Top Bird Watching sites for day trips around Nairobi.

Top Bird Watching sites for day trips around Nairobi.

December 31, 2021
Safari Tips

Are you around Nairobi and looking for top bird watching sites for a half day or one day birding tour? Yes, we bring you the best birding destinations including Nairobi National Park which has a wide array of habitats that attracts exceptional population of birds. With a good ornithologist resident guide and a correct strategy, you’d be able to easily see more than 150 species on one day of visit. Magadi Lake makes for a good bird watching in Kenya among other places.

Below is a list of top bird watching sites for day trips around Nairobi;

Nairobi National Park

Nairobi national park is a home to over 500 bird species and the park Kenya’s capital the largest bird list of all cities not only in Africa but the entire world. The park is dominated by undisturbed grassland and a home to the rare Jackson’s widowbird, which breeds regularly every after good rains. Look out for other grassland birds such as ostriches, secretary birds and bustards in Nairobi National Park. You can easily book a full or half day guided birding trip at short notice with Africa Adventure vacations to see several birds in Nairobi national park like; Lappet-faced vulture, Corncrake, Fischer’s lovebird, Martial eagle, Grey crowned crane, Hartlaub’s bustard, Jackson’s widowbird, Kori bustard, Lesser kestrel, Pallid harrier, Abyssinian thrush, Secretary bird, Sharpe’s longclaw, White-bellied bustard, Sooty falcon, White-headed vulture among others.

Besides birdwatching, the park also hosts a wide range of wildlife including the endangered black rhino, cheetahs, lions, leopards, hyenas, giraffes, buffaloes among others. The park features several tourism activities like camping, corporate & special events, game viewing and picnics.

Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park

Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park is located in Kyanzavi division in Machakos County in Kenya; approximately 65 kilometers from Nairobi and the park overs an area of 20 square kilometers. Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park was founded in 1967 and hosts a small mountain. The mountain is known to locals in Kikuyu as the Mountain of the Buffalo while Masaai locals call it the Big Mountain. The park is a home to numerous endangered birds including the; white-browed sparrow weaver, mourning dove, grey- headed sparrow weaver, African pied wagtail, augur buzzard, African hawk eagle and purple-breasted sunbird while the Buffalos are the dominant animals in the ecosystem but you can encounter other wildlife species like bushbucks, leopards, aardvarks, porcupines, olive baboons, mongoose, pythons and monitor lizard. The mountain’s summit also offers tourists spectacular views of Mount Kenya. Mores still, the 14 falls of River Athi are located outside the park giving you a great romantic sight during your birding tour.

The following is a list of bird species in Ol Donyo Sabuk national park; Egyptian Goose, Scaly Francolin, Cinnamon-breasted Bunting, Yellow-necked Francolin, Little Grebe, Speckled Pigeon, Red-eyed Dove, Laughing Dove, Hartlaub’s Turaco, White-bellied Go-away-bird, Dideric Cuckoo, White-browed Coucal, Little Swift, White-rumped Swift, Black Crake, Spur-winged Lapwing, Whiskered Tern, Yellow-billed Stork, Hamerkop, Gray Heron, Little Egret, African Sacred Ibis, Black-winged Kite, Bateleur, Crowned Eagle, Booted Eagle, Mountain Buzzard, Augur Buzzard, Speckled Mousebird, Crowned Hornbill, Gray-headed Kingfisher, White-throated Bee-eater, Rufous-crowned Roller, Red-fronted Barbet, Green-backed Honeyguide, Purple-throated Cuckooshrike, Eurasian Golden Oriole, African Paradise-Flycatcher, Moustached Grass-Warbler, Gray Wren-Warbler, Yellow-breasted Apalis, Singing Cisticola, Northern Brownbul, Sombre Greenbul, Kikuyu White-eye, Hildebrandt’s Starling, Abyssinian Thrush, Spotted Flycatcher, Thrush Nightingale, Golden-winged Sunbird, Mariqua Sunbird, Holub’s Golden-Weaver, Purple Grenadier, Richard’s Pipit, Brimstone Canary, Golden-breasted Bunting among others.

Paradise Lost Resort

Paradise Lost Resort started in 1996 by a number of coffee farmers in Kiambu Kenya and its now one of the best birdwatching spots in Kenya alongside other key attractions like the caves. The caves offer a great waterfall at the entrance and were used as hiding grounds by the locals during the Mau Mau rebellion. Paradise lost has different habitats ranging from wetlands, grasslands, plantations, and a forest.

Paradise lost has several coffee plantations and a big coffee factory where birders may buy organic coffee powder and beans for home consumption at a very affordable price.

