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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










African Hoopoe (Upupa epops). Widespread from East to South Arica.

Grant’s wood hoopoe (Phoeniculus (damarensis) granti).
Local in river forests east of Rift Valley.





White-headed Wood-hoopoe



Green wood-hoopoe (Phoeniculus purpureus).
Widespread in Africa.

White-headed wood-hoopoe (Phoeniculus bollei) occurs in forest in Westkenya and Uganda. Photo Lorenzo Barelli, Kakamega Forest










Abyssinian scimitarbill (Rhinopomastus minor cabanisi)
is widespread below 1,400 m. Feeding on beetles and larvae.


Common Scimitarbill (Rhinopormastus cyanomelas)
can be found in areas with trees from East to Westafrica.










Giant kingfishers (Megaceryle m. maxia) are better camouflaged and more difficult to find than the pied kingfisher. Females (picture left)
have the upper part of the chest speckled, males the lower part. Widespread near water in Africa, but not very often to be seen.










A Pied kingfisher (Ceryle r.rudis)  Male with slightly broken thicker band and thinner line below. Widespread at waters in Africa.



African Dwarf Kingfisher



African Dwarf-Kingfisher (Ispidina lecontei) occurs from
Western Uganda to West Africa. Photo Marina Meger, Murchison Falls

African Pygmy Kingfisher (Ispidina picta) is widespread
in Africa in various habitats. He mainly feeds on insects.






The small Malachite kingfisher (Alcedo cristata galerita)
is a  wanted object by photographers, but not that easy to get
 It catches small fish and insects near lake shores. Widespread in Africa.








Grey-headed kingfishers (Halcyon l. leucocephala)
are widely distributed throughout Africa.

Woodland kingfischer (Halcyon s.senegalensis).
Widespread in Africa






 This the Brown-hooded kingfischer (Halcyon albiventris orientalis)
which occurs in woodland and savannas from Kenya further South.
The picture is taken in Shimba Hills National park.

Mangrove kingfisher (Halcyon senegaloides) is found
in mangrove forests along the Indian Ocean coast.
Photo Fabian Krokan The last 4 species are easily confused.





Chocolate backed kingfisher





Striped kingfisher (Halcyon c. chelicuti)
can be met in open woodland in Africa.

Chocolate-backed Kingfisher (Halcyon badia). Occurs from
Western Uganda to West Africa. Photo Marina Meger, Murchison Falls










Broad-billed Roller (Eurystomus glaucurus suahelicus).
Uncommen in wooded areas in Africa
. Ruma NP

Rufous-crowned or Purple Roller (Coracias n. naevia).
Widespread in Africa but uncommon in dry bush and woodland.










Eurasian roller (Coracias g. garrulus)
a common palearctic migrant.

Lilac-breasted rollers (Coracias caudata) feed
on everything fitting into their throat. They are much
loved by photographers. Widespread in Africa.










Blue-headed Bee-eater (Merops m.muelleri).
Kakamega and South Nandi forests as well as further West.

Little Bee-eater (Merops pusillus cyanostictus).
Widespread in Africa.










Somali bee-eater (Merops revoilii). Local in arid and
semi-arid parts in North and Northeast Kenya. Photo Lorenzo Barelli

Cinnamon-breasted bee-eater (Merops oreobates). Central to Southern Kenya, Northern Tanzania and Rwanda. Young have a greenish chest. 










White-throated bee-eater (Merops albicollis)
is a migrant from the northern tropics.

Blue-cheeked bee-eater (Merops p. persicus) is a palearctic
migratory bird to be found in East Africa from October till early April.





Northern carmine bee eater





White-fronted bee-eater (Merops b. bullockoides) breed in holes
in the soil. Locally common in East Africa and further South.

Northern carmine bee-eater (Merops nubicus)
is a local migrant from East to Westafrica.










Madagascar Bee-eater (Merops s.superciliosus).
Intra African migrant. Gut zu finden am Baringosee oder im Meru NP.

European bee-eater (Merops apaster) escapes
spends the Northern winter in Africa.






Swallowtail bee eater





Red-throated bee-eater (Merops bulocki frenatus). This subspecies is found
in Northwestern Uganda and neighbouring countries. Photo Marina Meger, Uganda

Swallow-tailed Bee-eater (Merops hirundineus). Can be found in East
Africa in Uganda and Southern Tanzania. Photo Claudio Comolli, Uganda