Frank E. Rheindt

Budget Birding in Kenya

March 12-25 2002


At the beginning of March, I was confronted with an unexpected 4 weeks of vacation and decided to do some birding abroad. As a student, I have to restrict my traveling to economic destinations, so I was very pleased when I found a rather cheap flight from Zurich to Mombasa (430 Euro) coupled with a 2-week stay in Kenya. 2 weeks isn’t quite an appropriate amount of time to cover this mega-diverse country, but I figured it was better than nothing, and – in retrospect – my wallet would not have permitted a single additional day.


I embarked on this trip only 3 days after I had picked Kenya, so I went pretty ill-prepared, with hardly any idea about where to go. I carried "The Birds of Kenya and Northern Tanzania" (by Zimmerman, Turner and Pearson) with me at all times, and I consider it one of the best-ever bird books, even though some people I met told me the new guide on East African birds (published in 2001) is supposed to be even better.

Even now – after the trip – I am still not aware of any site guide specifically covering Kenya, but I had recourse to the Kenya chapter in Nigel Wheatley’s "Where to watch birds in Africa", which was of great help to some-one oblivious like me. Furthermore, I downloaded a few web-pages with more general info on a few of the popular sites, most of which I ended up NOT visiting anyway.


77 Kenyan Shillings were around US$ 1 at the time of my stay. I had half my money in US$, half in Euros, but I had great problems changing my Euros outside of banks (in hotels etc.). Bank opening hours are very limited and tend to be around prime time for birding, so bring dollars to avoid hassle.

Language and People:

It is easy to get around with English, as virtually every Kenyan speaks it. Nonetheless, there were those moments in which I wished I’d had a basic grasp of Kisuaheli. It pays learning the basics of this language, especially if you plan on staying longer, because some people will treat you very differently once they see that you’re making the effort of learning their language. Kisuaheli is a supposedly easy language, and I’ve met many Europeans with a fairly good working knowledge of it.

It should be noted that Kisuaheli itself is a second language ("lingua franca") to the majority of Kenyans, learned in primary school and used outside their villages where their tribal languages are spoken…

"Budget Birding" in Kenya:

Added together, I have spent much more than a year of my life "budget birding" in all the zoogeographical zones of the tropics. By this, I mean traveling around on public transportation, spending nights in cheap hotels and so forth. Nowhere else on earth than in Kenya have I encountered such a large cleft between what you can do with little money and what you can do with a lot of money. Kenya is great for birding, but if you don’t have the tourist dollars to pay a vehicle, the entrance fees and the expensive lodges in the national parks, you’ll have to be very tough, especially when traveling around alone and with little time.

It was only after I landed in Mombasa that I found out I was not going to be able to visit most of the sites I had imagined, because I didn’t have the money to rent a vehicle, which is absolutely necessary to visit most of the national parks. Moreover, none of the national parks sports budget accommodation. This substantially reduces the number of sites you’re free to visit.

Also, there seem to be fewer alternatives between posh tourist lodges and really shabby and dirty village hostals than in other countries on average. If you don’t have the money for the upmarket hotels, get ready for some dingy places.

Last but not least, public transportation makes no exception, and the matatus, as the mini-vans are called here, are hopelessly overcrowded and irreliable (no money refund when they break down along the way!). Due to some very stupid circumstances, the overnight bus journey from Mombasa to Nairobi turned out to be the most unpleasant bus ride of my life, and I will not do that one again!

Bottom Line: I loved Kenya, and if things work out fine, I’ll have to return, but not as a student. Next time, I’ll make sure I have the money to avoid the hassle.


As mentioned, financial reasons substantially narrowed down the scope of sites I could visit. After landing in Mombasa, I caught a matatu to Arabuko-Sokoke (2hr), one of the last coastal Kenyan forests, where I spent 3 days. In the afternoon of the third day, I took a matatu to Malindi and from there to Gongoni and Sabaki River (a few kilometers north of Malindi) for a few special birds. In the evening, I caught a night bus to Nairobi (via Mombasa).

The next morning, I got into a matatu from Nairobi to Naro Moru at the base of Mt Kenya. It was here that I spent half of my travel budget all at once for a two-day hike up Mt Kenya, the only national park I afforded to enter. After that hike and another night in Naro Moru, I spent the first morning hours birding the cereal fields around Naro Moru before getting into a matatu towards Naivasha. In Naivasha, there was only time for 2 hours of birding before sunset (the matatus took forever), so I invested the whole following day as well.

Then I took a night bus to Kakamega and payed a matatu driver to take me directly to the guesthouse, where I arrived around 9am. Initially, I had not planned on going to Kakamega at all, because of the large overlap with West African birds, but now I ended up staying 4 days because I had to cancel so many other sites. Leaving Kakamega Forest in the late afternoon of the fourth day, I made it all the way to Kisumu by 10pm, checked into the Sunset Beach Dunga Hotel right by Lake Victoria and invested the following morning in birding around the lakeshore. The afternoon was spent traveling to Kampi ya Samaki at the shores of Lake Baringo, where I did some birdwatching the next full day and an additional morning. Then it was time to travel back to Mombasa for the return flight.

The total was 383 species in exactly 2 weeks, which isn’t bad considering all the limitations imposed by "budget birding" (see above).


