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Kenya endemic birds tour 14 days

endemic birds Kenya 14 days safari

Kenya has around 1080 recorded bird species. 7 are Kenya endemic birds and a large number is shared with neighboring Somalia, Uganda and Tanzania. Some subspecies are endemic in Kenya or Northeastern Africa. This Kenya endemic birds tour concentrates on Kenya endemic birds and you have the chance to find 4 Kenya endemic birds: Hinde’s Babbler, William’s Lark, Aberdare Cisticola and Sharpe’s Longclaw.

Many species you will look for during this Kenya endemic birds safari 14 days are not easy to trace. We therefore recommend that a professional, local ornithologist will guide you. This increases the number of species you will find drastically. At some places a local birding guide will assist since he lives there and knows the whereabouts of some species.

This Exciting Kenya endemic birds 14 days safari is arranged that you have time to photograph and observe. At the beginning of your endemic birds Kenya birding tour we will give you a bird list of birds recorded in the visited areas. We also gladly assist you in identifying after your tour via e-mail.

Nairobi National Park – the birder’s paradise with over 500 identified species. Several are semi endemic and good to observe here: Rufous-naped Lark (Mirafra africana athi), Kenya rufous Sparrow (Passer rufocinctus), Long-tailed Fiscal (Lanius h. humeralis), Red-throated tit (Parus fringillinus), Northern pied Babbler (Turdoides h. hypoleuca) and many more.

At the water dams you can find Fish Eagle, Open-billed Stork, African Spoonbill, various plovers and waders, Darter, Night Heron, Pink-backed Pelican a.o. At the river often Pied Kingfisher, Malachite Kingfisher, Moustached Grass-Warbler (Melocichla mentalis orientalis), Von der Deckens Hornbill, White-bellied Tit, Rueppel’s Starling and others are present.

Grass plains are inhabited by Red-collared Widowbird, Yellow Bishop, African Citril (Serinus citrinelloides kikuyensis), White-bellied Canary, Pin-tailed Whydah, Black-bellied Bustard, White-bellied Bustard, Shelley’s Francolin.

Birds of prey are represented by Tawny Eagle, Martial Eagle, Black-winged Kite, Yellow-billed Kite, White-backed Vulture, Lapped-faced Vulture and a Greater spotted Eagle keeps on spending the Northern winter here.

Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park is a small volcano near Thika town. Surprisingly some coastal species like Sombre Greenbul, Peter’s Twinspot and Eastern bearded Scrub-Robin reside here. But you also look out for Kikuyu White-eye, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, African Hill Babbler and many more.

Mount Kenya region – it can be a bit cold at the foot of Mount Kenya at night. Some special bird species: White-headed Wood-hoopoe (Phoeniculus bollei jacksoni), Yellow-bellied Waxbill (Coccopygia quartinia kilimensis), Kandt’s Waxbill (Estrilda kandti), Chestnut-throated Apalis (Apalis p. porphyrolaema), Olive-breasted Greenbul (Arizelocichla kikuyuensis), Mountain Yellow Warbler (Iduna similis) and many more.

Aberdare National Park and region – in the various vegetation zones from 1.750 m to 4.001 m 250 bird species have found their niche. Among them the almost endemic birds Jackson’s Francolin and the Kenya endemic birds Aberdare Cisticola. On the grass land on the Southern slope you will search for the Kenya endemic birds Sharpe’s Longclaw (Macronyx or Hemimacronyx sharpei) at the end of your Kenya endemic birds safari tour.

Raptors are represented by Crowned Eagle, Augur Buzzard, Mountain Buzzard, Montagu’s Harrier (migrant), Great Sparrow-Hawk a.o. Due to many Crotalaria, Leonotis and other plants various species of sunbirds are found – Golden-winged Sunbird, Eastern and Northern Double-collared Sunbird, Malachite Sunbird and Variable Sunbird.

Shaba National Reserve is the largest among the 3 neighbouring reserves – Buffalo Springs and Samburu. In Shaba you will look for the Kenya endemic William’s Lark that is known for loving black lava fields and maybe you are lucky and aso find a Friedmann’s Lark. You will hopefully spot the subspecies north of the equator of the Rosy-patched Bush-shrike (Rhodophonerus cruentus hilgeri) as well as Eastern Yellow-billed Hornbill, Northern Red-billed Hornbill, Bristle-crowned Starling, Yellow-necked Spurfowl and many others. It is also worth the time walking around in the lodge compound. Easily overlooked is the Brown-tailed Apalis (Apalis viridiceps) which occurs in Northern Kenya and neighbouring countries.

