Kenya: Malindi and Sokoke, February 2007

Published by Mary Crickmore (crwrcwamt AT

Participants: Mary Crickmore, Scott Crickmore, Willy Nganda


Based at Eden Roc Hotel in Malindi, we hired a driver and guide for a half-day tour of Arabuko-Sokoke. It would have taken a whole day tour to get to the range of habitats to see all the specialities of the forest preserve, so we did not see all that Sokoke has to offer. (We did a morning tour so that we could get to snorkeling by the early afternoon.) But I got the Sokoke Scops Owl which is a thrilling bird to see, and enough life birds to put me over 1,000 world birds on this day, so I was not disappointed.

Our guide was Willy Nganda whom I wholeheartedly recommend as one of the best birding guides I have had—able to ID birds by ear, knows how to find them, and adheres to a strong conservation ethic.

Contact information:
Willy’s cell phone within Kenya: 0733 971604 (outside of Kenya add country code and drop first zero)
our driver: Rama, 0733805462 (doesn’t know about birds but had a good vehicle and handled the tracks in Abuko without getting stuck.)

At the Eden Roc Hotel in Malindi there was good birding, especially in the grassy area with scattered trees and shrubs that lies between the hotel gardens and the beach. I would have had more seabirds and waders if I had spent more time on the beach, but shorebird watching was not my priority for this trip—rather, finding life birds, which meant I needed to find habitats that I had not been in before. Eden Roc is a comfortable and pleasant hotel, friendly and helpful staff, large buffet with a good selection, and it can make reservations over the internet. It has a lot of German customers, and the only downside was that there was a lot of smoking going on in the dining area.

Public transport in Malindi is a kind of motorcycle rickshaw. They can easily be gotten at the hotel entrance to go into town. A nice aspect of Eden Roc is that it is on the far north side of Malindi in an area that is not very built up, and it has a very large garden area, so we could watch nesting Golden Palm weavers while we took tea on the veranda.

You can't take public transportation to Arabuko, you need to hire a driver and vehicle, because the Forest is quite a ways out of Malindi plus it is much too large to visit on foot.

Species Lists

Arabuko-Sokoke Forest

Accipter minullus Little sparrowhawk
Turtur trympanistria Tambourine Dove
Turtur chalcospilos Emerald-spotted Wood Dove
Otus ireneae Sokoke Scops Owl
Bubo lacteus Verreaux’s Eagle Owl
Bycanistes bucinator Trumpeter hornbill
Pogoniulus simplex Eastern Green Tinkerbird (heard)
Stactolaema leucotis Green barbet
Phyllastrephus debilis Tiny greenbul
Phyllastrephus terrestris Terrestrial brownbul (heard)
Chlorocichla flaviventris Yellow-bellied greenbul
Nicator Gularis Eastern Nicator
Cercotrichas quadrivirgata Eastern Bearded Scrub Robin
Camaroptera brachyura Grey-backed Camaroptera
Apalis melanocephala Black-headed apalis
Erythrocercus holochlorus Yellow Monarch/Little Yellow Fl.
Batis soror Pale (East-coast) Batis
Laniarius aethiopicus Tropical Boubou
Dryoscopus cubla Black-backed puffback
Oriolus larvatus Black-headed Oriole
Lamprotornis corruscus Black-bellied Starling
Anthreptes pallidigaster Amani sunbird
Ploceus bicolor Dark-backed weaver

Eden Roc Hotel, Malindi

Ardeola melanocephala Black-headed Heron
Haliaeetuc vocifer African Fish Eagle
Arenaria interpres Ruddy Turnstone
Turtur chalcospilos Emerald-spotted Wood Dove
Streptopelia semitorquata Red-eyed Dove
Centropus superciliosus White-browed Coucal
Cypsiurus parvus Palm Swift
Colius striatus Speckled Mousebird
Prodotiscus regulus Wahlberg's Honeybird
Hirundo sp? ? Swallows
Motacilla aguimp African Pied Wagtail
Phyllastrephus terrestris Terrestrial brownbul
Pycnonotus barbatus Common Bulbul
Turdoides squamulatus Scaly Babbler
Tchagra senegala Black-crowned Tchagra
Dicrurus adsimilis Common Drongo
Corvus albus Pied Crow
Corvus splendens House Crow
Anthreptes collaris Collared Sunbird
Ploceus bojeri Golden Palm Weaver
Lonchura cucullata Bronze Manikin
Lonchura bicolor Black-and-white Manikin
Serinus mozambicus Yellow-fronted Canary