Accommodation: There is no accommodation immediately around the Gede Forest Station (near the Gede junction along the Mombasa-Malindi highway), so you will have to stay in the beach town of Watamu. Since this is beach tourist terrain (full of Italians), you will find a wide range of accommodation, most of it slightly more expensive than the cheap places elsewhere in Kenya, but also cleaner and nicer. I stayed somewhere nice (Mariyani Hotel) for Sh 1000.-

Birds: Sokoke is typical for African lowland forests in that it is dead throughout most of the day. Missing the morning hours means missing the birds, and after 9am there will be little sound other than the chirping of cicadas. Finding the specialties is a matter of getting a grasp of the microhabitats, of which there are three basic ones: Mixed forest (nearest the coast), open Brachystegia woodland (looks more like wooded savanna and is located farther inland) and dense Cynometra thicket (still further inland). Without a vehicle, getting into any habitat other than mixed forest may involve long hikes, at least when starting from the Gede Forest Station, but there are spots where Brachystegia gets closer to the coast further south from Gede, so you can take a matatu back towards Mombasa and get off at one of these spots.

At the Gede Forest Station, you will find a number of excellent guides that are well worth their money. Mine (Imanuel) charged me Sh 1000.- for showing me around one day, and without his knowledge of microhabitats and vocalizations, I wouldn’t have nearly seen as many rarities and specialties as I did: Without Imanuel, I would certainly not have seen Sokoke Pipit (very hard to find in denser groves within open Brachystegia), Thick-billed Cuckoo (Brachystegia), Green-headed Oriole (confined to certain places within Brachystegia), Tiny Greenbul (mixed forest), Blue-mantled Crested Flycatcher (mixed forest), East Coast Akalat (mixed forest and Cynometra) and many more.

Sokoke Scops Owl is confined to Cynometra and can only be reached by vehicle. I hired a vehicle for one evening from a guy called Saiji in Watamu (Sh 2000.- after a lot of negotiating) and took Imanuel with me. Imanuel was excellent in locating the bird and showing it to me.

As far as the other two Sokoke specialties are concerned, Amani Sunbird is easy to see high up in Brachystegia canopy given enough time spent in that habitat and Clarke’s Weaver is – unfortunately – not around (or around in very low numbers) come March. They can be seen with ease from August onwards.


Gongoni is a small town along the coastal (Malindi-Lamu) highway, only about 20km north of Malindi and is famous for its saltpans and the healthy numbers of Malindi Pipits around them. I just took a matatu from Malindi, got off in town, walked to the nearest salt ponds (that can easily be seen from the bus before entering town) and instantly found the pipit. Other birds of note around the saltpans included Saunders’s Tern, Three-banded Plover and Isabelline Wheatear on migration.

Sabaki River

On the way back from Gongoni to Malindi, get off north of the Sabaki Bridge (just around 5km north of Malindi) and take one of several parallel footpaths to the delta that start from the roadside village. Undoubtedly, you will soon be joined by one of the village boys. My time didn’t suffice for walking all the way to the delta (shorebirds), but it sufficed for seeing Zanzibar Red Bishop, Scaly Babbler and Bare-eyed Thrush in the dry scrub.

Mt Kenya

Logistics: Mt Kenya was the only national park I afforded to visit, but even now I am still not sure whether the way I did it was a rip-off or whether that’s just normal. I decided to start out from Naro Moru at the base of Mt Kenya, where I got out of the matatu and asked around for ways to get into the national park. Soon, people had managed to convince me that the only way to get in is on a guided hike, and one guy from a tour company that is called "United Porters and blablabla" or something like that (located in the Mountain Lodge Hotel – if my recollection doesn’t fool me) was especially good at persuasion, resorting to books like Lonely Planet that stated their rates as the cheapest in town! After haggling the price down, he still charged US$250.-, which isn’t what I would call cheap (considering that I only had $600 left for the rest of the trip). But he got me to the point where I was convinced that either this was going to be the way to get into Mt Kenya or I would have to skip that site, too. So I bled and paid the money for a 2-day hike (better: 2-halfday hike, since it only involved the remainder of that day and the next day’s morning), including a bird guide that was supposed to cook.

The "guide", a chap called Elaijah, was more than just a disappointment, since he didn’t even know the names of the most conspicuous birds like Hartlaub’s Touracos, nor was he interested in learning something about them when I wanted to show him. In fact, he even got grumpy because of my slow walking speed, since I stopped whenever I saw a bird. Needless to say that I got really angry at the company when some Dutch and Swiss climbers that stayed in the same hut at the Met Station (the Mt Kenya base camp in the Hagenia zone) told me that their hikes were more than twice as cheap as mine. Upon my descent, I had a 2-hr conversation with the company’s representative, but they wouldn’t return any of the money.

Birds: In spite of all this, the birding was great, and bird activity was very high the first day (the second day was very rainy). I have never been in African montane forest before, and I was amazed by the beauty of the Podocarpus forest and the Hagenia and Moorland zone. Some of the better sightings doubtless included White-headed Wood-Hoopoe (near the entry point) and Cinnamon Bracken Warbler. If you’ve missed Abyssinian Ground Thrush elsewhere, try the thick bamboo right above the Met Station (to the left of the path). Jackson’s Francolin is ridiculously easy around the Met Station, so is Alpine Chat and Hunter’s Cisticola. In the moorland zone, Scarlet-tufted Malachite Sunbird requires a little bit of searching, but can be found eventually.

Naro Moru

Since the early morning hours are so precious, I didn’t want to waste them to matatu rides, so I decided to bird the cereal fields around Naro Moru for a few hours before moving on to Naivasha. I guess none of the birds I saw were particularly rare, but identifying Stout and Siffling Cisticola was good practice, and Rufous-naped Lark was delighting as well.

The previous night was spent in the Mountain Lodge Hotel in Naro Moru (if that’s the right name) for Sh 800.-, not recommendable.

Lake Naivasha

Not a national park, therefore accessible to low budget people. I stayed at Sam’s Hotel right next to the internet café at the bus terminal, which was good enough for the cheap rate (Sh 300.-) and which served the best food I had eaten during the entire trip.

