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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



Klaas Kuckuck



Klaas’s Cuckoo (Chrysococcyx klaas). Widespread
and common in woodland and forest edges.

The male right is bringing caterpillars to the
female on the left. Courtship feeding.






Juvenile Klaas Cuckoo. They parasite sunbirds
and members of the Sylviidae family.

Diederik Cuckoo (Chrysococcyx caprius).
Common and widespread in dry woodland, savanna and bush.



Jacobiner Kuckuck



African Emerald Cuckoo (Chrysococcyx cupreus). Widespread in
highland canopies in Africa. Vocal but rarely seen. Photo Lorenzo Barelli

Black and white or Jacobin Cuckoo (Oxylophus jacobinus).
Widespread intra-African migrant following rain.






Great spotted Cuckoo (Clamator glandarius)
fairly common intra-African migrant.

Red-chested Cuckoo (Cuculus s. solitarius) calls "it will rain",
but to see him is rare. Widespread in Africa.



African Cuckoo

Black Cuckoo



African Cuckoo (Cuculus gularis) is found in savannas
and woodlands in many parts of Africa. Photo Lorenzo Barelli

Black Cuckoo (Cuculus clamosus). Widespread in
Africa and areas with trees. Photo Lorenzo Barelli



Eurasian cuckoo



Eurasian (common) Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus) widespread
but scarce Palearctic migrant. Foto Lorenzo Barelli, Tsavo West

The call of the Tiputip or White-browed coucal (Centropus
superciliosus) sounds like pouring water out of a bottle.
Widespread in Africa.



Blue-headed Coucal




Blue-headed Coucal (Centropus monachus) in
swampy areas in Western Kenya. Photo Lorenzo Barelli

Black Coucal (Centropus grilli) is the smallest amoung the coucals.
It migrates with rains and can be seen from the coast to around
Lake Vitoria to Southwest Tanzania. Photo
Axel Köhler






African Wood Owl (Strix woodordii) is quite wide
spread in forests and woodlands in Africa.

Barn Owl (Tyto alba) is widespread in Africa
but rare to see. Meserani Snake Park, Arusha






Pel’s Fishing-Owl (Scotopelia peli) only occurs in a few and small areas
in Kenya and Tanzania as well as in other parts of Africa. Due to its specially
scaled fangs it can catch slippery fishes and frogs. This large owl can prey on
fishes up to 2 kg. Photo Lorenzo Barelli, Meru Nationalpark

Verraux’s eagle-owl (Bubo lacteus) is the largest owl Kenya’s.
Widespread in Africa.






This subspecies of the Cape-Eagle owl (Bubo capensis mackinderi)
occurs in the Mount Kenya region. Luckily some landowners
protect their breeding places in the Aberdare Range.

Spotted Eagle-Owl (Bubo africanus).
Widespread from Central Kenya to Southern Africa.



Greyish Eagle Owl

Greyish Eagle-Owl (Bubo cenerascens) rare in dry areas.
Photo Lorenzo Barelli, Baringo



Southern WhiteFaced Scopsowl



Northern White-faced Scops Owl (Ptilopsis leucotis) is uncommon in dry
country and acacia bush land from Central - Northern Kenya to Westafrica.

Southern White-faced Scops Owl (Ptilopsis granti) is uncommon in
dry country and acacia bush land from Central Kenya, coast,
Tanzania and further South and West. Photo Doris Schaule, Kenyan coast



African Scops Owl
Sokoke scops owl



African Scops Owl (Otus senegalensis senegalensis). Despite wide spread
it is hard to track the well camouflaged, 20 cm tall and 100 g weighing owl.

Sokoke Scops-owl (Otus ireneae) occurs only in Kenya in Arabuko Sokoke
forest and East Usambara Mountains in Tanzania. Photo Lorenzo Barelli



Montane Nightjar



Pearl-spotted Owlet (Glaucidium perlatum) has a very distinctive call.
Widespread in Africa preferring drier acacia bush land.

Montane (abyssinian) Nightjar (Caprimulgus poliocephalus) is mainly in
Central Kenya from 1.500 - 3.000 m. Familie Caprimulgidae







Eurasian Nightjar (Caprimulus europaeus) is widespread in Africa from
October till April when it spends the Eurasian winter in warmer climate.
It is silent in Africa and can be found roosting on trees.

Swamp (Natal) Nightjar (Caprimulgus natalensis) is found in several parts in
Africa. In East Africa it occurs in Western Kenya and Uganda. Photo Fabian Krokan



Slender tailed nightjar

Dusky Nightjar



Slender-tailed Nightjar (Caprimulgus clarus). Occurs from Central
to Northern Kenya and Ethiopia. They are hard to detect, but
the guides at Lake Baringo know where to find them.

Dusky Nightjar (Caprimulgus fraenatus). Occurs in dry bushland
in some parts of Kenya, Aethiopia, Northern Tanzania and Somalia.



Donaldson-Smith's Nightjar

Donaldon-Smith’s Nightjar (Caprimulgus donaldsoni) is found
in semi-deserts in Kenya and Somalia.  Photo Lorenzo Barelli



Scarce Swift
Horus Swift



Scarce Swift (Schoutedenapus myoptulus) occurs from
Rwanda, Uganda, West to Southern Kenya. Photo Lorenzo Barelli

Horus Swift (Apus horus) migrates in Africa.
Photo Lorenzo Barelli



White-rumped Swift



Little Swift (Apus a.affinis) build nests often under
roofs of buildings. While hunting for insects in large flocks
they utter a high pitched sound. Widespread in Africa.

White-rumped Swift (Apus caffer) is widespread in
Africa. Often flies near water. Photo Lorenzo Barelli



Nyanza Swift
African Palm Swift



Nyanza Swift (Apus niansae) in large flocks near rocky
areas up to 2.800 m in Kenya. Photo Lorenzo Barelli

African Palm Swift (Cypsiurus parvus) are wide spread in Africa
but mostly in vicinity of palm trees. The nests are glued to palm leaves.



Mottled Spinetail



Mottled Spinetail (Telacanthura ussheri) breeds mostly in holes in
Baobabs from West to East and Southern Africa. Photo Lorenzo Barelli

White-headed mousebird (Colius leucocephalus turneri)
occur from Tsavos to Samburu and Shaba as well as further North.






Speckled mousebird (Colius striatus kikuyuensis)
kreep and sound like mice. Widespread in Africa.

Blue-naped mousebird (Urocolius macrourus) is widespread
from East to West Africa and can be found in dry bush land.



Narina Trogon female



Narina Trogon (Apaloderma narina) is found in forested areas in
Kenya and Tanzania from sea level up to 3000 m. In the picture is
a male, the female has a grey-brown chest. Photo Lorenzo Barelli, Mount Kenya

Narina Trogon (Apaloderma narina), female. Masai Mara