a river or lake. It hunts primarily for lizards. It can be found throughout Africa.
The Ruppell's Vulture holds the record as the highest flying bird in the world, with a wingspan of 8 feet. They can eat the hide and even bones of a carcass.
The Egyptian Goose is common in Kenya. It eats grasses, seeds, and leaves. It is actually part of the shelduck family and pairs for life.
The Striped Kingfisher is common in the dry bush and open woodlands, especially around the Masai Mara. Not the most colorful of kingfishers, so hard to spot.
The Superb Starling is indeed superb to look at and if you're in Kenya, it's very likely you'll see its colorful body punctuated by a white breast band.
The Kori Bustard is a large omnivorous bird that's usually found on open grassland. They're becoming rarer, so you'll be lucky to see one.
Black-chested Snake Eagle
The Black-chested Snake Eagle is widespread in lightly wooded areas of Kenya, but not that commonly spotted. It eats snakes but also lizards and bats.
The Little Egret can be spotted in lakes, feeding on fish and small amphibians. Commonly found in Lake Naivasha, Amboseli, and Lake Baringo.
The Tawny Eagle is a scruffy bird, widespread in Kenya and you can sometimes spot it alongside vultures ripping through a carcass on the open savannah.
White Pelicans can be found in huge flocks in Lake Nakuru National Park. They fish in very large groups.
The Yellow-billed Hornbill is a medium-sized bird, with a distinctive bill and black and white spots on its body. It feeds on seeds and worms.
The Black-winged Kite hunts insects and small mammals. It is found in open grasslands and you'll be able to spot it in the Masai Mara, Samburu, and other parks.
The Secretary Bird is an interesting looking bird with an eagle-like head and long, crane-like legs. It hunts on the ground and kills snakes and rodents.
The Woodland Kingfisher is an attractive bird, the adults are brighter in color than juveniles. They feed mainly on insects. They're aggressively territorial.