The lake’s shores have been receding over the years, so these days it takes you 30 min to walk to the shore. Leaving town towards Nairobi (just before you get to the railroad crossing), there is a track to the right that leads to a few settlements and eventually reaches the shore. The acacia groves along here supported Black-lored Babbler, Gray-backed Fiscal, Red-faced Crombec, Buff-bellied Warbler and Green Wood-Hoopoe. Some rank streamside vegetation provided excellent views of Irania and Gray-capped Warbler. Open grassland along here hosts Long-billed Pipit, Northern Anteater Chat and Brimestone Canary and, as the vegetation gets reedier, White-fronted Bee-eater, Red-billed Quelea and Lesser Swamp Warbler. Huge flocks of swifts and swallows hover overhead, containing Horus and Nyanza Swift. The lake itself is great for waterfowl, especially for those that don’t have many other Rift lakes on their itinerary, and a bit of searching will reveal Southern Pochard among the many Yellow-billed Ducks and Red-knobbed Coots. Flamingos were very distant, but views of flying birds provided a means of identifying individuals of both species.

Left of the railroad crossing at the end of town, there is a rocky slope, where I saw Wahlberg’s Honeybird, Brown-crowned Tchagra and White-headed Barbet.

Kakamega Forest

Accommodation: Around Kakamega Forest, you can choose from two "hotels": The Rondo Resort (pretty expensive) or the cheap and very basic Resthouse/Guesthouse (both names seem to apply) for Sh 250.- a night. They’re both not too far from each other (about 1km as the gray parrot flies). The resthouse is located next to and run by KEEP (Kakamega Environmental Education Program), some type of governmental reserve administration that employs around 80 people, some of whom function as guards, others as guides, others as curators of the butterfly house etc. Despite such a large number of potential guides, the few knowledgeable ones seemed to be constantly busy during my stay (foremost the chairman of KEEP, a guy by the first name of Wilberforse), as technical novelties like VCRs and CD burners seemed to make their way into KEEP’s offices on a daily basis. Even among the semi-knowledgeable guides, it was difficult to find one available and arrange some guided walk: For example, their guide number 9 or 10, called Moses, accompanied me for two hours one afternoon, but didn’t have binoculars and ended up grabbing mine all the time, so I couldn’t take proper looks; he was quick at talking me into sketchy IDs that I had to renounce afterwards, and he didn’t show up at all the next day when we were supposed to meet at 10am. In fact, I’ve never seen him again. Considering that I was the only "tourist" at the Guesthouse during those four days, and considering that I was willing to employ a guide but got none although 15 were present, I wonder what KEEP’s problem might be.

Birds: Leaving aside the questionable practices of KEEP administration for the moment, Kakamega Forest was great birding terrain. Bird activity (announced as low in Nigel Wheatley’s site guide) was actually higher than I have ever witnessed in any comparable African forest, probably in account of constantly cloudy skies and drizzly weather in the afternoon. I saw both high canopy and undergrowth mixed feeding parties with regularity, and they sometimes contained very spectacular species, such as Turner’s Eremomela (2 occ.), Bocage’s Bush-Shrike (1 occ.), Pink-footed Puffback (4 occ.), African Shrike-Flycatcher (1 occ.), Ansorge’s Greenbul (common), Jameson’s and Chestnut Wattle-eye, Hairy-breasted and Yellow-billed Barbet and Cameroon Sombre Greenbul (3-4 occ.). Terrestrial skulkers included Scaly-breasted and Brown Illadopsis, Brown-chested Alethe and Blue-shouldered Robin-Chat. Other noteworthy species were Blue-headed Bee-eater (common), Uganda Woodland Warbler (common), Least and Thick-billed Honeyguide (difficult!), Bar-tailed Trogon (seen on 1 occ.), Shelley’s, Joyful and Cabanis’s Greenbul (common), Petit’s Cuckoo-Shrike, Chubb’s Cisticola, Equatorial Akalat and White-tailed Antthrush.


I only had one morning for Lake Victoria, so there was no time for any of the more extensive sites where all the Victoria endemics would be guaranteed. Instead, I opted to stay at the Sunset Dunga Hotel (right along the lakeshore) on the outskirts of Kisumu, where some fairly good birding was to be had the following morning right around the hotel. The hotel was generally good at Sh 500.- a night incl. breakfast, though the communal bathroom was not like those I dream of at night.

Most of the more remarkable passerine species were seen within the first 2 hours of daylight, such as Swamp Flycatcher (common), Little Rush Warbler, Papyrus Canary, Greater Swamp Warbler, Carruthers’s Cisticola and Northern Brown-throated and Slender-billed Weaver. Some Abdim’s Storks appear to have established a breeding colony on a large tree towards downtown Kisumu, and African Openbill is omnipresent along the lakeshore. A boat ride with three fishermen along the lakeshore towards some more extensive papyrus reeds around noon time (Sh 500.-) proved entirely fruitless.

Lake Baringo

The last one and a half days of effective birding were spent around Lake Baringo, which turned out to be an excellent choice since it added me another several dozens of species to my trip list.

Accommodation: The only notable settlement around Lake Baringo is Kampi ya Samaki, which has a number of cheap places plus two expensive lodges. I stayed in one of the two lodges (Sh 2200.- a night) for one night (as some kind of a treat at the end of the trip), and in one of the cheaper places ("Weaver’s Lodge/Hotel", Sh 500.-) the second night, though I have to admit that the expensive place – being 4.4 times as expensive – was actually 10 times as nice.

