Budget Birding in Kenya, March 12th-25th 2002

Published by Surfbirds Admin (surfbirds AT surfbirds.com)


Frank E. Rheindt


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 someone 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' 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.

Species Lists

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' 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' 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' 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' Cuckoo Chrysococcyx klaas com

Yellowbill Ceuthmochares aereus aereus Kak

Feral hybrid Lovebirds (Agapornis) at Lake Naivasha