Birding in Lake Nakuru National Park
Birding in Lake Nakuru National Park: Lake Nakuru National Park better known as the paradise of birds was first gazetted as a bird sanctuary to protect and conserve the birdlife that was blooming on Lake Nakuru in 1960; before the park was expanded to National park status in 1968.
Lake Nakuru is popular both locally and internationally for harboring millions of flamingos on its shores all throughout the year. Though because of climate change and change in the lake’s water levels the flamingo numbers have dropped from millions to thousands but still, they still cover the lake’s shores pink any day.
Lake Nakuru is a soda lake with a great deal of blue-green algae that is food for the flamingos and that’s one of the main reasons flamingos flock the lake; the other bird that feeds endemically on the lake is the great White Pelican together with other wading birds.
Birding in Lake Nakuru National Park is a great adventure and experience all together; you will be blown away by the numerous birds that live in this 118km2 park. Lake Nakuru National Park is home of over 450 bird species that are both endemic and migratory to the park.
Though famously Known for the pink flamingos that cover the Lake Nakuru’s shores pink all through the year, the park is home to other endemic bird species like the pelican bird and four threatened bird species that are:- the Madagascar pond-heron, the Pallid Harrier, the Greater Spotted Eagle and the Grey-crested Helmet-shrike.
Other birds that live in Lake Nakuru National Park either on the lake or in the diverse extended vegetation of bushy grasslands, acacia woodlands and euphorbia forest include but not limited to:- the black-necked Grebe, Long-tailed widowbird, Maccoa duck, Montane white-eye, Grey-headed Gull, Northern puffback, Pallid harrier, Gull-billed Tern, Red-capped lark, Rufous-throated wryneck, Yellow-billed Stork, Rüppell’s vulture, Rüppell’s robin-chat, Little Grebe, Schalow’s wheatear, Shining sunbird, African Spoonbill, Slender-billed greenbul, Black-winged Stilt and many more.
Birding in Lake Nakuru National Park is done all throughout the year; any time of the year is good for birding in the park. However the months just after the rains have the most birds in the park; because of the abundance of food that grows during the rains and the well grown and groomed vegetation that supports the bird life, these months are January and July.
Any time in the day is a bird watching time in Lake Nakuru National Park, you will be sure to catch birds any time of the day though best time of the day to do birding in any place is in the morning between 6am and 11am, this is when most birds are leaving their nests and going out to look for food so they are easy to be seen and enjoyed before they fly awake for the day; or sometimes the evenings when they retuning to the nests is a good time but mornings beat any time of the day by far.
Also to note that though mornings are very good for birding, Lake Nakuru National Park has more than 400 bird species, and you cannot exhaust them all in one morning, so what is advisable when birding in Lake Nakuru National Park to spend at least 4 days exploring and experiencing the birds or have the specific birds you want to see and look out for those ones so that you don’t get overwhelmed by the too much variety the park has.
Birding in Lake Nakuru National Park is normally done along the shores of lake Nakuru as people sit in their cars or stand along the shores and observe the birds, on game drives as people drive through the park or they can view birds from the different park viewpoints that include lion hill, out of Africa lookout and baboon cliff; the baboon cliff being the best viewpoint for birding in the park.
Lake Nakuru National Park is located in central Kenya, northwest of the country’s capital Nairobi. The Park is within the Great Rift Valley and it encompasses Lake Nakuru, one of the five soda lakes in the rift valley. On top of being a bird habitat, the park is home to over 50 mammal species that can also be seen during a visit to the park.
The park is accessible by road or by air and a drive through the park is smooth because of the well-developed park road network. By air, guests will have to fly to the park’s airstrip Niashi and by road guests drive north west of Nairobi for 3 to 4 hours to get to the park.