Birds: This valley is just pumping with birds. Hard to believe, considering how dry it is, so I guess it must be some kind of oasis effect. You walk around the spread-out village and you keep seeing new species all the time, even towards the end of the day. The cliffs about one kilometer to the west of town were good for Fan-tailed Raven, Cliff Chat, Rock Martin and Spotted Eagle-owl. As far as most songbirds are concerned, any species could just be anywhere, so I guess walking around as much as possible should be the best strategy. The low thorn and acacia scrub proved excellent not only for resident songbirds, but also for migrants such as Isabelline Wheatear and Shrike or Common Rock Thrush. Towards the afternoon, I was followed by a few young men that offered to show me nocturnal birds for Western money. They seem to have offered their services to tour companies in the past, especially the one called Peter. They promised 3 species of nightjar plus 3 more species of owls (apart from Spotted Eagle-owl which I had already seen) plus Heuglin’s Courser for 40 Euros. Checking my wallet, I said OK (even though I was almost getting beyond my financial reach), because it just sounded too promising. I guess they just slightly exaggerated, and really tried to keep their promise, though by the end of the day the only other owl they had presented was Verreaux’s Eagle-owl, and the only nightjar was Slender-tailed. We did see Heuglin’s Courser though (by bike), and with it a Lichtenstein’s Sandgrouse.

At the end of the day, Peter invited me to his house, his wife served chicken with rice, and he talked me into a boat ride the next day, promising a 50% chance of African Skimmer, a 100% White-faced Scops Owl (which we’d missed that day), and Hemprich’s Hornbill (I had only seen Jackson’s and Red-billed Hornbill around Kampi ya Samaki and was starting to wonder where Hemprich’s could be found, since it is supposed to be a regional specialty; Peter opined that they can mainly be found on one of the Baringo islands). Thus tempted by another handful of very special birds, I gave Peter my last money (30 Euros for the gasoline/boat rental, 30 Euros for his guiding); he barely left me enough to buy a ticket to Mombasa. During the boat ride, I saw Black Crake, African Marsh Harrier, the promised Hemprich’s Hornbill, no skimmer (of course), no white-faced scops-owl (but instead another spotted eagle-owl that Peter’s contact person had misidentified…). Needless to say that I was a little ill-humored by the end of the boat trip, realizing that – all in all – I had paid this guy my last 100 Euros, leaving me almost stranded, and he didn’t even present half of what he’d promised. I guess I was a little too ready to spend my last bucks.

