Although Masai Mara is not an obvious choice for birding in Kenya, it is home to some of the best birding hotspots in the world. It is a good destination for ornithological tours with over 500 bird species many being raptor species.

Abdim’s Stork (Ciconia abdimii)

Abdim’s stork is also known as the white-billed stork and is the smallest of all storks. It has grey long legs, red knees, and feet, and a grey bill. It has red facial skin next to the eye and during the breeding season, it has blue skin near the bill. It is a common species and can easily be seen in some parts of Masai Mara.

African Darter (Anhinga rufa)

The African Darters are large, slim water birds that measure about 80 cm in length including their long rounded tails. They only swim with only their neck above water. They have very long and sharp beaks which they use to spear their slippery fish prey. They are endemic to tropical Sub-Saharan Africa where they are typically found in or near bodies of both alkaline and fresh water. Mostly found in Lake Baringo and Masai Mara.

African Grey Hornbill (Tockus nasutus)

African grey hornbill is the smaller hornbill species of the hornbill family. It is a widespread resident breeder in much of Sub- Saharan Africa. They mostly feed on insects, fruits, and reptiles.

African Fish Eagle (Haliaeetus vocifer)

African fish eagle is a large species of eagle that is found throughout Sub-Saharan Africa in large bodies that have an abundant food supply. The adult is very distinctive in appearance with a mostly brown body a white head and large powerful black wings. The head, breast, and tail are snow white, except the featherless face which is yellow. Mostly found in Lake Baringo and Masai Mara National Reserve.

African Harrier Hawk (Polyboroides typus)

African Harrier Hawk is a medium-sized raptor. The upper parts, head, and breast are pale grey. The belly is white with fine dark barring. The broad wings are pale grey with a black trailing edge fringed with a narrow white line. The tail is black with a single broad white band. Sexes are similar but young birds have pale brown instead of grey and dark brown replacing black. It can be found in natural woodland, tree plantations, and urban areas. Beat places to spot these birds are Lake Nakuru and Masai Mara National Reserve.

African Openbill Stork (Anastomus lamelligerus)

The African openbill is a species of stork in the family of Ciconiidae. It is 80-94 cm long with a weight of 1-1.3 kg. its adult plumage is generally dark overall with glossy green, brown, and purple on the mantle and breast. The bill is brownish and notably large. The legs are black and the eye is grey. The juvenile plumage is more dull and brown with areas of pale feather tips. They feed on aquatic snails and freshwater mussels.

African Spoonbill (Platalea alba)

African spoonbill is a long-legged wading bird. Its body is predominantly white, except for its red legs, and bill. It can be easily recognized by its unique spoon-shaped bill. Both male and female birds are similar in appearance. Its diet consists of fish, aquatic invertebrates, insects, larvae, and mollusks.

African White-Backed Vulture (Gyps Africanus)

African white-backed vulture is the most common large vulture in Africa. It has a grey neck with a collar of white feathers at the top of its other plumage in various shades of grey. They feed mostly on carcasses and bone fragments. They are highly social and diurnal and can be found in East African Parks and reserves, Masai Mara is one of them.

Bateleur (Terathopius ecaudatus)

 The Bateleur is a medium-sized, short-tailed, and colorful species of eagle. Its closest relatives are the snake eagles.

Black Chested Snake Eagle (Circaetus pectoralis)

Black-chested snake eagle is a large African bird of prey of the family Accipitridae. It is widespread in lightly wooded areas of Kenya, but not commonly spotted. Feeds on snakes, lizards, and bats. It is easily identified by its dark brown head and chest owing to its name.

Black-Headed Heron (Ardea melanocephala)

It is also known as the black-shouldered kite. It is a small diurnal bird of prey in the family of Accipitridae. They are found in open grassland and can be spotted in Masai Mara Samburu Reserve and others.

Coqui Francolin (Francolinus coqui)

 The Coqui francolin is a species of bird in the family Phasianidae. Mainly found in Africa’s southern half but is also sparsely present in the western Sahel and Ethiopia. It is the most widespread francolin in Africa and can be found in Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya.

Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiacus)

The Egyptian Goose is very common in Masai Mara, Kenya. It feeds on grass, seeds, and leaves. Occasionally it will eat locusts, worms, or other small animals.

Fischer’s Sparrow Lark (Eremopterix leucopareia)

Fischer’s sparrow lark is a species of passerine bird in the family Alaudidae. This inconspicuous dull colored bird is found on short grass plains and its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical dry lowland grassland. Can be spotted at Nairobi National Park and Northern Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya.

Green Wood Hoopoe (Phoeniculus purpureus)

The Green Wood Hoopoe is large, up to 44cm long, near a passerine tropical bird native to Africa. formally known as the red-billed wood hoopoe. It feeds mostly on the ground, termite mounds, or on tree trunks and forms flocks outside the breeding season. Commonly found in Lake Baringo and Masai Mara, Kenya.

Grey-Headed Kingfisher (Halcyon leucocephala)

The Grey-headed kingfisher lives in dry woodlands, usually near a river or lake, and can be found throughout Africa. It hunts primarily for lizards.

Grey Kestrel (Falco ardosiaceus)

The Grey kestrel is an African bird of prey belonging to the falcon family Falcinidae. It is a fairly small, stocky kestrel with a large, flat-topped head and fairly short wings that don’t reach past the tip of the tail when at rest. It inhabits savannas, open woodland, and forest clearings and can be found in Masai Mara, Kenya.