Samburu National Reserve has not only a dream landscape with its hills and Ewaso Nyiro River but is a paradise for birders as well as mammal lovers. Big cats, elephants, Grevy Zebra, Reticulated Giraffe, Beisa Oryx, Gerenuk and others belong to the mammal attraction.

Martial Eagle, Verreaux’s Eagle, Common Kestrel, Lanner Falcon, Eastern Pale Chanting-goshawk, African Hawk-Eagle, Palm-nut Vulture and other raptors can be found. Typical thorn-bush inhabitants are the almost Kenya endemic Donaldson-Smith’s Sparrow-Weaver (Plocepasser donaldsoni). Black-capped Social-Weaver (Pseudonigrita cabanisi) and other decorate the trees with their nests. It is a bit of luck to find the Somali Fiscal which is not easy to differentiate from the Taita Fiscal. Special sightings are Lichtenstein’s Sandgrouse (Pterocles lichtesteinii
sukensis) and Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse (Pterocles exustus olivascens).

Buff-crested Bustards (Lophotis gindiana) can be well observed in Samburu and so is the Golden-breasted Starling (Lamprotornis regius)
endemic to North-eastern Africa. Somali Bee-eaters are seasonal while the Black-bellied Sunbird (Cinnyris n. nectarinioides) is best found in Samburu and Meru National Park.

Suyian Conservancy is situated on the Laikipia Plateau and is nestled in-between rocks, a river and flat plains. You find a number of biotopes like a river, rocks, grassland and dams attracting a large number of
interesting species. You will move by car and on foot.

Black-cheeked Waxbills (Estrilda c. charmosyna) are endemic in North-eastern Africa, Pectoral-patch Cisticola (Cisticola brunnescens hindii), Red-headed Weaver (Anaplectes rubriceps leuconotos), Black-necked Weaver (Ploceus nigricollis melanoxanthus) which is widespread in from Ethiopia to Tanzania but only occurs where Sanseviera plants grow. Fan-tailed Raven, Abyssinian Scimitarbill, Grant’s Wood-Hoopoe and more endemic bird species to East or Northern East Africa can be spotted.

Lake Elementaita is a soda lake in the Great Rift Valley. Sentrim Elementaita lodge is built at the lake shore and in the compound acacia and other trees attract a good number of species. Hemprich’s Hornbill, Black-lored Babbler, Little Rock-Thrush and Fischer’s Lovebirds (escaped from cages), Brown Parisoma and many more can be spotted.

The Kinangop Plateau is between West of Aberdare range and the Great Rift Valley. It has good rainfall and therefore a lot of farming and dairy cow keeping is flourishing. But still we have some places inbetween the small rivers and the farms where you can find interesting and special species like the Sharpe’s Longclaw.

Itinerary Exciting endemic birds Kenya 14 days – birder’s dream safari

Day 1 Arrival in Nairobi
At Jomo Kenyatta international Airport you will be greeted by our representative and taken to the hotel.
Heron Portico Hotel or similar, breakfast

Day 2 – Nairobi National Park
Your driver/guide will pick you early morning at the hotel and after 20 minutes drive you will be at the entrance to Nairobi National Park. This is the only park in the world bordering a capital town. Most people underestimate the biodiversity and the amazing number of over 500 identified bird species in this only 117 square km covering area. Water dams, rivers, grass savannahs and acacia forests alternate.

You find different species of ducks, egrets, herons, eagles, widowbirds, whydahs, cisticolas, tits, storks and weavers. The Red-throated Tit which only has a small distribution area in Central Kenya and Northern Tanzania can be found searching insects on an Acacia tree. A Great spotted Eagle has been spending the Northern Winter here for the last few years. Shelley’s Francolin is not often met despite widely distributed.

You will eat your packed lunch at the river where you will take a walk with a ranger. Here you can meet Pied Kingfisher, Malachite Kingfisher, Von der Decken’s Hornbill, Common Waxbill, Tawny-flanked Prinia, Moustached Grass Warbler, White-bellied Tits and many more.

