Birding in North Rift

The serious birdwatcher will be aware of LAKE BARINGO, as it is world famous as an ornithological paradise. The species list for the Lake and its environs is over 650. The tremendous variety of species is possible because of the diversity of habitats and eco-niches available in this warm, sunny, rocky valley that encloses a freshwater lake ----- a lake that lies, like a green jewel, cupped in the palm of an old man's hand.

NubianWpecker scrHowever, it is generally not known that the whole of the North Rift is a haven for bird life. When one includes the species of the Kerio Valley (e.g. Rimoi & Kamnarok), the highland forests (e.g. Nandi, Cherangany & Elgon), the montane moorlands (e.g. Cherangany & Elgon) and the inland sea that is Lake Turkana, the total species of birds must be well over 800.

One significant contributory factor to this diversity is the fact that the Great Rift is a migration corridor for palearctic species that winter in Africa. Some are passing through on their way to South Africa. Whether semi-resident or transient, these visitors are drawn to the lakes of the Rift --- particularly the freshwater lakes; less so to the alkaline lakes. Certain high altitude locations also seem to get significantl visitations by migrants ---- one such is the Kipsaos and Metkei Forest area at the head of the Kerio Valley. Possibly, these locations are where some birds find it convenient to take a rest. The migratory influx is October / November and the exodus is March / April. Migrating ducks include Common Teal, Garganey and Northern Pintail. Storks include White, Woolly-necked and Abdims . Amongst the birds of prey are Lesser Kestrel, European Honey Buzzard, Common (Steppe) Buzzard and Steppe Eagle.

Apart from Baringo and the Nandi forests, which are reasonably well and reliably documented,there is generally a lack of bird life information in other sub-regions of the North Rift, particularly in parts of the Kerio Valley, northwest Pokot and south Turkana .There is an opportunity here for dedicated "birders" to make a contribution to our knowledge database by recording sightings and, of course, where possible, taking pictures of unexpected or unusual species.

Species Check-list for Rimoi National Reserve

Species Check-list for Mount Elgon National Park

Species Check-list for Saiwa Swamp National Park