Hamerkop (Scopus umbretta)

Hamerkop is a medium-sized wading bird found primarily in Africa. It has a brown plumage and hints of iridescent purple on its back. The tail is faintly barred with darker brown. The bird prefers wetland habitats and they are abundant around their habitat.

Hadeda Ibis (Bostrychia hagedash)

Hadeda, also known as Hadada named for its loud three to four-note calls uttered in flight, especially in the mornings and evenings when they fly. They are medium-sized with stout legs and a typical down-curved bill, the wing coverts are iridescent with a green or purple sheen. Can be found in African countries and throughout open grasslands, savanna, and wetlands as well as urban parks and large gardens.

Kori Bustard (Ardeotis kori)

The Kori bustard is the largest flying bird native to Africa. They are opportunistic omnivores that are common in Kenya, particularly in Masai Mara and much of Africa in open semi-arid or seasonally dry habitats.

Lappet Faced Vulture (Torgos tracheliotus)

Lappet-faced vulture sometimes called the Nubian vulture is a huge species ranking as the longest and largest winged vulture in its range behind the closely related cinereous vulture. It prefers to live in dry savannah, arid plains, deserts with scattered trees, and open mountain slopes. It is found in most of Kenya’s parks and reserves including the Masai Mara National Reserve.

Lilac Breasted Roller (Coracias caudate)

Lilac-breasted rollers are a common sight on tree tops in many of Kenya’s national parks. They are African members of the roller family of birds. Widely distributed in Sub-Saharan Africa and prefers open woodland and savannah. They feed on insects, small rodents, and lizards.

Marabou Stork (Leptopilos crumeniferus)

Marabou stork is a large wading, an unusual-looking bird with hollow legs and toe bones and is bald. They are bare, and dull and have a red spotted head with long black legs. They are mainly dark grey on top and white below. Mainly feed on carrion and scraps.

Martial Eagle (Polemaetus bellicosus)

The Martial Eagle is Africa’s largest eagle with a wingspan that stretches up to 2.75m. They are nothing short of spectacular, with a captivating pair of bright yellow eyes, a slate grey back, and chest, a white belly with black speckles, and enormous feet with 6 cm hidden talons. They are residents of Africa’s savannah grassland and can be spotted in Masai Mara, Kenya.

Ostrich (Struthio camelus)

 The very distinct and instantly identifiable is the largest living bird. It is widely distributed throughout the savannah plains in Kenya and is commonly seen in the southern parks and reserves. Ostrich is classified in the ratite group of birds, all extant species of which are flightless, including the kiwis, emus, and rheas.

Rufous Naped Lark (Mirafra africana)

The rufous naped lark also called rufous naped bush lark is a widespread and conspicuous species of lark in slightly wooded grasslands, open savannas, and farmlands of the Afrotropics. They have consistently rufous outer wings and a short erectile crest but the remaining plumage hues and markings are individually and geographically variable. They can be spotted in Kenyan highlands and Masai Mara National Reserve.

Ruppell’s Vulture (Gyps rueppellii)

The Ruppell’s vulture is a large vulture that can be found throughout the Sahel region of central Africa. It holds the record as the highest-flying bird in the world with a wingspan of 8 feet. They feed on the hides and bones of a carcass.

Secretary bird (Sagittaruis serpentaria)

The secretary bird is a very large, mostly terrestrial bird of prey. Easily recognized by its eagle-like body on crane-like legs with a hooked bill and rounded wings. It is usually found in the open grassland and savannah of the sub-Saharan region. These birds can be spotted in some parts of Masai Mara, Kenya.

Southern Masked Weaver (Ploceus velatus)

The southern masked weaver is found in a wide range of habitats including shrublands, savannah grassland, open woodland, inland, wetlands, and semi-desert areas. These birds are commonly spotted on top of trees in many of Kenya’s parks and reserves.

Speckled Mousebird (Colius striatus)

The speckled mousebird is the largest species of mousebird as well as one of the most commonly found. It is an active and playful-seeming bird with a very long tail and the alert crest makes them fun to watch.

Spotted Thick Knee (Burhinus capensis)

The spotted thick-knee reaches up to 45cm in height, has long legs, and brown and white speckled plumage which provides camouflage making it difficult to spot the bird in the grasslands and savannahs where it roams. It is nocturnal and squats on the ground during the daytime making it difficult to spot. It hunts exclusively on the ground feeding on insects, small mammals, and lizards. Can be spotted in Masai Mara, Kenya.


Striped Kingfisher (Halcyon chelicuti)

The striped kingfisher is common in the dry bush and open woodlands, especially around Masai Mara. It is the smallest and least colorful of the non-aquatic kingfishers. It is so hard to spot.

Superb Starling (Lamprotornis superbus)

The superb starlings are very conspicuous birds of open disturbed habitats. Commonly found in East Africa including Masai Mara, Kenya. They have colorful bodies punctuated with a white breast band.

Usambiro Barbet (Trachyphonus usambiro)

Usambiro barbet is a subspecies of bird in the African barbet family Lybiidae. It is found in southern Kenya and northern Tanzania. The species inhabits open areas including savannah grassland, shrubland, and pastures. Mainly feed on seeds, fruits, and a wide range of insects.

Vulturine Guineafowl (Acryllium vulturinum)

The vulturine guinea fowl is a stunning bird with a gorgeous body and a typically homely-looking bald head.  It is the largest extant species of guinea fowl and has longer wings, necks, legs, and tails than other guinea fowls. It feeds on seeds, worms, and insects. Commonly found in Kenya’s parks and reserves.

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