Birdwatching

Kenya is a birdwatcher´s paradise, a staggering 1,084 species have been recorded. Whilst there are a couple of countries with more species, Kenya must rank as the most accessible country for the intrepid birdwatcher. Even the novice birdwatcher will quickly “tick” his first species on the way from the airport!Black-headed Heron

One does not have to venture far, let alone into the national parks, to see numerous species. Our current list for Maweni Beach Cottages holds a 100+ species. Click here for a list of birds seen during a three months stay in 2001/2002. Probably the first bird you will encounter is the Common Bulbul which is present throughout the year. Tropical Boubous sing their duets from the shrub around Maweni, hear you will also hear White-browed Coucal (listen for the sound of a bottle being emptied). The many flowering shrubs attract both Collared and Purple-banded Sunbirds, whilst the fig trees hold Green Pigeon and Brown-breasted Barbet when in fruit. During the dry season the bird-bath behind Cottage number 9 attracts Weavers, Mannikins, Doves and the occasional Palm-nut VultureYellow-necked Spurfowl.

The shore and reef are good for birds, too: Whilst Woolly-necked Stork and Black-headed Heron can be seen all year round, a large number of Palearctic visitors are present during the winter months. A good time to brush up on identification skills of waders in non-breeding plumages!!!

A mere 20 minutes away are the Shimba hills with 18 of Kenya´s 30 East Coast biome species. Unlike many parks, walking is possible in designated areas, particularly good for forest species is the Madakara picnic site. Look for Fischer´s Turaco, and Barbets here.

Just before Shimoni you can access the Ramisi river. We can help in arranging boat trips, really the only way to explore. Absolute price birds here are African Finfoot and White-backed Night-Heron, one of the few places in Kenya where these two great birds can bee seen.

North of Mombasa, just before Malindi, is the Arabuko-Sokoke forest. The remnants of a coastal forest that covered most of East Africa, the forest holds 5 East African endemics. There is an excellent visitors´center at the main entrance, very knowledgeable guides can be arranged for a small cost. Whilst there, you should also take a look at Mida Creek, a regular haunt of Crab-plover in winter.Ostrich

The field guides I currently carry around when bird watching are “Field Guide to the Birds of East Africa” by Terry Stevenson and John Fanshawe, and “Birds of Kenya & Northern Tanzania” by Dale Zimmerman et al. These books are sometimes available at local book stores, I suggest that you buy them before you come to Kenya.

If you need further information, have general queris on birding in Kenya, or just want to say hello: hannostamm@hotmail.com .

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