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Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Ruanda are some of the best birding countries due to the various habitats. The Indian Ocean, coastal areas partly forested to savannahs, semi-deserts, deserts, mountain forests, alpine/moorland, fresh water and soda lakes, rivers, glaciers and rainforests provide a huge range of different biotopes and are responsible for the big variety of bird species. Currently more than 1.400 registered species occur in East Africa. Among them are around 100 migratory birds from Eurasia, others are Intra African migrants but many are permanent residents. You find little brown birds, very colourful species and majestic vultures and eagles. Parks and sanctuaries have between 300 and over 550 registered bird species. East Africa is a paradise for ornithologists. But also non birders will be fascinated by some of the impressive birds.

Many species are spread in many regions, but several are endemic and only occur in small ranges.
We as the specialists know where to find them.

Species are listed according to families. The book “Birds of Africa South of the Sahara” served as guideline.

Pictures taken by Elvira Wolfer, Lorenzo Barelli (Photographer and birding tour leader) and clients




Evergreen Forest Warbler


Evergreen Forest Warbler (Bradypterus lopezi usambarae)
lives in dense forest in East Africa. Photo Lorenzo Barelli




Cinnamon Bracken Warbler


Little Rush Warbler




Cinnamon Bracken Warbler (Bradypterus cinnamomeus) is found in different locations in East Aftica up to Aethiopia in various biotopes. Photo Lorenzo Barelli


Little Rush Warbler (Bradypterus baboecala tongensis) flies quickly
out of the reed uttering a unique sound and wing-snapping just to go
hiding again. Local in Kenya and Tanzania, more frequent further South.




White-winged Swamp Warbler






White-winged Swamp Warbler (Bradypterus carpalis) is
found in papyrus swamp at Lake Victoria. Photo Lorenzo Barelli


Sedge Warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus) is recognised by its black markings on the back and the wide eyebrow. From November to April is found in wetlands with vegetation cover South of the Sahara.




African Reed Warbler


Great Reed Warbler




African Reed (Marsh) Warbler (Acrocephalus baeticatus) lives
in reeds and sedges at various places in Africa. Photo Lorenzo Barelli


Great Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus arundinaceus) spends from
October to April in Reed in most parts of Africa. Photo Lorenzo Barelli




Basra Reed Warbler






Basra Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus griseldis) stays from
November to April in Central Kenya to East Tanzania


Lesser Swamp Warbler (Acrocephalus gracilirostris) is found
in wetlands from Central Kenya, around Lake Victoria to Tanzania.
Subspecies parvus from Central Kenya to Northern Tanzania.




Greater Swamp Warbler






Greater Swamp Warbler (Acrocephalus rufescens ansorgei)
is found in Papyrus at Lake Victoria. Photo Lorenzo Barelli


Upcher’s Warbler (Hippolais languida) is a palearctic migrant that can
be found in Eastern and Northeastern Africa from November to April.




Eastern Olivaceous Warbler






Eastern Olivaceous Warbler (Iduna pallida) occurs in
dry forests from East to Western Africa. Photo Lorenzo Barelli


Dark-capped Yellow Warbler (Iduna natalensis massaica).
Locally uncommon in leafy vegetation in Kenya and Tanzania.




Mountain Yellow warbler






Mountain Yellow Warbler (Iduna similis) can be found
between 1.850 to 3.000 m at forest edges. Aberdare NP


Willow Warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus) searches
for insects South of the Sahara from October to April.




