Aberdare Bird Watching
Aberdare Bird Watching: Aberdare national park is a landmark for birding due to bamboo forests and moorlands which attracts notable bird species that are recorded to be more than 290 species. Hartlaub’s turaco is one of the most interesting specie at the bird feeding platform at the tree hotels and there is Aberdare cist cola which is endemic and therefore famous in the region and can be viewed at higher altitudes. Other beautiful sunbirds to see in the park include rare scarlet –tufted malachite sunbird which can be found on the mountain peaks and there are two major peaks that is Ol Donyo Lesatima that measure 3,999 meters to the North and Kinangop raises 3,906 meters to the south, divided by a long saddle of the land measuring over 3,000 meters. To note, the park is also comprised of a small peak of Kipipiri at 3,349-meter flanks which is the main range to the west, connected to it by a formerly forested valley rising up to 2,700meter above the sea level. Through the forested eastern and western flanks, it gives clear streams and waterfalls where you might see numerous bird species. In fact, the area receives annual rainfall with precipitation varying from 1,000melimeters on the drier side of north-western slopes to as much as 3,000melimeter in the south east and this is due to its vegetation which varies with altitude.
The park was established in 1950 and is famously known for its treetops where the name Aberdare were derived from and it sits mainly above the tree line with few forest vegetation and scrubs at lower altitudes in the area of ‘’salient’’ close Nyeri. Furthermore, the park contains a forest Reserve of about 103,300 hectares which occupies the lower slopes and there are three main blocks that surround the park with kipipiri Forest Reserve of 5,100 ha that connects to the East.
Aberdare national park also boasts with water catchment for the Tana River system that connects several water bodies such as River Ewaso, Lake Naivasha which has become a famous water supply to Nairobi and other districts in Kenya country.
The park is a hoven for birders with more than 290 bird species and five of eight species are recorded as endemic bird areas and 53 out of seventy bird species of the Afrotropical Highland biome that are viewed in Kenya. Aberdare region also contains three other birding areas namely, Mukurweini Valley which lies in south-east of the Aberdares a rewarding area to view Hinders Babbler. The Kikuyu Escarpment forest which sits in the southern part of Aberdare forest boosts with variety of species which can be seen in the Aberdares such species are Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo, Orange Graund Thrush, Abbott’s Starling, Red chested Owlet. And the Kinangop Grasslands are found west of Aberdares is best area to view the Sharpe’s long claw one of Kenya’s national endemics.
List of bird species to view in Aberdare national park include ;Augur buzzard ,Ayres’s hawk eagle , Bar-tailed trogon ,African goshawk ,African yellow warbler, Abyssinian crimson wing ,Aberdare cisticola,Bronzy sunbird ,Crowned eagle ,Cinnamon-chested bee-eater ,Golden-winged sunbird ,Hunter’s cist cola ,Moorland francolin ,Mustached green tinker bird ,Olive ibis, white headed wood-hoopoe ,Tacazze sunbird ,Silvery-cheeked hornbill ,Sharpe’s long claw ,Rufous-chested sparrow hawk, Narina trogon among others.
Other wildlife species to see on your birding safari Aberdare national park include; African Lion, Leopard, Golden cats and rare Bongo Antelopes which can be seen in bamboo forest. Primates species can also be viewed in bamboo forest such species are Baboon, Black and White Colobus Monkeys and Sykes monkey.
Best time for Bird watching on Kenya safaris
Bird watching in Aberdare national park can be done all year around but the best time to do birding starts from November to April when the migrant’s birds are present which come all away from Europe and north Africa. These are wet season when many species can be seen in breeding plumage as they are nesting. From June to September and December to February are drier month good for forest hiking and watching residential bird species as well as game viewers.
How to get there
Accessibility is very easy to reach Aberdare national park it covers a distance of 150 kilometers by drive with 4Wheel vehicle.
The park has two Airstrips such as Mweiga and Nyeri Airstrip located close to the park headquarter. You can book your domestic charter flight from Wilson Airport by the help of a tour operator.
Travelers who prefer birding Aberdare national park can be your right safari destination to go to.