The Aviary called ‘Kenya’

Kenya happens to be one of the most visited countries of Africa as it is renowned for its Safari opportunities. A country where you can see all the famous Big Five animals in a relatively comfortable climate. It also has an extensive bird list and an increasing Eco-tourism industry geared to birders… not least as it holds some remarkable birding sights… such as the rift valley lakes with millions of flamingos. Kenya is a birdwatcher`s paradise, teeming with bird life, with diverse habitats, spectacular scenery and a supporting cast of the big game mammals for which it is famous. Over a thousand bird species have been recorded in the country over time, and it is possible to see well over a considerable fraction of these if one is willing to make the due effort.

In the west, there are remnants of the rain-forest which used to stretch all the way to the west coast, as well as the shores of Lake Victoria, with their once-extensive papyrus beds. The Rift Valley cuts a swathe through the center of the country, with sometimes towering cliffs, shrouded in forest, on either side. In the valley itself are the great safari plains, open in the south, and acacia-wooded in the north, with numerous lakes in between, of both fresh and soda water. The Central Highlands rise to the east of the Rift, with the Aberdares and Mount Kenya cloaked in forest, which gives way to afro-alpine moorland towards the peaks, which provide the sight of snow on the equator. The descent to the coast is mainly acacia woodland, and finally, the coast itself is a mosaic of estuary, palm and mangrove fringed beaches and creeks, and behind these, the remnants of coastal rain-forest, home to numerous endemic and near-endemic species.

The variety of bird-life is enhanced by its visibility. Vibrant Sunbirds flit from tree-to-tree, Weavers build their incredible variety of nests in the open, the Starlings shine, resplendent Widowbirds dance in the air, and bright Turacos are strangely camouflaged in the trees. Kingfishers, Rollers, Bee-eaters, Hornbills, Barbets and Woodpeckers are present in many varieties, and for a greater challenge, the Cisticolas and Greenbuls provide just that. Overhead, the sky is alive with a variety of Swifts and Swallows, and raptors are plentiful. Ground birds include several Bustards, Larks, Pipits, and the cast is not complete without the wonderful sight of the world’s largest bird, the Ostrich.




Published by Sandeep Desai


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