Birding Kakamega Forest

Birding Kakamega Forest

December 31, 2021
Safari Tips

Kakamega forest is an iconic birding destination in Kenya located in Kakamega and Nandi County, northwest of Nairobi capital, and not far from the Uganda border. It is Kenya’s only tropical rainforest where birders have enormous opportunities to spot forest birds.

This beautiful forest hosts a number of mammals including bush pigs, colobus monkeys, giant forest hedgehogs, Debrazzar monkeys and pottos. Some of the birds that can be spotted here include the Blue Headed Bee Eater, Turner’s Eremomela, Black Billed Turaco, and Grey Parrots. Besides birding, Kakamega forest features other tourist activities such as guided forest nature walks, hiking and rock climbing.

The climate of Kakamega forest is generally wet with 2,000 mm of rainfall/year with rains starting from late March to May and late September to November while January and February are the driest months. June to August are also dry seasons. Temperatures are generally the same throughout the year; the minimum daily mean temperature is 11°C while the maximum daily mean temperature is about 26°C.

Key travel experiences at Kakamega Forest

Explore the magnificent views of the forest surroundings and impressive sunrise at the view point of Buyangu Hill.

Discover the beautiful Isiukhu fall.

Encounter the giant tree on Mukangu trails.

Tour the nature trails with marked trees of interest and pollinator garden next to KEEP office.

Explore the one of the best conserved tropical rainforests in Kenya that stretches across central Africa.

Meet hundreds of bird species, snakes (like Black Lipped Cobra, Gabon Viper, Rhinoceros Horned Viper, Forest Cobra), primates, butterflies, bushbucks, duikers and several tree species.

Visitors planning to book a birding trip to Kakamega forest can access the reserve by either road or air transport.

Getting to Kakamega forest by road – Yes you can use the shortest route from Nairobi which is about 418 km via Nakuru and Kapsabet. You will take the A104 road as far as Timboroa and continue for another 4 km, then turn left which takes you to the C36 road to Kapsabet from where you continue with your drive by taking C39 road until you join the Kisumu – Kakamega road. From Eldoret the shortest route to Kakamega forest is via the C39 road to Kapsabet.

Getting to Kakamega forest by air – Yes, there are now scheduled flights to Kakamega however birders can as well fly to either Kisumu or Eldoret and later connect to Kakamega by road.

The entry fees to Kakamega forest for foreign nonresidents is USD20 per adult and USD10 for the case of a child while citizens and foreign residents pay KSH 250 (Adults) & KSH 100 (Child).

The following are some of the bird species found in Kakamega forest that you will meet on your birding tour and safari;

PELECANIDAE, Pelicans

Pink-backed Pelican

ARDEIDAE, Herons

Grey Heron

Black-headed Heron.