Yes Paradise Lost is the best place in Kenya to see the rare Grey-olive Greenbul and other bird species like; Black-backed Puffback, Violet-backed Starling, White-headed Barbet, Wire-tailed Swallow, Zebra Waxbill, Hinde’s Babbler, Eastern Golden Weaver, Great Sparrowhawk, Variable Sunbird, Wahlberg’s Eagle, Northern Double-collared Sunbird, White-rumped Swift, Speke’s Weaver, Tawny-flanked Prinia, African Black-headed Oriole, Grey-olive Greenbul, Reed Cormorant, African Pygmy Kingfisher, Red-faced Cisticola, Bronze Mannikin, Egyptian Goose, White-eyed Slaty Flycatcher, Black Cuckooshrike, White-backed Duck, Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater,  Silvery-cheeked Hornbill, Cardinal Woodpecker, Yellow-billed Duck, Grassland Pipit among others. You may spot some mammals such as Striped Ground Squirrel and Syke’s Monkey during your birding tour.

Lake Magadi

Well, you can opt to take road birding trip to lake Magadi via the edge of a famous Ngong Hills in search for resident birds at the escarpment. Continue with your trip down the great rift valley into the drier habitats of Magadi Road with a number of stopovers to look out for local dryland species. On a lucky day, you may meet some animals like antelopes, monkeys and squirrels as you head to lake Magadi, the land of soda ash mining.

Lake Magadi has a number of wild animals including the giraffe, wildebeest, zebras, antelopes and gerenuk however; some other animals can be seen at specific times of the early morning and late evening around the lake and in the conservancy like the hyenas, buffalos, lions and elephants.

Upon arrival, look out for several water birds with your final stop being at Olorgesailie Museum.

The following are the bird species you can see in Lake Magadi during your birding road trip; Red-and-Yellow Barbet, Black-throated Barbet, Red-fronted Barbet, Abyssinian Wheatear, Yellow-spotted Petronia, Grey Wren Warbler, Verreaux’s Eagle, Hildebrandt’s Starling, Chestnut-banded Plover, Eastern Paradise Whydah, Steel-blue Whydah, Golden-winged Sunbird, Black-necked Weaver, Brown Snake-Eagle, Beautiful Sunbird, African Grey Hornbill, Tawny Eagle, Eastern Chanting Goshawk, Blue-naped Mousebird, Banded Parisoma, Taita Fiscal, Grey-capped Social Weaver, White-bellied Canary, Southern Grosbeak Canary, Green-winged Pytilia, Rattling Cisticola, Rufous Chatterer, Dimorphic Egret, Lesser Flamingo, Long-billed Pipit, Greater Flamingo among others.

Besides birdwatching; lake Magadi features exciting tourism activities like Game Drives, Hot Springs Bath, Trekking and Hiking, Cultural Maasai Boma Visit, Night Bonfire with Nyama Choma.

Kinangop Grasslands & Aberdare Forest

Yes, Kinangop Grasslands & Aberdare Forest are top bird watching sites for day trips around Nairobi where visitors can see several migrants and resident birds. You will spot over 290 bird species and 5 of 8 species are recorded as endemic birds, 53 out of 70 bird species are recorded as Afrotropical Highland biome in Kenya. The trip also takes you to Kikuyu Escarpment forest which sits in the southern part of Aberdare forest to see birds like Abbott’s Starling, Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo, Orange Graund Thrush and Red chested Owlet.

Bird watching in Kinangop Grasslands & Aberdare Forest can be done throughout the year however the best time to do birding starts from November to April when the migrant’s birds from Europe and north Africa are present. You may also see many birds in breeding plumage during that period. The drier months run from June to September and December to February; these are good months for forest hiking and watching resident bird species as well as watching several animals including the Bush Duiker, Black-and-white Colobus Monkey

The following are the bird species in Kinangop Grasslands & Aberdare Forest; African Snipe, Black-winged Plover, Red-throated Wryneck, Red-throated Pipit, Common Quail, Black-tailed Godwit, Levaillant’s Cisticola, Wing-snapping Cisticola, Cinnamon Bracken Warbler, Long-tailed Widowbird, Jackson’s Widowbird, Angola Swallow, Montane Nightjar, Sharpe’s Longclaw, Mountain Buzzard, Hunter’s Cisticola, Rufous-breasted Sparrowhawk, Lesser Jacana, Common Stonechat, Golden-winged Sunbird, Mountain Yellow Warbler, Chestnut-throated Apalis, Malachite Sunbird, Moorland Chat, Black-fronted Bushshrike, Yellow-crowned Canary, Brown Woodland Warbler, Yellow-bellied Waxbill, Jackson’s Francolin among others.

Others top bird watching sites for day trips around Nairobi include; Ngong Forest, Lake Nakuru National Park, Lake Naivasha, Gatamaiyu Forest & Manguo Swamp.

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