Birds of Masai Mara Guide

Masai Mara Birds

While delving into the diverse avian population of Masai Mara, I embarked on a quest to comprehend the migratory and resident bird species. To ensure compliance, we provided the authorities with documentation attesting that our Kambu Mara Camp did not obstruct any bird migratory routes. This marked the inception of a fascinating journey, unraveling the native bird species that call Mara their home, alongside the multitude of migratory species that grace its lands each year. Although not an ornithologist, my passion for birdwatching has flourished, prompting extensive research in the field.

Masai mara birds

The Masai Mara is a great place for birdwatching. There are nearly 500 different bird species, including 47 types of birds of prey. You can find birds in the trees, bushes, and flying in the sky. The birds vary in size, from the very large ostrich, which is the biggest bird in the world, to the small sunbirds, which can be difficult to see without binoculars.

Types of birds in Masai Mara;

  • Savannah Birds: These birds encompass a wide range of sizes, from the ostrich, which is the largest bird in the world, to small sunbirds that can be difficult to spot without the aid of binoculars or a magnifying glass. They are typically found in the savannah grasslands and open bush. These birds include vultures, eagles, buzzards, storks, warblers, orioles, and wagtails.
  • Forest Birds: Forest birds can be found in thickly wooded areas of the Mara such as riverine forests or riparian habitats. These areas provide a perfect home for species such as the Green-backed Woodpecker, White-eyed Slaty Flycatcher, and Red-bellied Sunbird.
  • Migratory Birds: Many birds from Europe and Asia migrate to the Mara during certain times of year for breeding or wintering, bringing with them a variety of new species to observe. These migratory birds include doves, cuckoos, swallows, and sandpipers.No matter the type of bird you are looking for, chances are that it can be found in the Mara.
  • Water birds: Water birds are common around the rivers and other wet areas of the Mara. These include ducks, geese, herons, kingfishers, cormorants, stilts, and terns.

Where to watch birds in the Mara:

My recommended spot for birdwatching is along River Mara and in the swamps located in Mara North Conservancy. You can also find birds in the grasslands, open bush, and acacia woodlands. If you’re lucky, you might even spot some of the rarer birds of prey such as the Martial Eagle or African Fish Eagle.

How many birds are in Masai Mara?

While I couldn’t find estimates of the total population of birds in Masai Mara, i was able to confirm that there are at least 470 bird species in the Mara with some sources claiming over 500 bird species. With 8 species of Storks, 15 species of Eagles, 5 species of Crakes, and a surprising 7 species of Owls, the Mara is a birdwatcher’s paradise. It’s also home to some rare and endangered species like the White-headed vulture and Jackson’s widowbird.

The conservatory estimates that the bird population in Masai Mara exceeds 2 million. However, it is challenging to definitively assert this number. Masai Mara is home to over 470 bird species, including river birds, grassland birds, migratory birds, resident birds, and birds of prey. With varied habitats and the difficulty in ascertaining the exact number of constantly moving birds, it’s safe to assume that the number might be much higher.

What are some common birds found in Masai Mara?

Some of the most common bird species found in Masai Mara include:

  • Vultures: With eight different species, vultures are a common sight in the Mara. These scavengers play an essential role in keeping the ecosystem clean by feeding on carcasses.
  • Eagles: The Mara is home to 14 different species of eagles, including the iconic African fish eagle.
  • Ostriches: As the largest bird in the world, ostriches can easily be spotted roaming around the grasslands in Masai Mara.
  • Sunbirds: These tiny and colorful birds are often seen flitting between flowers, feeding on nectar.
  • Starlings: With their striking plumage and melodic songs, starlings are a common sight in the Mara.
  • Secretary birds: These unique-looking birds with long legs and striped feathers can be seen stomping around the grasslands searching for prey.
  • Hornbills: With their large, curved beaks, hornbills are easily recognizable. They are found in both the forested and open areas of Masai Mara.
  • Flamingos: These large, pink birds are a spectacular sight in Masai Mara’s lakes, especially during the annual Great Migration when thousands of them flock together to feed on algae

When is the best time to watch birds in the Mara Reserve and Conservancies;

The best time to watch birds is during the wet season (November to April) when food sources are more abundant for both native and migrating birds. During this time, you will be able to see many species of waterfowl such as ducks, geese, herons, cormorants, and other wading birds.

