Kenya, the Maasai Mara; April 3rd to 5th, 2010

Published by Mary Crickmore (crwrcwamt AT

Participants: Mary Crickmore, Scott Crickmore


Photos with this report (click to enlarge)

Grey Crowned Crane
Grey Crowned Crane
Secretary Bird
Secretary Bird
White Stork
White Stork
Kori Bustard
Kori Bustard
Kori Bustard
Kori Bustard

The rainy season was underway, the grass was high, and Pectoral Patch as well as Zitting Cisticolas were performing display flights. It's a great time to see the Mara Reserve. We wanted to stay within a budget of $200 per person per day, and the Mountain Rock tented camp was a good solution, with plenty of birds and riparian woodland. The camp is about a 15 minute drive (on very rocky and bumpy road) from the Sekenani entrance to the Game Reserve. The camp is surrounded by a fence and is full of trees. White-Headed Saw-wings flew overhead and I found Purple Grenadier in the acacia shrubs; also Spectacled Weaver, Grey-capped Warbler, and D'Arnaud's Barbet were in the tangle of vegetation several meters from our tent. In the early morning before dawn we woke to bird songs.

If you want to bird on safari in the Maasai Mara, it is good to have your own driver, which we did. This was arranged through Sayari Afrika ( The driver knew the mammals but did not know how to identify very many birds except for the obvious ones like Secretary Bird, but he was willing to stop when asked. Other safari vehicles in the park were looking only for mammals, and clustered around the big cats. On a previous safari we were in a vehicle with eight other people who did not care about larks and cisticolas, so this time I was able to identify many more birds. There were plenty of outstanding views of mammals, of course.

At the hippo pool where you can get out of the vehicles there was a singing male Yellow Bishop which was a real treat. We also saw a displaying Kori Bustard, that seemed to be trying to intimidate a warthog. Of migratory birds,there were abundant White Storks in large groups, and hunting Lesser Kestrels and various Harriers.

Species Lists

Struthio camelus Common Ostrich
Bubuculus ibis Cattle Egret
Ciconia abdimii Abdim's Stork
Ciconia ciconia White Stork
Leptoptilus crumeniferus Marabou Stork
Threskiornis aethiopicus Sacred Ibis Nairobi
Bostrychia hagedash Hadada Ibis
Sagittarius serpentarius Secretary Bird
Elanus caeruleus Black-shouldered Kite
Milvus migrans Black Kite
Necrosyrtes monachus Hooded vulture
Gyps africanus African White-backed vulture
Torgos tracheliotos Lappet-faced Vulture
Circaetus gallicus Short-toed Snake Eagle
Terathopius ecaudatus Bateleur
Circus sp. Pallid or Montagu's Harrier
Circus aeruginosus Eurasian Marsh Harrier
Aquila rapax Tawny Eagle
Falco ardosiacus Grey Kestrel
Falco naumanni Lesser Kestrel
Numida meleagris Helmeted Guineafowl
Francolinus afer Red-necked Spurfowl
Balearica regulorum Grey Crowned Crane
Ardeotis kori Kori Bustard
Eupodotus senegalensis White-bellied Bustard
Vanellus coronatus Crowned Plover
Vanellus senegallus African Wattled Plover
Turtur chalcospilos Emerald-spotted Wood Dove
Columba guinea Speckled Pigeon
Streptopelia semitorquata Red-eyed Dove
Streptopelia capicola Ring-necked Dove
Chrysococcyx klaas Klaas's Cuckoo
Apus caffer White-rumped Swift
Apus affinis Little Swift
Colius striatus Speckled Mousebird
Alcedo cristata Malachite Kingfisher
Merops apiaster Eurasian bee-eater
Merops oreobates Cinnamon-chested bee-eater Nairobi
Coracias caudata Lilac-breasted Roller
Bycanistes brevis Silvery-cheeked Hornbill Nairobi
Pogonilius bilineatus Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird Nairobi
Tricholaema lacrymosa Spot-flanked barbet
Tricholaema darnaudii D'Arnaud's Barbet
Mirafra africana Rufous-naped lark
Mirafra rufocinnamomea Flappet Lark
Calandrella cinerea Red-capped Lark
Riparia cincta Banded Martin
Hirundo smithii Wire-tailed Swallow
Hirundo rustica Barn Swallow
Hirundo daurica Red-rumped Swallow
Hirundo senegalensis Mosque Swallow
Hirundo semirufa Rufous-chested swallow
Hirundo abyssinica Lesser Striped Swallow
Hirundo fuligula Rock Martin Road from Nairobi
Psalidoprocne albiceps White-headed Saw-wing
Motacilla aguimp African Pied Wagtail
Anthus cinnamomeus Grassland Pipit
Anthus leucophrys Plain-backed Pipit
Anthus trivialus Tree Pipit
Macronyx croceus Yellow-throated Longclaw
Macronyx ameliae Rosy-breasted Longclaw
Pycnonotus barbatus Common Bulbul
Turdoides sharpei Black-lored babbler
Cossypha heugleni White-browed Robin-Chat
Myrmecocichla aethiops Northern Anteater Chat
Myrmecocichla nigra Sooty Chat
Turdus olivaceous Olive Thrush
Melaenornis fischeri White-eyed Slaty Flycatcher Nairobi
Cisticola juncidis Zitting Cisticola
Cisticola chiniana Rattling Cisticola
Cisticola brunnescens Pectoral-patch cisticola
Prinia subflava Tawny-flanked Prinia Nairobi
Camaroptera brachyura Grey-backed Camaroptera
Apalis flavida Yellow-breasted Apalis
Eminia lepida Grey-capped warbler
Zosterops sengalensis Yelllow White-eye
Parus albiventris White-bellied Tit Nairobi
Terpsiphone viridis African Paradise Flycatcher
Platysteira cyanea Common Wattle-eye
Lanius collaris Common Fiscal
Lanius collurio Red-backed shrike
Lanius excubitoroides Grey-backed fiscal
Lanius isabellinus Red-tailed (isabelline) Shrike
Lanius minor Lesser Grey Shrike
Laniarius funebris Slate-colored Boubou
Dryoscopus cubla Black-backed Puffback
Dicrurus adsimilis Common Drongo
Oriolus larvatus Black-headed Oriole
Corvus albus Pied Crow
Lamprotornis purpuropterus Ruppel's Long-tailed Starling
Lamprotornis superbus Superb Starling
Cinnyricinclus Leucogaster Violet-backed starling
Buphagus africanus Yellow-billed oxpecker
Buphagus erythrorhynchus Red-billed Oxpecker
Anthreptes collaris Collared Sunbird Nairobi
Nectarinia mariquensis Marico Sunbird
Nectarinia venusta Variable Sunbird Nairobi
Passer griseus Grey-headed Sparrow
Petronia pyrgita Yellow-spotted Petronia
Sporopipes frontalis Speckle-fronted weaver
Ploceus baglafecht Baglafecht Weaver Nairobi
Ploceus ocularis Spectacled Weaver
Ploceus spekei Speke's Weaver
Anaplectes rubriceps Red-Headed Weaver
Euplectes capensis Yellow bishop
Euplectes macrourus Yellow-mantled widowbird
Uraeginthus ianthinogaster Purple grenadier
Uraeginthus bengalus Red-cheeked Cordon-bleu
Vidua macroura Pin-tailed Whydah
Vidua fischeri Straw-tailed Whydah
Serinus citrinelloides African Citril Nairobi
Emberiza flaviventris Golden-breasted Bunting