Karura Forest Birding


Karura Forest is an urban forest in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya.
The forest was gazetted in 1932 and is managed by the Kenya Forest Service in conjunction with the Friends of Karura Forest.
Karura Forest is located north of central Nairobi and is bordered by the suburbs of Muthaiga, Gigiri, Runda, Ridgeway’s, Peponi and New Muthaiga.
The western part of the forest is also known as Sigiria Forest

Karura Forest has an area of 1 063.0 hectares, making it the largest of the three main gazetted forest in Nairobi

Karura Forest

The others are Ngong Forest and Oloolua Forest

The centrally located Nairobi Arboretum is much smaller

The forest has well marked and maintained nature trails

The forest is cut by Thigirie, Getathuru, Ruaka and Karura Rivers, all tributaries of the larger Nairobi River.


Wildlife in Karura forest include Monkey species (including recently re-introduced black and white Colobus Monkeys), bush baby, bushbuck, bush pig, porcupine, duikers, genet, Suni   African civet 


More than 200 bird species have been recorded in Karura forest, it's quiet ,the tranquility, amazing forest birds are encountered in rapid sequence 

In a walk of two hour in the forest you can manage to record and see colourful and interesting birds numbering close to a hundred

Karura Forest

Bird species in Karura forest  includes;

  • Singing Cisticola
  • African Goshawk 
  • African Crowned Eagle 
  • Augur Buzzard
  • Grey Cuckoo 
  • Brown chested Alethe
  • Narina Trogon
  • Long Crested Eagle
  • White backed Duck
  • Malachite Kingfisher
  • Hartlaub’s Turaco
  • White headed Barbet
  • Slender billed Greenbul
  • African Black Duck
  • African Emerald Cuckoo
  • Yellow -rumped Tinkerbird
  • Paradise Flycatcher
  •  Grey crowned Cranes (a breeding pair)
  • Spot- flank Barbet
  • Recently a Red –chested Flufftail  a secretive bird in bogs, swamps and marshes, has been heard at the swamp next to KFEET.

The sightings of birds that used to be seen 10 years ago has been attributed to the  planting of indigenous trees in patches that had exotic species, 

Attractions in Karura forest:

  • a 15-metre waterfall,
  • 50 km of nature trails for walking, running and biking
  • archaeological sites (recently excavated, artifacts being analyzed),
  • an old chimney incinerator – used by the Central Bank for the burning of decommissioned currency up until the mid-1990′s,
  • an abandoned stone quarry pond, now called Lily Lake, which host some interesting  water bird species,the best place to see the rare White-backed Duck
  • caves which are considered to be sacred by many and steeped in Kenyan history (they were formerly used by the Mau-Mau freedom fighters as hideouts during the struggle for Independence),
  • patches of bamboo,
  • marshlands that attract bird life including winter migrants from Europe and Asia,
  • serene groves of secondary and primary indigenous trees.

Karura forest is also where  Professor Wangari Maathai

Karura Forest birding(late leader of the Green Belt Movement and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate) carried out a much publicized campaign for saving the forest from developers who  had tried to grab large portions of the north of the central section of the forest.

The forest became a symbol of the fight against land grabbing in Kenya.

Recently a huge  Southern Rock Python has been seen in one of the Nature trails



Other Activities in Karura Forest

  • Walking
  • Jogging
  • Tree planting
  • Dog walking on a leash
  • Concerts
  • Weddings
  • Team building
  • Sport and fitness
  • Biking
  • Tennis at the KFEET