Green-backed Heron

SCOPIDAE, Hammerkop

Hammerkop

CICONIIDAE, Storks

Abdim’s Stork

White Stork

Marabou

THRESKIORNITHIDAE, Ibises

Hadada

FRINGILLIDAE, Canaries

Oriole Finch

Yellow-rumped

Thick-billed Seed-eater

African Citril

Yellow-fronted Canary

Brimstone Canary

ANATIDAE, Ducks

African Black Duck

ACCIPITRIDAE, Birds of Prey

Hooded Vulture

Eurasian Marsh Harrier

Pallid Harrier

Harrier Hawk

Banded Snake Eagle

Brown Snake Eagle

Bateleur

Shikra

Great Sparrowhawk

Little Sparrowhawk

African Goshawk

Steppe Eagle

Wahlberg’s Eagle

Augur Buzzard

Common (“Steppe”) Buzzard

Mountain Buzzard

Ayres’ Hawk Eagle

Booted Eagle

African Hawk Eagle

Lizard Buzzard

Long-crested Eagle

Crowned Eagle

Black Kite

Cuckoo Hawk

Honey Buzzard

Black-shouldered Kite

Bat Hawk

NECTARINIIDAE, Sunbirds

Collared Sunbird

Green Sunbird

Orange-tufted Sunbird

Olive-bellied Sunbird

Copper Sunbird

Blue-throated Brown Sunbird

Bronze Sunbird

Olive Sunbird

Northern Double-collared Sunbird

Green-throated Sunbird

Scarlet-chested Sunbird

Superb Sunbird

Variable Sunbird

Green-headed Sunbird

FALCONIDAE, Falcons

Grey Kestrel

Lanner Falcon

African Hobby

Eurasian Hobby

Eurasian Kestrel

MOTACILLIDAE, Pipits & Wagtails

Plain-backed Pipit

Richard’s Pipit

Tree Pipit

Rosy-breasted Longclaw

Yellow-throated Longclaw

African Pied Wagtail

Grey Wagtail

Mountain Wagtail

Yellow Wagtail

PHASIANIDAE, Quails & Francolins

Common Quail

Harlequin Quail

Scaly Francolin

NUMIDIDAE, Guineafowls

Crested Guineafowl

GRUIDAE, Cranes

Crowned Crane

RALLIDAE, Rails

Buff-spotted Pygmy Crake

Red-chested Pygmy Crake

White-spotted Pygmy Crake

CHARADRIIDAE, Plovers

Wattled Plover

SCOLOPACIDAE, Sandpipers

Common Sandpiper

Wood Sandpiper

Green Sandpiper

COLUMBIDAE, Pigeons & Doves

Lemon Dove

Olive Pigeon

Bronze-naped Pigeon

Ring-necked Dove

Red-eyed Dove

Blue-spotted Wood Dove

Tambourine Dove

Green Pigeon

PSITTACIDAE, Parrots

Red-headed Lovebird

Brown Parrot

Grey Parrot

MUSOPHAGIDAE, Turacos

Great Blue Turaco

Eastern Grey Plantain Eater

Ross’s Turaco

Hartlaub’s Turaco

White-crested Turaco

Black-billed Turaco

CUCULIDAE, Cuckoos

Didric Cuckoo

Emerald Cuckoo

Klaas’ Cuckoo

Levaillant’s Cuckoo

Black Cuckoo

Red-chested Cuckoo

Yellowbill

CENTROPODIDAE, Coucals

Black Coucal

Blue-headed Coucal

White-browed Coucal

TYTONIDAE, Barn Owls

Cape Grass Owl

STRIGIDAE, Owls

Verreaux’s Eagle Owl

African Wood Owl

Pearl-spotted Owlet

Red-chested Owlet

White-faced Scops Owl

CAPRIMULGIDAE, Nightjars

Eurasian Nightjar

White-tailed Nightjar

Montane Nightjar

APODIDAE, Swifts

Mottled Swift

Little Swift

Eurasian Swift

Black Swift

White-rumped Swift

Horus Swift

Scarce Swift

Sabine’s

COLIIDAE, Mousebirds

Speckled Mousebird

TROGONIDAE, Trogons

Narina’s Trogon

Bar-tailed Trogon

ALCEDINIDAE, Kingfishers

Giant Kingfisher

Shining-blue Kingfisher

Striped Kingfisher

Woodland Kingfisher

Pygmy Kingfisher

MEROPIDAE, Bee-eaters

White-throated Bee-eater

Eurasian Bee-eater

Blue-headed Bee-eater

Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater

Little Bee-eater

Madagascar Bee-eater

CORACIIDAE, Rollers

Eurasian Roller

Rufous-crowned Roller

Broad-billed Roller

PHOENICULIDAE, Wood Hoopoes

White-headed Wood Hoopoe

BUCEROTIDAE, Hornbills

Black and White Casqued Hornbill

Crowned Hornbill

Ground Hornbill

LYBIIDAE, African Barbets

Yellow-spotted Barbet

Grey-throated Barbet

Double-toothed Barbet

Black-billed Barbet

Hairy-breasted Barbet

Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird

Speckled Tinkerbird

Yellow-billed Barbet

INDICATORIDAE, Honeyguides

Thick-billed Honeyguide

Least Honeyguide

Black-throated Honeyguide

Lesser Honeyguide

Scaly-throated Honeyguide

Cassin’s Honeybird

PICIDAE, Woodpeckers

Little-spotted Woodpecker

Brown-eared Woodpecker

Buff-spotted Woodpecker

Nubian Woodpecker

Fine-banded Woodpecker

Cardinal Woodpecker

Grey Woodpecker

Yellow-crested Woodpecker

EURYLAIMIDAE, Broadbills

African Broadbill

MONARCHIDAE, Monarch Flycatchers

Blue Flycatcher

Red-bellied Paradise Flycatcher

Paradise Flycatcher

White-tailed Crested Flycatcher

Dusky Crested Flycatcher

DICRURIDAE, Drongos

Square-tailed Drongo

CORVIDAE, Crows

Pied Crow

Cape Rook

ORIOLIDAE, Orioles

African Golden Oriole

Western Black-headed Oriole

Black-headed Oriole

Eurasian Golden Oriole

Montane Oriole

CAMPEPHAGIDAE, Cuckoo Shrikes

Black Cuckoo Shrike

Petit’s Cuckoo Shrike

Red-shouldered Cuckoo Shrike

Purple-throated Cuckoo Shrike

Grey Cuckoo Shrike

White-breasted Cuckoo Shrike

PARIDAE, Tits

White-bellied Tit

Dusky Tit

CISTICOLIDAE, Cisticolas & allies

Grey Apalis

Black-throated

Chestnut-throated

Black-collared

Buff-throated

Grey-backed Camaroptera

Olive-green Camaroptera

Rattling Cisticola

Chubb’s Cisticola

Red-faced Cisticola

Winding Cisticola

Whistling Cisticola

Croaking Cisticola

Stout Cisticola

Grey-capped Warbler

Banded Prinia

White-chinned

Tawny-flanked

ALAUDIDAE, Larks

Rufous-naped Lark

Flappet Lark

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