Common Chiffchaff


Yellow-throated Woodland Warbler




Common Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita) visits part of
Kenya and Sahelzone during the Northwinter. Photo Lorenzo Barelli


Yellow-throated Woodland Warbler (Seicercus ruficapilla minullus) lives
in evergreen forests in Eastern parts of Africa.
Photo Lorenzo Barelli




Uganda Woodland Warbler


Btrown Woodland Warbler




Uganda Woodland Warbler (Seicercus budongoensis) lives in
forests in Western Kenya and in Uganda.
Photo Lorenzo Barelli


Brown Woodland Warbler (Seicercus umbrovirens mackenzianus) is
endemic to Northeastern Africa - mountain forests.
Photo Lorenzo Barelli










Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla dammholzi) can be met from Central to Western Kenya and parts of Tanzania from October to early April. It is a migrant from the cold North and finds here insects. The female has a brown reddish cap. Photo Marina Meger


Common Whitethroat (Sylvia communis) is locally common
from October - April in dry areas in many countries in Africa.
Photo Lorenzo Barelli










Garden Warbler (Sylvia borin) spends the European winter in many
countries of Africa. This a 1st year bird from Eastern Europe.


Banded Warbler (Parisoma) (Sylvia boehmi). Fairly common
in acacia savanna of Kenya and in Eastern part of Tanzania.






Brown Parisoma (Sylvia lugens jacksoni) has small distribution areas
in East Africa. They are found high up on Yellow-barked and Flat-top
Acacias searching for insects. Thinly distributed and often in pairs.










Red-faced Cisticola (Cisticola erythrops) is local in Kenya
and Tanzania in rank undergrowths near water.


Singing Cisticola (Cisticola cantans pictipennis) occours in Kenya’s highlands, Western parts and  Northern Tanzania in different subspecies. They have a pleasant song and are mostly hidden by bushes where they look for insects.










Chubb’s Cisticola (Cisticola c.chubbi).
Westkenya. Kakamega.


Hunter’s Cisticola (Cisticola hunteri) occurs from Central to
Westkenya and very Northwest Tanzania above 2.400 m in
tall grass and forest edges. They like singing in groups. Aberdares




Short-winged Cisticola


Tiny Cisticola




Short-winged (Siffling) Cisticola (Cisticola brachypterus reichenowi)
occurs from Somalis to Tanzania.
Photo Lorenzo Barelli


Tiny Cisticola (Cisticola nana) lives in dry and semi arid areas.
Photo Lorenzo Barelli






Boran Cisticola




Rattling Cisticola (Cisticola chiniana).
Widespread in Kenya and Tanzania.


Boran Cisticola (Cisticola b.bodessa) occurs in dry Northern
areas of Kenya and further in Ethiopia. Photo Lorenzo Barelli






Wailing Cisticola




Ashy Cisticola (Cisticola cinereolus). Locally common
in dry areas, mainly east of Rift Valley.


Wailing Cisticola (Cisticola lais) likes rocky
hillcrops in various parts of Africa. Photo Lorenzo Barelli







Levaillant's Cisticola


Carruther's Cisticola




Levaillant’s (Tinklin) Cisticola (Cisticola tinniens) likes
reedbeds in Kenya und further South. Photo Lorenzo Barelli


Carruthers’s Cisticola (Cisticola carruthersi) is found
in papyrus around Lake Victoria. Photo Lorenzo Barelli




Coastal Cisticola






Coastal Cisticola (Cisticola haematocephala) occurs only within
a small band along the Kenyan and a bit North Eastern Tanzania.


Winding Cisticola (Cisticola marginatus) is wide spread in less
dry areas of East Africa. Often near water. The other subspecies
do not have a streaked crown.










Croaking Cisticola (Cisticola natalensis) is uncommon and
local in open wooded habitats and tall grass with shrubs. Masai Mara.


Aberdare Cisticola (Cisticola aberdare) are endemic to
the Aberdares and surrounding highlands above 2.300 m.










Stout Cisticola (Cisticola robustus) occurs in several
African countries in grassland with scattered bushes.


Desert Cisticola (Cisticola aridulus tanganyika). Widespread
in different subspecies in Africa on short dry grass plains.




