Lake Elementeita


Lake ElementeitaLake Elementeita ( also spelled Elementaita or Lake Elmenteita)  is a small soda lake  with a size of 18 square kilometere.

The word Elementeita is derived from the Maasai word muteita, meaning “dust place”,. 

A reference to the dryness and dustiness’ of the area, especially between January and March.

Lake Elementeita which is alkaline is close to Lake Nakuru National Park, part of it is within Soysambu Conservancy.

It is globally recognized as an Important Bird Area

Lake Elementeita has also been designated as one of the wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar sites) in Kenya since 2005 

Lake Elementeita is one of the  Kenya Lake System in the Great Rift Valley, a natural property of exceptional splendor, comprises three inter-linked fairly shallow lakes (Lake Bogoria, 10,700 ha Lake Nakuru 18,800 ha and Lake Elementaita 2,534 ha) in the floor

 of Great  Rift Valley and covers an entire  area of 32,034 hectares.

The area is home to 13 globally threatened bird species and some of the highest bird diversities in the world

Due to the assemblage of various birds of conservation concern,such as the threatened, range-restricted Grey-crested Helmet-

shrike (Near threatened) which occurs in the surrounding woodland where it may be resident.

It also sustains significant populations of over 100 species of Palearctic migratory birds by offering a vital wintering ground for them.

Making this one of the greatest ornithological spectacles on earth, the  lake forms part of the Great Rift Valley migratory flyway system for migratory birds

Lake Elementeita is fed by the Kikopey hot springs at its southern end, and two small streams, the Meroronyi and Kariandusi, flowing from the eastern plateau.

The surrounding landscape is characterized by dramatic rocky faults, volcanic outcrops and cones.

Lake Elementeita

Rainfall is erratic and averages less than 600 mm/year.

Birdwatching  Lake Elementeita

Birdlife in lake elementeita is prolific; over 400 bird species have been recorded.

Birding  in Lake Elementeita  is pretty easy because it is done while walking as opposed to many areas where it is done while driving vehicles

On a good birdwatching day you can record up 200 bird species

Both Greater and Lesser Flamingo varieties are attracted to Lake Elmenteita by the insect larvae, crustaceans, and blue-green algae

Close to four million Lesser Flamingos travel between the three lakes (Lakes  Elmenteita, Nakuru, and Bogoria). 

Great White Pelicans Breeding Site

Lake Elementeita


In addition,  lake elementeita  supports one of the major breeding colonies of the Great White Pelicans in the world with over 8000 breeding pairs in the three islands

 The breeding islands are sometimes filled with side by side nesting birds and a closely packed host of dark coloured young ones

Breeding is high during the wet season as the water levels of the Lake are high and rocky outcrops in the east

ern sector are flooded to form islands which are perfect for safe nesting.

Lake Elementeita does not have an adequate fish  supply for all these huge birds so they fly to Lake Nakuru and Lake Naivasha to fish and bring the catch back in their large beak-pouches to their young.

Great White Pelicans often feed in tightly packed groups, submerging heads and beaks in unison often referred as synchronized feeding; prey has minimal chances of escaping

The sky is often filled with flocks of pelicans circling in formation, seeking the thermals to lift them up the sky.

The Great White pelicans move in waves of tightly packed  flock, that fly in and crash land onto the water before scooping their enormous beaks deep down and coming up with large mouthfuls of Tilapia Grahami  fish.

The noise that is formed from all the wing flapping is deafening and sounds like small jet flying low over your head,

They return in the late afternoon and regurgitate fish from their throat pouches for their young

Lake Elementeita

The natural vegetation is mainly Acacia and Tarconanthus camphoratus bushland interspersed with Themeda triandra grassland.

Patches of Acacia xanthophloea woodland occur near the shore, and formerly covered a large area south of the lake

Lake Elementaita Notable Birds

  • Red-billed Teal
  • Helmeted Guineafowl
  • Common Quail
  • Crested Francolin
  • Little Grebe
  • Black-necked Grebe
  • Greater Flamingo
  • Lesser Flamingo
  • Dusky Turtle Dove
  • Laughing Dove
  • Namaqua Dove
  • Levaillant’s Cuckoo
  • Klaas’s Cuckoo
  • Red-chested Cuckoo
  • Black Cuckoo
  • Montane Nightjar
  • African Black Swift
  • White-rumped Swift
  • Horus Swift

Lake Elementeita

  • Common Moorhen
  • Grey crowned Crane
  • Water Thick-knee
  • Pied Avocet
  • Long -toed Plover
  • African Jacana
  • Temminck’s Stint
  • Curlew Sandpiper
  • Terek Sandpiper
  • Red-necked Phalarope
  • Temminck’s Courser
  • Slender-billed Gull
  • African Skimmer
  • Whiskered Tern
  • Yellow-billed Stork
  • White Stork
  • Purple Heron
  • African Spoonbill
  • Great Cormorant
  • African Harrier Hawk
  • Black –chested Snake Eagle
  • Crowned Eagle
  • Martial Eagle
  • Long-crested Eagle
  • Greater-spotted Eagle
  • Lizard Buzzard
  • Shikra
  • African Fish Eagle
  • African Wood Owl
  • Spotted Eagle Owl
  • Southern Ground Hornbill
  • Crowned Hornbill
  • Green Wood-hoopoe
  • African Hoopoe
  • Lesser Honeyguide
  • Red-throated Wryneck
  • Cardinal Woodpecker

Lake Elementeita

  • Lemon-rumped Tinkerbird
  • White-headed Barbet
  • White-throated Bee-eater
  • Purple Roller
  • Striped Kingfisher
  • Pygmy Falcon
  • Grey-crested Helmetshrike
  • Scarlet –chested Sunbird
  • Long –tailed Widowbird
  • Purple Grenadier
  • Cut-throat Finch
  • Red-faced Crombec
  • Rattling Cisticola
  • Dark- capped Yellow Warbler
  • Mosque Swallow
  • Red-rumped Swallow
  • Arrow-marked Babbler
  • Superb starling
  • African Grey Flycatcher
  • Mocking Cliff Chat
  • African Thrush