BIRDING IN KENYA.
Kenya has an area size of 586 000km² lying on the East Coast of Africa. Compared to many African countries, it has an average surface area. As a result of varied habitats, over 1090 species have been recorded in her geographical boundaries. That’s the second highest bird list in Africa after Congo which is 4x bigger in size. From seashore to 5199m above the sea level, the country is blend by the coastal lowland forest, savannah & open plateau, the northern most Eastern Arc mountains, central highlands with substantial areas of mist forests, the rift valley and it’s alkaline lakes, volcanic mountains, escarpments, semi deserts, the western part of the country with it’s lowland Kakamega Forest which is the eastern most remnant of the Congo-Guinea rainforest, Lake Victoria and it’s papyrus fringed shores and the north eastern areas of arid, semi-arid and desert. These varied habitats have resulted into the rich avian diversity that the country offers, not forgetting over 120 large mammals, 900 species of butterflies, among many other seen and unseen creatures.
With its great birding hotspots that are fairly close to each other, Kenya is well known as a birding destination where it’s possible to see over a 150 species in a day and over 600 species in three or four weeks if right habitats are visited.
Any time of the year will promise some good excitement with over 800 species being resident and breeding in the country. However, during the migration and the wintering season an extra bonus of over 180 Palearctic migrants from eastern parts of Europe and Asia are present, either wintering or “passing by” on their way south between late August, September, October till early May the following year. The resident birds includes the 10 Kenyan endemics; Aberdare Cisticola, Sharpe’s Longclaw, Hinde’s Babbler, Taita White-eye, Taita Apalis, Taita Thrush, Kulal White-eye, William’s Lark, Clarke’s Weaver and the most rare Tana River Cisticola.
June and July are the best months for the intra-African migrants from southern parts of Africa and Madagascar, while many breeding birds are in full breeding plumage.
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