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Kenya records high number of bird species

By Caroline Chebet | May 18th 2021
Titus Chepkangor watches birds at Kapsoi Birdwatching cliffs near Lake Baringo. The cliffs host over 370 bird species and supports Lake Baringo's rich birdlife as an Important Bird Area. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

Kenya is among the top countries in the world recording a high number of bird species.

During the Global Big Day that was marked across the globe, a total of 810 bird species were sighted by Kenyan bird watchers who on May 8 recorded their results to the eBird application.

The Global Big Day is a bi-annual celebration of birds around the world and is marked in May and October each year. It is celebrated alongside Migratory Bird Day.

Peru, Columbia and Ecuador topped the global list, recording the highest number of species. Peru took the first position after recording 1,351 bird species while Columbia recorded 1,183 and Ecuador 1,112 bird species.

According to the website, Kenya recorded higher species compared to Mexico, which recorded 772 while Venezuela and Argentina recorded 752 and 750, respectively. In the region, Tanzania took the second position having recorded 569 bird species as South Africa and Zambia recorded 505 and 431, respectively.

“During this period, most birds are moving to Europe and Asia to breed, a reason why there are fewer migrant birds but during the next Global Big Day in October, we will have a stronger list with more sightings of migrant birds escaping the winter,” Richard Kipng'eno, a bird expert at Nature Kenya, said.

Masai Mara was the first in the country with 246 bird species recorded while Soysambu Conservancy ranked second with 238 species. Malewa Wildlife Lodge came third after recording 205 species while Nairobi National Park recorded 195 bird species. In Lewa Conservancy, 176 species were recorded.

Rift Valley region tops as the country’s bird hotspot with 576 species having been recorded.  The Coast region ranks second with 350 species and Central region third with 312 species while Eastern and Nairobi regions recorded 312 and 258, respectively.

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Birders including James Kuria, Kipng'eno and Virginia Wanjiru recorded bird species listed under ‘Nairobi Rare Bird Alert’. The rare birds are African Grey parrots, small buttonquail, dwarf bittern and black-throated barbet.  


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