Trip List

Common Ostrich – Struthio camelus massaicus: B
Little Grebe – Tachybaptus ruficollis capensis: N
Great White Pelican – Pelecanus onocrotalus: N
Pink-backed Pelican – Pelecanus rufescens N
Long-tailed Cormorant – Phalacrocorax a. africanus com
Cattle Egret – Bubulcus ibis ibis com
Little Egret – Egretta garzetta garzetta com
Black Heron – Egretta ardesiaca N
Squacco Heron – Ardeola ralloides com
Great Egret – Casmerodius albus melanorhynchos com
Gray Heron – Ardea cinerea cinerea com
Goliath Heron – Ardea goliath B
Black-headed Heron – Ardea melanocephala com
Hamerkop – Scopus umbretta umbretta com
Abdim’s Stork – Ciconia abdimii Kisumu
Saddle-billed Stork – Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis Sok
African Open-billed Stork – Anastomus l. lamelligerus Kisumu
Yellow-billed Stork – Mycteria ibis com
Sacred Ibis – Threskiornis aethiopicus aethiopicus com
Hadada Ibis – Bostrychia hagedash brevirostris com
Olive Ibis – Bostrychia olivacea akeleyorum Mt K
Glossy Ibis – Plegadis falcinellus falcinellus com
African Spoonbill – Platalea alba com
Greater Flamingo – Phoenicopterus (ruber) roseus Sok, N
Lesser Flamingo Phoeniconaias minor N
White-faced Whistling-Duck – Dendrocygna viduata com
White-backed Duck – Thalassornis leuconotus leuconotus Sok
Egyptian Goose – Alopochen aegyptiacus B
African Pygmy-Goose – Nettapus auritus Sok
Yellow-billed Duck – Anas undulata undulata N
Hottentot Teal – Anas hottentota N, B
Southern Pochard – Netta erythrophthalma brunnea N
Osprey – Pandion haliaetus haliaetus Kisumu
Eurasian Honey Buzzard – Pernis apivorus Kak
Black-shouldered Kite – Elanus caeruleus caeruleus Naro Moru
Black Kite – Milvus migrans (ssp.?) com
Southern Banded Snake-eagle – Circaetus fasciolatus Sok
African Harrier-Hawk – Polyboroides typus typus Sok
African Marsh-Harrier – Circus ranivorus B
Eurasian Marsh-Harrier – Circus a. aeruginosus Naro Moru
African Goshawk – Accipiter tachiro sparsimfasciatus Sok
Gabar Goshwak – Micronisus gabar aequatorius N
Great Sparrowhawk – Accipiter melanoleucus melanoleucus Sok
Lizard Buzzard – Kaupifalco m. monogrammicus Sok
Common (Steppe) Buzzard – Buteo buteo vulpinus Kak
Mountain Buzzard – Buteo oreophilus Mt K
Augur Buzzard – Buteo augur augur Mt K
African Fish-eagle – Haliaeetus vocifer com
Palm-nut Vulture – Gypohierax angolensis Sok
Long-crested Eagle – Lophaetus occipitalis Kak
Pygmy Falcon – Polihierax semitorquatus castanonotus B
Lanner Falcon – Falco biarmicus abyssinicus B
Crested Francolin – Francolinus sephaena grantii B
Jackson’s Francolin – Francolinus jacksoni Mt K
Yellow-necked Spurfowl – Francolinus leucoscepus Naro Moru
Helmeted Guineafowl – Numida meleagris mitrata Sok
Black Crake – Amaurornis flavirostris B
Red-knobbed Coot – Fulica cristata N
Gray-crowned Crane – Balearica regulorum gibbericeps Mt K – Nyeri Rd
African Jacana – Actophilornis africanus com
Greater Painted-Snipe – Rostratula benghalensis benghalensis N
Crab Plover – Dromas ardeola Sok
Black-winged Stilt – Himantopus himantopus himantopus B
Water Thick-knee – Burhinus vermiculatus vermiculatus B
Heuglin’s Courser – Rhinoptilus cinctus cinctus B
Blacksmith Plover – Vanellus armatus N
Crowned Plover – Vanellus coronatus coronatus N
Spur-winged Plover – Vanellus spinosus com
Black-headed Plover – Vanellus tectus tectus B
Gray Plover – Pluvialis squatarola Sok
Ringed Plover – Charadrius hiaticula tundrae Sok, B
Three-banded Plover – Charadrius tricollaris tricollaris Gongoni
Kittlitz’s Plover – Charadrius pecuarius Gongoni
Lesser Sandplover – Charadrius mongolus pamirensis Sok
Greater Sandplover – Charadrius leschenaultii crassirostris Sok
Little Stint – Calidris minuta com
Curlew Sandpiper – Calidris ferruginea Sok
Ruff – Philomachus pugnax Sok, N
Common Snipe – Gallinago gallinago gallinago N
Black-tailed Godwit – Limosa limosa limosa N
Whimbrel – Numenius phaeopus phaeopus Sok
Marsh Sandpiper – Tringa stagnatilis N, B
Common Greenshank – Tringa nebularia Sok
Wood Sandpiper – Tringa glareola com
Common Sandpiper – Actitis hypoleucos com
Terek Sandpiper – Xenus cinereus Sok
Ruddy Turnstone – Arenaria interpres interpres Sok
Gray-headed Gull – Larus cirrocephalus poiocephalus N
Gull-billed Tern – Sterna nilotica nilotica com
Saunders’s Tern – Sterna (albifrons) saundersi Gongoni
Whiskered Tern – Chlidonias hybridus delalandii N
White-winged Tern – Chlidonias leucopterus B
Lichtenstein’s Sandgrouse – Pterocles lichtensteinii sukensis B
Tambourine Dove – Turtur tympanistria Kak, Sok
Blue-spotted Wood-Dove – Turtur afer Kisumu
Emerald-spotted Wood-Dove – Turtur chalcospilos Sok, B
Speckled Pigeon – Columba guinea guinea Naro Moru
Red-eyed Dove – Streptopelia semitorquata Sok
African Mourning Dove – Streptopelia decipiens perspicillata Kisumu, B
Ring-necked Dove – Streptopelia capicola somalica Sabaki River
Laughing Dove – Streptopelia senegalensis senegalensis com
Red-fronted Parrot – Poicephalus gulielmi massaicus Mt K
Great Blue Turaco – Corythaeola cristata Kak
Hartlaub’s Turaco – Tauraco hartlaubi Mt K
White-bellied Go-away-bird – Corythaixoides leucogaster B
