Nairobi National Park Birding
Nairobi National Park birding has become popular due to close proximity to a capital city and astounding high bird species recorded plus its relatively small size.
Nairobi National Park birding tour is one of those trips that have something for everyone,it is certainly a birder's paradise
Nairobi National Park is one of the top birding sites in Kenya
Depending with your time we offer half or whole day birding in the Park
On a normal day more than 100 bird species may be seen/recorded in a day's tour
Four of the big five mammals ( Lion, Buffalo, Rhino,
Leopard) may also be encountered in the park,
FactFile Nairobi National Park Birding
With a size of 117km2 and established in 1946 Nairobi National Park is Kenya’s oldest designated conservation area.
Nairobi National Park despite its relatively modest size is one of East Africa’s, Africa’s and the world’s most diverse and interesting protected park.
Nairobi National Park has so many different habitats, represented, ranging from savannah grasslands, open woodland, scrub, bushed thickets and dry wetland forest, others includes rocky gorges, wetlands, rivers and streams.
The Park exceptionally varied native flora comprising plants of more than 100 species.
This iconic Nairobi National Park has more than 500 Bird species recorded and plausibly the longest bird list in all cities of the world, largely contributed by the park having many different habitats, each containing different species of birds.
Nairobi National Park was on news recently on a day birding tour (2016) a Violet - tipped Courser or Brown winged Courser) seen 30 years ago was spotted by group of renowned ornithologists among them, Dale Zimmerman.
The eminent naturalist and lead author of Birds of Kenya and Northern Tanzania which for the first time, described and illustrated each of the 1,100 bird species of East Africa
Now in his 90s — has authored his latest book titled Turaco Country simply because his first posting as a young man to Africa was to Kakamega Rainforest in the 1960s
This extraordinary concentration of biodiversity is more remarkable for the fact that the park uniquely is located within the precincts of a major capital city.
It has also gained prominence as a secure refuge and breeding ground of global significance for endangered black and white rhinoceros.
The ivory burning site is close to the main gate,here more than 150 tonnes of ivory from both elephants and rhinos have been burnt, the first 12 tonnes were burned in 1989 by the then president Daniel arap Moi,
“there was a desperate measure meant to send a message to the world about poaching of Kenya’s Elephant”
The second burning happened in 2016, 105 tons of elephant tusks and 1.35 tons of rhino horns were reduced to smoldering ash, here visitor are allowed to alight from their cars and take photos of ash pile
Nairobi National Park lies in a transition zone between two of Africa’s great ecosystems- the savannahs stretching from northern Tanzania to Laikipia, near Mount Kenya and the forest Kenya highlands.
The combination of available water and a moderate climate (neither too hot and dry nor too cold and wet) has made this transition zone an important area for wildlife.
The park acts as a dry- season refuge.
In wet season animals move out of the park to take advantage of seasonally lush pastures on the plains to the south and east of the park.
The park straddles two distinct zones, the smaller to the west and north west, here the terrain is more elevated, and ranging in altitude from 1700 -1780 m (5600-5847ft) the zone receives significantly higher rainfall.
Second zone which is much larger is characterized by short grass plains with scattered trees and shrubs extends east and south via rocky gullies and scraps in central areas of the park down into the Athi Basin .
The altitude drops below 1700-1540 m
(5060ft) and temperatures are quite higher.
Tall trees only found on river banks and valleys.
Nairobi national park gives the Kenyan capital a tourist attraction like no other, it is an important money spinner for the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), while providing city dwellers with tranquil, scenic retreat from the stresses of daily urban life.
It functions as the “lungs” of today’s choked overcrowded city, replenishing oxygen and soaking up pollutants
Being gravel or murram surfaced, all major circuits in the park are passable year round except in some small tracks with black cotton soil which become waterlogged after the rains.
There are several designated picnic sites within the park;
where you are entitled to get out of your car, in the Nairobi National Park Day Birding
- Kingfisher picnic site,
- Mokoyeti picnic site
- Impala observation point
- Hippo pools
Birding in these areas tend to be productive because you have a chance of walking and interact closer with nature
Other attractions within the Nairobi National Park includes:
Nairobi Animal Orphanage
- Established in Nov 1963 as a refuge for wild animals found abandoned orphaned or injured in the wild
Nairobi Safari Walk
- Opened in the year 2000; you view animals from vantage points on a circuit of raised wooden boardwalks and gravel pathways
Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage
- Founded in 1987 for abandoned, injured baby elephants/rhinos
- Open to public for one hour starting from 11:00- 12:00 hrs
Itinerary for Nairobi National Park Birding
- 0600hrs: Pick up from Hotel
- 0630hrs: Check in the park and start birding in Nairobi N park
- 0530hrs: Drop off to Hotel/Airport.
Cost caters for:
- Park entrance fees
- Services of a Professional Bird guide
- A bird checklist for Nairobi National Park
Recommended thing to carry;
- Insect Repellent
Tour Concerns for Nairobi National Park Birding
- Birding will be done while in the car
- But there are some designated places where clients are allowed to alight from the car
- These places are usually very productive in bird species,
- Nairobi National Park Day Birding tour is enjoyed throughout the year
- Nairobi National Park opens at 0630hrs and closes at 0600hrs
Top bird species for Nairobi National Park Birding
- Common Ostrich
- African Darter
- African Finfoot
- Dwarf Bittern
- Goliath Heron
- Saddle-billed Stork
- Spur-winged Goose
- Secretary bird
- African Fish Eagle
- Ruppell's Griffon Vulture
- Black -chested Snake-Eagle
- Gabar Goshawk
- Augur Buzzard
- Tawny Eagle
- Shelly's Francolin
- Grey crowned Crane
- Kori Bustard,
- White-bellied Bustard
- Hartlaub's Bustard
- Bronze- winged Courser
- African Skimmer
More recently (May 2019) in a birding tour we spotted a Dickison's Kestrel which is out of range species for Nairobi National Park