Zitting Cisticola


Pectoral-patch Cisticola




Zitting (Fan-tailed) Cisticola (Cisticola juncidis) occurs in
Africa, Europe, India in different subspecies. Photo Lorenzo Barelli


Pectoral-patch Cisticola (Cisticola brunnescens hindii) is found in Kenyan
and Tanzanian Highland West of the Great Rift Valley. Photo Lorenzo Barelli






BlackThroated Apalis




Black-collared Apalis (Apalis p.pulchra). Fairly common
in Kenyan highland forests. Photo Lorenzo Barelli


Black-throated Apalis (Apalis j. jacksoni) lives in
mountain forest canopies.
Photo Fabian Krokan




Gelbbrust Apalis2


Taita Apalis




Yellow-breasted Apalis (Apalis flavida). Common and widespread
in Africa in 3 subspecies. Depending on region greyish band
along yellow breast band or no marking in the yellow at all.


Taita Apalis (Apalis fuscigularis) is found in Taita Hills.
Critically endangered, habitat loss! Photo Lorenzo Barelli




Black-headed Apalis


GreyApalis mt Kenya




Black-headed Apalis (Apalis m. melanocephala)
is found in coastal forests.
Photo Lorenzo Barelli


Grey Apalis (Apalis cinerea) is a very active bird of highland forest
canopy in Kenya and Tanzania, local.




Chestnut-throated Apalis


Tawny flanked prinia




Chestnut-throated Apalis (Apalis porphyrolaema porphyrolaema)
is found in montane forests in East Africa.
Photo Lorenzo Barelli


Tawny-flanked prinia (Prinia subflava melanorhyncha).
Widespread in rather drier areas in Africa.




Pale Prinia


Banded Prinia




Pale Prinia (Prinia somalica) is found from Central to
Northkenya in dry open bush land
. Photo Lorenzo Barelli


Banded Prinia (Prinia bairdii) is found at forest edges
from Kakamega Forest further West.
Photo Lorenzo Barelli




White_Chinned Prinia






White-chinned Prinia (Schistolais leucopogon reichenowi). This
subspecies occurs from Western Kenya to DRC. Photo Marina Meger, Uganda


Buff-bellied Warbler (Phyllolais pulchella) occurs
in savanna with acacia trees in Kenya and Tanzania.




Red-fronted Warbler






Red-fronted Warbler (Urorhipis rufifrons smithi)
occurs in dry acacia woodland. Photo Lorenzo Barelli


Grey-capped Warbler (Eminia lepida) occurs in dense
vegetation from Central Kenya to around Lake Victoria.




Turner's Eremomela






Turner’s Eremomela (Eremomela t.turneri) only exists at
Kakamega Forest and Nandi Hills. Endangered. Photo Lorenzo Barelli


Yellow-bellied Eremomela (Eremomela icteropygialis abdominalis).
Uncommon in open bushland in East Africa below 1.900 m.




Green-capped Eremomela






Green-capped Eremomela (Eremomela scotops citriniceps) lives in broad leafed
forests from Western Kenya, Uganda to Western Tanzania.
Photo Lorenzo Barelli


Grey-backed camaroptera (Camaroptera brevicaudata abessinica).
Widespread in Africa.






Black-faced Rufous Warbler




Grey Wren-Warbler (Calamonastes simples). Widespread in Kenya and
in a smaller area in Northern Tanzania. It has a very conspicious behaviour,
hopping around in bushes, tail up and calling chup chup chup.


Black-faced Rufous Warbler (Bathmocercus rufus vulpinus) occurs
in dense vegetation in Westkenya and further West.
Photo Lorenzo Barelli






African moustached Warbler (Melocichla m. mentalis). Uncommon in riverside vegetation. South-East Kenya, around Lake Victoria and Southern Tanzania. Shy but vocal during mating season.

Family: Macrosphenidae - African Warblers










Northern Crombec (Sylvietta brachyura). Fairly common
in dry open woodland East to West Africa.


Red-Faced Crombec (Sylvietta whytii jacksoni).
Fairly common and widespread in open woodland and bush.