Thick-billed Cuckoo – Pachycoccyx audeberti validus Sok
Red-chested Cuckoo – Cuculus solitarius solitarius Kak
African Cuckoo – Cuculus gularis B
African Emerald Cuckoo – Chrysococcyx cupreus cupreus Kak
Diederik Cuckoo – Chrysococcyx caprius B
White-browed Coucal – Centropus superciliosus com
Sokoke Scops Owl – Otus ireneae Sok
Spotted Eagle-owl – Bubo (africanus) cinerascens B
Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl – Bubo lacteus B
Slender-tailed Nightjar – Caprimulgus clarus (ssp ?) B
Boehm’s Spinetail – Neafrapus boehmi sheppardi Sok
Scarce Swift – Schoutedenapus myoptilus myoptilus Mt K
African Palm-Swift – Cypsiurus parvus com
Nyanza Swift – Apus niansae niansae N
Horus Swift – Apus horus horus N
Little Swift – Apus affinis affinis N
Speckled Mousebird – Colius striatus mombassicus+kikuyensis com
Blue-naped Mousebird – Urocolius macrourus pulcher B
Narina Trogon – Apaloderma narina littoralis Sok
Bar-tailed Trogon – Apaloderma vittatum Kak
Woodland Kingfisher – Halcyon senegalensis (ssp?) Kisumu
Malachite Kingfisher – Alcedo cristata galerita N, B
African Pygmy Kingfisher – Ispidina picta picta Kak, B
Pied Kingfisher – Ceryle rudis rudis com
White-throated Bee-eater – Merops albicollis Sok
White-fronted Bee-eater – Merops b. bullockoides N
Blue-headed Bee-eater – Merops muelleri muelleri Kak
Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater – Merops oreobates Mt K, Kak
Lilac-breasted Roller – Coracia caudata caudata B, near Malindi
Purple Roller – Coracias naevia naevia B
Hoopoe – Upupa epops africana B, N
White-headed Wood-Hoopoe – Phoeniculus bollei jacksoni Mt K, Kak
Green Wood-Hoopoe – Phoeniculus purpureus marwitzi N P.p. niloticus B
Common Scimitarbill – Rhinopomastus cyanomelas schalowi Sok
Red-billed Hornbill – Tockus e. erythrorhynchus B
Jackson’s Hornbill – Tockus jacksoni B
Hemprich’s Hornbill – Tockus hemprichii B
Crowned Hornbill – Tockus alboterminatus geloensis Mt K
Trumpeter Hornbill – Bycanistes bucinator Sok
Bl./white-casqued Hornbill – Bycanistes subcylindricus subquadratus Kak
Gray-throated Barbet – Gymnobucco bonapartei cinereiceps Kak
Green Barbet – Stactolaema o. olivacea Sok
Eastern Green Tinkerbird – Pogoniulus scolopaceus flavisquamatus Sok
Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird – Pogoniulus bilineatus jacksoni Kak
Yellow-spotted Barbet – Buccanodon d. duchaillui Kak
Hairy-breasted Barbet – Tricholaema hirsuta ansorgii Kak
Red-fronted Barbet – Tricholaema diademata diademata B
Black-throated Barbet – Tricholaema melanocephala stigmatothorax B
White-headed Barbet – Lybius leucocephalus (ssp.?) N
Yellow-billed Barbet – Trachylaemus purpuratus elgonensis Kak
Lesser Honeyguide – Indicator minor teitensis Kak
Thick-billed Honeyguide – Indicator c. conirostris Kak
Least Honeyguide – Indicator exilis pachyrhynchus Kak
Wahlberg’s Honeybird – Prodotiscus regulus regulus N
Nubian Woodpecker – Campethera nubica nubica B
Mombasa Woodpecker – Campethera mombassica Sok
Buff-spotted Woodpecker – Campethera nivosa herberti Kak
Brown-eared Woodpecker – Campethera caroli caroli Kak
Cardinal Woodpecker – Dendropicos fuscescens lepidus Kak, B
Yellow-crested Woodpecker – Dendropicos xantholophus Kak
Brown-backed Woodpecker – Picoides obsoletus ingens Mt K
Rufous-naped Lark – Mirafra africana athi Naro Moru
Fischer’s Sparrow-Lark – Eremopterix leucopareia B
African Pied Wagtail – Motacilla aguimp vidua com
Yellow Wagtail – Motacilla flava thunbergi B
M. f. beema (apparently not M. f. flava) N
Grassland Pipit – Anthus cinnamomeus lacuum Naro Moru
Long-billed Pipit – Anthus similis hararensis N
Malindi Pipit – Anthus melindae Gongoni
Sokoke Pipit – Anthus sokokensis Sok
Yellow-throated Longclaw – Macronyx croceus tertius Sok
Plain Martin – Riparia paludicola ducis Mt K
Bank Swallow – Riparia riparia riparia com
Wire-tailed Swallow – Hirundo smithii smithii N, B
Barn Swallow – Hirundo rustica rustica com
Mosque Swallow – Hirundo senegalensis saturatior B
Lesser Striped Swallow – Hirundo abyssinica unitatis Kisumu
Rock Martin – Hirundo fuligula fusciventris B
Common House Martin – Delichon u. urbica N
Black Saw-wing – Psalidoprocne holomelas massaicus Mt K
White-headed Saw-wing – Psalidoprocne albiceps albiceps Kak
Cameroon Sombre Greenbul – Andropadus c. curvirostris Kak
Ansorge’s Greenbul – Andropadus ansorgei kavirondensis Kak
Little Greenbul – Andropadus virens virens Kak
Yellow-whiskered Greenbul – Andropadus l. latirostris Kak
Slender-billed Greenbul – Andropadus gracilirostris (ssp?) Kak
Shelley’s Greenbul – Andropadus masukuensis kakamegae Kak
Mountain Greenbul – Andropadus nigriceps kikuyensis Mt K
Zanzibar Sombre Greenbul – Andropadus importunus insularis Sok
Cabanis’s Greenbul – Phyllastrephus cabanisi sucosus Kak
Fischer’s Greenbul – Phyllastrephus fischeri Sok
Northern Brownbul – Phyllastrephus strepitans Sok
Tiny Greenbul – Phyllastrephus debilis rabai Sok
Yellow-bellied Greenbul – Chlorocichla flaviventris centralis Sok
Joyful Greenbul – Chlorocichla laetissima Kak
Common Bulbul – Pycnonotus barbatus tricolor+dodsoni com
Red-tailed Bristlebill – Bleda syndactyla woosnami Kak