Heron Portico Hotel or similar, full board (picnic lunch)

Day 3 – Nairobi – Oldonyo Sabuk – Thika

Very early after breakfast you are heading North on the Thika Highway. After passing Thika town you visit 14 Falls. Here you can watch Eastern Golden Weavers building nests, Yellow-billed ducks swimming against the current and find intra-African migrants like the Black Cuckoo-shrike and observe Marico Sunbirds (Cinnyris mariquensis suahelicus) feeding on nectar.

It is just about 15 minutes drive to Oldonyo Sabuk National Park. It is not a well know park but has a few species usually found along the coast: Bearded Scrub-Robin, Peter’s Twinspot and Sombre Greenbul. If you are lucky you even find a Purple-crested Turaco which is a rare forest species in Kenya.

While driving slowly up the volcano you pass Protea plants and a beautiful forest. Keep your eyes open for Hartlaub’s Turaco and sunbirds feeding on Leonotis sp. and Crotolaria sp.

On the clearing on top of the volcano at 2.145 m you will not only enjoy your packed lunch but move carefully around (buffaloes) and observe thickets where Kikuyu White-eye, Collared Sunbird, African Hill Babbler, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird and others can be seen. Keep an eye up to the sky where maybe a Crowned Eagle or Martial Eagle is soaring.

In the afternoon you drive the same road down, again slowly and with open eyes. The hotel is after Thika town and has a beautiful compound. You can also go and see Chania Falls.

Hotel Blue Post, full board

Yellow-billed Ducks live in
pairs on lakes and rivers.

Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird drilling
for termites from a dead tree trunk.

Day 4 Thika – Mount Kenya region

Your journey goes further north to the foot of Mount Kenya. The rustic lodge is built on forest clearings and surrounded by forest. This brings the opportunity to find some of the 175 species.

You will reach the lodge during morning hours and spend as much time as possible searching with your birding guide.

If your time allows it would be absolutely worth it to spend an additional day!

Forest Castle Lodge, full board

Day 6 – Mount Kenya – Aberdare National Park

Some special birds are listed under above link

Early morning you depart and drive through Nyeri to the Aberdare National Park. The main bird to find is the Kenya endemic Aberdare Cisticola which lives in the open moorland. On your way there you will surely come across Jackson’s Francolin, a species that likes picking food along the road. Jackson’s Francolin belongs almost to the endemic birds of Kenya (Aberdare and Mt. Elgon).

Red-fronted Parrots (Poicephalus gulielmi massaicus) love the red berries of the Podocarpus trees and if you are lucky you find them feeding. Black Saw-wings, African Olive Pigeons and where Leonotis and Crotolaria plants are flowering look out for Golden-winged Sunbirds, Northern and Eastern Double-collared Sunbirds.

You will have your picnic lunch most likely at Fishing Lodge. These are huts in the open moorland at 2.900 m in the stile of Swiss Alp huts. Here Alpine chat, Jackson’s Francolin and others are easy to spot.

You will descend the same road in the afternoon and keep your eyes open. You will spend some time at lower altitude in the mountain forest and hopefully will spot a Scaly Francolin. Maybe you will also come across the impressive Giant Forest Hogs.

You drive to Nyeri town in the evening to spend the night at a special place – you will see! The next morning you might get woken up by the call of the Kenya endemic Hinde’s Babbler.

Le Pristine Hotel, Nyeri, full board

Day 7 – Aberdare – Shaba National Reserve

Early morning you meet with Paul. He is in charge of the project protecting the Mackinder’s Eagle-Owl. There are a few breeding pairs between Mount Kenya and the Aberdare Range. He will lead you to one of them. It is interesting to listen to him!

On a rough road you are heading north along Solio Conservancy. You will look out for Long-tailed Widowbirds, Jackson’s Widowbird (endemic to highlands in Kenya and Northern Tanzania) and the quite rare Denham’s Bustard.

You will carry picnic lunch to be time independent. Depending on the time you will reach at Shaba National Reserve you either go on a short game drive to see the “Alpenglühen” which is when the sun letting mountains look like they are glowing. Or you spend time in the lodge compound looking for birds.

Sarova Shaba Lodge, full board

Day 8 – Shaba – Samburu National Reserve

Accompanied by a ranger you start your drive very early to the area where you can find the Kenya endemic birds William’s Lark (Mirafra williamsi) on black lava.