List of birds in Masai Mara;

OSTRICH

GREBES

HERONS, EGRETS & BITTERNS

HAMERKOP & SHOEBILL

STORKS

IBISES & SPOONBILL

DUCKS & GEESE

SECRETARYBIRD

VULTURES

EAGLES, KITES, HARRIERS, HAWKS & RELATIVES

FALCONS & KESTRELS

QUAILS, BUTTONQUAILS, FRANCOLINS & GUINEAFOWL

RAILS, CRAKES, MOORHENS & COOT

CRANES & BUSTARDS

JACANA & STILT

THICK-KNEES::

COURSERS

PLOVERS, LAPWINGS & PAINTED SNIPE

SANDPIPERS & RELATIVES

TERNS

PIGEONS & DOVES

PARROTS::

TURACOS::

CUCKOOS & COUCALS

OWLS

NIGHTJARS

SWIFTS

MOUSEBIRDS

TROGONS

KINGFISHERS

BEE-EATERS

ROLLERS

HOOPOE & WOODHOOPOES

HORNBILLS

BARBETS & TINKERBIRDS

HONEYGUIDES

WOODPECKERS & WRYNECK

LARKS & SPARROW-LARKS

SWALLOWS & MARTINS

Book our birding safari:

We offer a custom birdwatching safari with guide trained in bird identification and conservation. Our main birding safari guide claims to have identified over 200 species of birds in the Mara ecosystem, including some of Africa’s rarest avian species. Please reach out if you are interested in our birding safari packages, we would love to welcome you and help introduce you to the wonderful birds of the Mara!

FAQs

What type of bird identification do you offer?

Our main birding safari guide is trained in both traditional visual identification as well as modern audio recordings – on advance request. He can help you identify different species by sight, sound, or even behavior.

Are there any birds that are hard to find in the Mara?

There are plenty of difficult-to-find species that can be seen in the Mara, such as the African Green Pigeon, Tambourine Dove, Emerald-spotted Wood-Dove, Blue-spotted Wood-Dove, Namaqua Dove, African Olive Pigeon and many more. The Mara also serves as a refuge for some of Africa’s rarest avian species.

How can I ensure the safety of the birds in the Mara?

We believe that it is our responsibility to ensure the protection and preservation of the bird species found in the Mara. We advise visitors to respect wildlife by keeping a safe distance and not disturbing them during their activities, especially nesting birds. Additionally, we do not condone any form of hunting of birds, and we strongly discourage the use of illegal bird trapping methods.

What other activities can I do to help protect the birds in the Mara?

Besides observing wildlife from a respectful distance and not disturbing them, there are many activities that visitors can participate in order to help conserve the ecosystem of the Mara. These include joining conservation efforts such as clean up drives, supporting local conservation initiatives, or even raising awareness about the importance of preserving this precious ecosystem and its inhabitants.

Are there any bird-watching clubs in the Mara?

Unfortunately, there are no official bird watching clubs in the Mara. However, if you’re interested in joining a group of other passionate birders, we recommend that you join an online birding community or forum to connect with like-minded enthusiasts from around the world.

Are there any guided tours for birds in the Mara?

Yes! We offer guided bird safaris in the Mara, led by our experienced guide who is knowledgeable about the different species of birds that can be seen in this area. During the tour, you will have a chance to observe and identify various species of birds with your guide’s help. Additionally, we also offer custom birding packages depending on what type of experience you would like to have. Please feel free to contact us for more information on our birding safari packages!

We hope that this blog has been helpful in introducing you to the amazing birds of the Mara and helping you understand how you can help protect these precious creatures. To learn more about bird watching in the Mara, please don’t hesitate to reach out and ask our experienced guide for more information! We look forward to welcoming you and helping you discover the fascinating birds of the Mara with our birding safari. Happy birding!

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