Eastern Nicator – Nicator gularis Sok
Black-lored Babbler – Turdoides sharpei sharpei N
Scaly Babbler – Turdoides squamulatus squamulatus Sabaki River
Rufous Chatterer – Turdoides r. rubiginosus B
Brown Illadopsis – Illadopsis fulvescens ugandae Kak
Scaly-breasted Illadopsis – Illadopsis albipectus barakae Kak
Equatorial Akalat – Sheppardia aequatorialis aequatorialis Kak
East Coast Akalat – Sheppardia gunningi sokokensis Sok
White-browed Robin-Chat – Cossypha heuglini intermedia Sok
Blue-shouldered Robin-Chat – Cossypha cyanocampter bartteloti Kak
Snowy-headed Robin-Chat – Cossypha niveicapilla melanota Kak, Kisumu
Brown-chested Alethe – Alethe poliocephala carruthersi Kak
Red-tailed Ant-Thrush – Neocossyphus rufus rufus Sok
White-tailed Ant-Thrush – Neocossyphus poensis praepectoralis Kak
Spotted Morning Thrush – Cichladusa guttata guttata B
White-browed Scrub-Robin – Cercotrichas leucophrys zambesiana Kak
C. l. leucoptera B
Eastern Bearded Scrub Robin – Cercotrichas q. quadrivirgata Sok
Irania – Irania gutturalis N
Common Stonechat – Saxicola torquata axillaris N
Northern Wheatear – Oenanthe oenanthe Mt K
Isabelline Wheatear – Oenanthe isabellina Gongoni, B
Schalow’s Wheatear – Oenanthe lugubris schalowi rd near Nairobi
Alpine Chat – Cercomela sordida ernesti Mt K
Northern Anteater Chat – Myrmecocichla aethiops cryptoleuca N
Cliff Chat – Thamnolaea cinnamomeiventris subrufipennis B
Common Rock Thrush – Monticola saxatilis B
Abyssinian Ground Thrush – Zoothera piaggiae kilimensis Mt K
Olive Thrush – Turdus olivaceus abyssinicus Mt K
African Thrush – Turdus pelios centralis Kak
Bare-eyed Thrush – Turdus tephronotus Sabaki River
Spotted Flycatcher – Muscicapa striata Sok
African Dusky Flycatcher – Muscicapa adusta interposita Mt K
Swamp Flycatcher – Muscicapa aquatica infulata Kisumu
Ashy Flycatcher – Muscicapa caerulescens cinereola Sok
White-eyed Slaty Flycatcher – Melaenornis fischeri fischeri Mt K
Northern Black Flycatcher – Melaenornis edolioides lugubris Kak
African Gray Flycatcher – Bradornis microrhynchus neumanni B
Pale Flycatcher – Bradornis pallidus murinus Kak
Sedge Warbler – Acrocephalus schoenobaenus Kisumu
Great Reed Warbler – Acrocephalus arundinaceus N
Greater Swamp Warbler – Acrocephalus rufescens ansorgei Kisumu
Lesser Swamp Warbler – Acrocephalus gracilirostris parvus N
Willow Warbler – Phylloscopus trochilus com
Uganda Woodland Warbler – Phylloscopus budongoensis Kak
Brown Woodland Warbler – Phylloscopus umbrovirens mackenzianus Mt K
Little Rush Warbler – Bradypterus baboecala elgonensis Kisumu
Cinnamon Bracken Warbler – Bradypterus c. cinnamomeus Mt K
Black-faced Rufous Warbler – Bathmocercus rufus vulpinus Kak
Mountain Yellow Warbler – Chloropeta similis Mt K
Red-faced Cisticola – Cisticola erythrops sylvia Kisumu
Hunter’s Cisticola – Cisticola hunteri Mt K, N
Chubb’s Cisticola – Cisticola c. chubbi Kak
Winding Cisticola – Cisticola galactotes amphilectus N
Carruthers’s Cisticola – Cisticola carruthersi Kisumu
Stout Cisticola – Cisticola robustus nuchalis Naro Moru
Rattling Cisticola – Cisticola chiniana heterophrys Sok
C. c. ukamba/humilis N
Siffling Cisticola – Cisticola brachypterus katonae Naro Moru
Tawny-flanked Prinia – Prinia subflava melanorhyncha com
Banded Prinia – Prinia bairdii melanops Kak
White-chinned Prinia – Prinia leucopogon reichenowi Kak
Gray-backed Camaroptera – Camaroptera brachyura com
Olive-green Camaroptera – Camaroptera chloronota toroensis Kak
Yellow-breasted Apalis – Apalis flavida pugnax N
Chestnut-throated Apalis – Apalis p. porphyrolaema Mt K
Buff-throated Apalis – Apalis rufogularis nigrescens Kak
Black-headed Apalis – Apalis m. melanocephala Sok
Black-collared Apalis – Apalis p. pulchra Kak
Red-fronted Warbler – Spiloptila rufifrons rufifrons B
Gray-capped Warbler – Eminia lepida N
Northern Crombec – Sylvietta brachyura leucopsis B
Red-faced Crombec – Sylvietta whytii jacksoni N
Yellow-bellied Eremomela – Eremomela icteropygialis griseoflava B
Turner’s Eremomela – Eremomela turneri Kak
Buff-bellied Warbler – Phyllolais pulchella N
Kikuyu White-eye - Zosterops (poliogaster) kikuyuensis Mt K
Yellow White-eye – Zosterops senegalensis Kak
Dusky Tit – Parus funereus Kak
White-bellied Tit – Parus albiventris Mt K, N
Mouse-colored Penduline Tit – Anthoscopus musculus B
Little Yellow Flycatcher – Erythrocercus holochlorus Sok
African Blue Flycatcher – Elminia longicauda teresita Kak
Blue-mantled Crested Flycatcher – Trochocercus cyanomelas bivittatus Sok
Dusky Crested Flycatcher – Trochocercus nigromitratus Kak
African Paradise Flycatcher – Terpsiphone viridis ferreti com
Chin-spot Batis – Batis molitor Mt K
Forest Batis – Batis mixta ultima Sok
Pale Batis – Batis soror Sok
Pygmy Batis – Batis perkeo B
Common Wattle-eye – Platysteira cyanea nyansae Kak
Chestnut Wattle-eye – Dyaphorophyia c. castanea Kak
Jameson’s Wattle-eye – Dyaphorophyia jamesoni Kak
African Shrike-Flycatcher – Bias flammulatus aequatorialis Kak
Retz’s Helmet-Shrike – Prionops retzii graculina Sok
Chestnut-fronted Helmet-Shrike – Prionops scopifrons kirki Sok
