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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






Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis capensis).
Breeding adult. Widespread in Africa.

White-tailed Tropicbird (Phaethon lepturus) is the smalles among
the tropicbirds. It is a regular visitor to Pemba Island from August to
March and can be seen occasionally along EA coast. Photo Lorenzo Barelli






Great cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo lucidus).
Often to be found in large flocks on Rift Valley lakes .

African darter (Anghina rufa) has unfornately become rare.
Picture taken during a boat ride on Lake Baringo.






Long-tailed cormorant (Phalacrocorax a.africanus.
Widespread on freshwater lakes.

The Hamerkop’s name (Scopus u. umbretta) describes
the shape of his head. They build huge nests with twigs
on trees. Main diet is fish, frogs and tadpoles. Widespread.






Goliath heron (Ardea goliath) with a height of 1.40 m
is the biggest among herons. It occurs around most of the lakes and rivers.
It fishes in deeper water than other herons or egrets.

Purple heron (Ardea p. purpurea) is
widespread in Africa but rare to see.






Grey heron (Ardea c.cinerea).
Widespread in Africa.

Black-headed heron (Ardea melanocephala).
Widespread in Africa.






Yellow-billed or Intermediate Egret (Mesophoyx intermedia).
Is smaller and less frequent then Great Egret. Widespread in Africa.

Great white egret (Ardea alba melanorhynchos) catches
fish with its sharp-pointed bill. Widespread in Africa. During courting
season the bill turns black and for a short while the eye red.






Little egret (Egretta g. garzetta) use their yellow feet to chase small
creatures in the water to catch them with the sharp pointed bill. Widespread.

Cattle egret (Bubulcus i.ibis) is as it name says picking insects near
cattle and other grass eating mammals but also likes amphibians
and small rodents. Widespread in Africa.






Dimorphic Egret (Egretta dimorpha) wades along sea shores in front of Kenya and Tanzania. Dark and white form. Zanzibar.



Western Reef Heron

Madagascar Pond Heron



Western Reef Heron (Egretta gularis schistacea) is uncommon near Mida
Creek and other coastal areas and rare at Rift Valley lakes. Lake Turkana

Madagascar Pond Heron (Ardeola idae). Status vulnerable.
Photo Lorenzo Barelli, Nairobi






Black heron (Egretta ardesiaca) spreads its wings like an umbrealla to create shade which attracts fish. Widespread but not very often seen.



Rufous-bellied Heron



Squacco heron (Ardeola ralloides). Widespread in Africa.

Rufous-bellied Heron (Ardeola rufiventris). Status endangered.
Photo Lorenzo Barelli, Musiara Swamps, Masai Mara






Black-crowned night-heron (Nycticorax n. nycticorax).
Locally common in permanent wetlands.

Green-backed or Striated heron (Butorides striata atricapillus).
They are fairly common along coastal creeks and in well-watered
and vegetated areas in many parts of Africa.




Dwarf Bittern



Little Bittern (Ixobrychus minutus payesi). Widespread at
permanent marshes, but often hidden by vegetation.

Dwarf Bittern (Ixobrychus sturmii) is an uncommon
intra African migrant and found near lakes and ponds.