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Birdwatching in Nairobi

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Birdwatching need not be exclusively a bush pursuit. For any visitor staying in central Nairobi, an impressive sight during the early morning and late evening is groups of black kites circling as they move between feeding and roosting sites, and among these are readily identified black-and-white pied crows. Marabou storks, sacred ibises and silvery-cheeked hornbills can sometimes be seen flying over the city (dramatically large marabous may also be seen in the thorn trees on Uhuru Highway, near Nyayo Stadium), while flocks of superb starlings call noisily from office buildings. The leafier areas of the city are likely to produce even more birds.

The gardens in the grounds of the National Museum are an interesting and relatively safe area to start birding. Here, keen birdwatchers may encounter sunbirds (variable and Hunter’s) and the cinnamon-chested bee-eater. Another bird of the gardens is the African paradise monarch, a species of flycatcher. In breeding plumage, the rufous males have long tail streamers, which trail behind them like ribbons as they flit from tree to tree.

Nature Kenya organizes bird walks from the National Museum every Wednesday morning at 8.45am for a temporary membership fee of Ksh200. They usually proceed to another part of Nairobi. Longer trips are also held at least once a month. For more information, contact Nature Kenya at the museum (t020 3537568 or t0771 343138, wnaturekenya.org).

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