Northern White-crowned Shrike – Eurocephalus rueppelli B
Isabelline Shrike – Lanius isabellinus phoenicuroides B
Gray-backed Fiscal – Lanius e. excubitoroides N
Common Fiscal – Lanius collaris humeralis Naro Moru
Long-tailed Fiscal – Lanius cabanisi Sabaki River
Brubru – Nilaus afer massaicus B
Brown-crowned Tchagra – Tchagra australis emini N
Bocage’s Bush-Shrike – Malaconotus bocagei jacksoni Kak
Black-headed Gonolek – Laniarius erythrogaster Kisumu
Luehder’s Bush-Shrike – Laniarius luehderi luehderi Kak
Tropical Boubou – Laniarius aethiopicus sublacteus Sok
Black-backed Puffback – Dryoscopus cubla affinis Sok
Northern Puffback – Dryoscopus gambensis malzacii Kak
Pink-footed Puffback – Dryoscopus angolensis gambensis Kak
Petit’s Cuckoo-Shrike – Campephaga petiti Kak
Purple-throated Cuckoo-Shrike – Campephaga quiscalina martini Kak
Gray Cuckoo-Shrike – Coracina caesia pura Mt K
Common Drongo – Dicrurus adsimilis adsimilis com
Square-tailed Drongo – Dicrurus ludwigii sharpei Kak
Black-headed Oriole – Oriolus larvatus rolleti Sok
Green-headed Oriole – Oriolus chlorocephalus amani Sok
Eurasian Golden Oriole – Oriolus o. oriolus Sok
House Crow – Corvus splendens splendens Sok
Pied Crow – Corvus albus Naro Moru
Fan-tailed Raven – Corvus rhipidurus B
Cape Rook – Corvus capensis Naro Moru
Bristle-crowned Starling – Onychognathus salvadorii B
Black-bellied Starling – Lamprotornis corruscus mandanus Sok
Blue-eared Starling – Lamprotornis chalybaeus cyaniventris B
Rueppell’s Long-tailed Starling – Lamprotornis purpuropterus Kisumu
Hildebrandt’s Starling – Lamprotornis hildebrandti B
Superb Starling – Lamprotornis superbus com
Magpie Starling – Speculipastor bicolor B
Plain-backed Sunbird – Anthreptes reichenowi yokanae Sok
Eastern Violet-backed Sunbird – Anthreptes orientalis B
Amani Sunbird – Anthreptes pallidigaster Sok
Collared Sunbird – Anthreptes collaris elachior Sok
Olive Sunbird – Nectarinia olivacea changamwensis Sok
Green-headed Sunbird – Nectarinia verticalis viridisplendens Kak
Scarlet-chested Sunbird – Nectarinia senegalensis lamperti N
Variable Sunbird – Nectarinia venusta falkensteini N
Eastern Double-collared Sunbird – Nectarinia m. mediocris Mt K
Tacazze Sunbird – Nectarinia tacazze jacksoni Mt K
Malachite Sunbird – Nectarinia famosa cupreonitens Naro Moru
Scarlet-tufted Malachite Sunbird – Nectarinia j. johnstoni Mt K
Red-chested Sunbird – Nectarinia erythrocerca Kisumu
Beautiful Sunbird – Nectarinia pulchella pulchella B
Gray-headed Sparrow – Passer griseus (ssp?) B
House Sparrow – Passer domesticus indicus Mombasa
Yellow-spotted Petronia – Petronia pyrgita B
White-headed Buffalo-Weaver – Dinemellia d. dinemelli B
White-browed Sparrow-Weaver – Plocepasser mahali melanorhynchus B
Reichenow’s Weaver – Ploceus baglafecht reichenowi Mt K
Slender-billed Weaver – Ploceus pelzelni pelzelni Kisumu
Little Weaver – Ploceus l. luteolus B
Spectacled Weaver – Ploceus ocularis N
Black-billed Weaver – Ploceus melanogaster stephanophorus Kak
Black-necked Weaver – Ploceus n. nigricollis Kak
Brown-capped Weaver – Ploceus insignis Mt K, Kak
Northern Brown-throated Weaver – Ploceus castanops Kisumu
Northern Masked Weaver – Ploceus t. taeniopterus B
Speke’s Weaver – Ploceus spekei Naro Moru
Village Weaver – Ploceus cucullatus paroptus Sok; (this ssp?)
P. c. bohndorffi Kisumu
Vieillot’s Black Weaver – Ploceus n. nigerrimus Kak
Dark-backed Weaver – Ploceus bicolor mentalis Kak
P. b. kersteni Sok
Red-headed Malimbe – Malimbus r. rubricollis Kak
Red-billed Quelea – Quelea quelea aethiopica N
Zanzibar Red Bishop – Euplectes nigroventris Sabaki River
Fan-tailed Widowbird – Euplectes axillaris phoeniceus Kisumu
Long-tailed Widowbird – Euplectes progne delamerei Naro Moru
Peter’s Twinspot – Hypargos niveoguttatus macrospilotus Sok
Abyssinian Crimsonwing – Cryptospiza salvadorii kilimensis Mt K
Red-headed Bluebill – Spermophaga ruficapilla ruficapilla Kak
Red-billed Firefinch – Lagonosticta senegala ruberrima Gongoni, Kisumu
Red-cheeked Cordon-bleu – Uraeginthus bengalus bengalus Kisumu
U. b. littoralis Sabaki River
Common Waxbill – Estrilda astrild minor Gongoni
E. a. peasei Kisumu
Black-headed Waxbill – Estrilda atricapilla graueri Mt K
Black-and-white Mannikin – Lonchura bicolor poensis Kak
Village Indigobird – Vidua chalybeata centralis Naro Moru
Pin-tailed Whydah – Vidua macroura Kisumu, Sabaki
Streaky Seedeater – Serinus striolatus Mt K
Thick-billed Seedeater – Serinus burtoni albifrons Mt K
Yellow-crowned Canary – Serinus canicollis flavivertex Mt K
African Citril – Serinus citrinelloides kikuyensis N
Papyrus Canary – Serinus koliensis Kisumu
Yellow-fronted Canary – Serinus mozambicus mozambicus Sok
White-bellied Canary – Serinus dorsostriatus B
Brimestone Canary – Serinus sulphuratus sharpii N

Total: 383 species

Probables :

Toro Olive Greenbul – Phyllastrephus hypochloris : Kak, one sighting, most certainly this species, well seen; not counted because of general confusion regarding its visual ID

Heard Only: Klaas’s Cuckoo – Chrysococcyx klaas com

Yellowbill – Ceuthmochares aereus aereus Kak

Feral hybrid Lovebirds (Agapornis) at Lake Naivasha