Birds of Kenya & Tanzania

More than you can imagine

by Tony Hyman


        Africa boasts 24% of the world’s bird species; That’s 2.313 different birds, of which a whopping 1800 of which are found ONLY in Africa. And no place in Africa has more different birds than Kenya.

        In fact, Kenya has more varieties of birds than any other country on the planet. One huge Gallery in the Nairobi Museum is devoted to showcase after showcase after showcase of stuffed birds ranging in size from giant ostriches and secretary birds down to tiny flyers barely bigger than a walnut.  I’m not a bird-watcher but that exhibit whetted my appetite for the fun of traveling through the brush shooting as many as I could find with a 500 mm lens. These pictures were shot with a Panasonic LUMIX DMC digital with an 18X zoom equivalent to a 28mm to 504mm lens while on safari in August of 2008. Three of us in the small group were shooting the identical Panasonics, and one other couple was shooting about 40 lbs. of high-end professional gear, so the Mikato tour guides were good about stopping. It’s hard to ignore two jeeps loaded with people all of whom were shouting “stop” because they saw another type of bird they wanted to take a photo of.

        The variety of birds in Kenya is truly amazing. These are my favorites of the 200+ different birds I photographed during the 17 days we were in East Africa.  A few of these pictures were shot in Tanzania, and the cormorants and penguins at the end were shot in South Africa. Alas, if you want them all identified, make friends with an African ornithologist. I shot them for their colors, shapes and habitats. A few particularly unusual nests are included.

        Every bird-watcher is urged to put Kenya on their “Must go” list for a real treat.