Other species you can find is the Eastern Yellow-billed Hornbill, Rosy-patched Bush-Shrike and many more.

For lunch you will check in at the lodge on the bank of Ewaso Nyiro River in Samburu National Reserve. Take a stroll in the compound which is full of birds.

Later in the afternoon enjoy your bird drive….

Sopa Samburu Lodge, full board

Day 9 – Samburu National Reserve

Check out the place where the crocodiles get fed. Often you find Hooded Vultures there picking left overs.

Morning and afternoon game drive, lunch and heat rest in the lodge. While searching for semi endemic birds like Donaldson’s-Smith Sparrow Weaver you will be very busy looking for the amazing bird life.

You will search for the many species along the Ewaso Nyiro River but also up on the stony hills overgrown with Acacia and Commiphora trees. You will see Samburu is full of life – mammals and birds.

Sopa Samburu Lodge, full board

Day 10 – Samburu – Suyian Conservancy
The tarmac road takes you up to Nanyuki where you branch to your right and follow a partly rough road passing private conservancies and cattle ranches. For lunch you will reach Suyian Soul. The lodge and the conservancy are managed by Anne Powys a well known botanist. I hope you will love this place as I (Elvira) do.

In the afternoon you can walk up to the rocks where you have good chances to find the Stone Partridge and Boran Cisticola.

During your stay you will decide how long the walks will be. But keep in mind some places are not accessible by car.

The huts are not fancy but comfortable and homely. Always keep your eyes open when you walk around since the amount of bird species is amazing.

Suyian Soul, full board

Day 11 + 12 Suyian Conservancy

There is a lot to encounter in the camp and further in the conservancy. Again you will move on foot and by car. There will also be time to relax at this quiet place. You sit at the terrace and watch birds, Striped and Unstriped Ground Squirrels, Smith’s Dikdik, Greater Kudus, Plain Zebras, Olive Baboons and others.

The clip of the Red-headed Weaver was made at this beautiful place.

In these 2 days you will visit the dam, the river, the rocks and you will see there is so much to see!

Suyian Soul, full board

Day 13 Suyian – Lake Elementaita
On a good tarmac road you drive through Rumuruti and Nakuru to follow the East African Highway for a short distance to Lake Elementaita. The view to the Lake and to the broken cater chimney called “Sleeping Warrior” is fantastic! You can also experience amazing sunsets.

You will reach around lunch time and spend the afternoon in and just outside the compound. Great White Pelicans and occasionally Greater Flamingos and Lesser Flamingos pass just in front of the lodge. Sometime a Crowned Hornbill or a rare Hemprich’s Hornbill visits the compound. A small distribution range has the Black-lored Babbler and here is one place to find it quite guaranteed. I (Elvira) found 93 bird species in 1.5 days!

Sentrim Elementaita Lodge, full board

Day 14 – Lake Elementaita – Kinangop – Nairobi

Near Naivasha town you ascend to high altitude grassland. This is the habitat of the endemic and endangered Sharpe’s Longclaw. A local guide will assist in finding it. But also have an eye for other birds around. Winding Cisticola and Levaillant’s Cisticola are 2 of them.

You will have picnic lunch with you so you have sufficient time. From here you will head directly to Jomo Kenyatta international Airport. If you wish we organise a dayroom for you at Four Points by Sheraton.

You have the choice who will guide you on this

Exciting endemic birds Kenya 14 days birders dream safari:

Landcruisers are mandatory on this tour – Minibusses are not suitable for some areas you will visit

  • You will be driven by an experienced driver/guide who knows some birds and you will identify by yourselves
  • A driver/guide with good ornithological knowledge will drive and guide you
    Additionally to your driver/guide a local ornithological guide will show and identify birds during the whole tour. This is for sure the way to see the most species
  • Or you would like to learn about birds and photography then Lorenzo Barelli will be your guide

Our published tours give you ideas. Endemic birds Kenya 14 days – birders dream safari can be done the way we describe it here but we gladly adjust the itinerary to your specific wishes. 

Do you have a dream bird or a bird you would love to see? let us know and we take you where you can find it

Sharpes Longclaw
Sharpe's Longclaw
Vulturine Guineafowl
Vulturine Guineafowl