Birds of Maasai Mara

Birds of Maasai Mara : Masai Mara national reserve is a bird – watcher’s paradise hosting over 500 bird species for you to spot . Birds in Masai Mara national reserve are recorded to 500 bird species including a daunting 53 species of birds of prey and 12 species of Cisticola, the reserve is also regarded as an Endemic Bird Area with all the three of Serengeti Plains and of one of the 8 species of the Kenya Mountains Endemic Birds Areas that occur in Kenya.

There are 7 globally threatened species of birds recorded in Masai Mara national reserve and they include the Madagascar Pond-Heron, Pallid Harrier, Jackson’s Widowbird, Red-throated Tit, Grey-crested Helmet-shrike, Corncrake, and Lesser Kestrel.

Masai Mara national reserve there are also regionally threatened species of birds including Circaetus cinerascens, Hieraaetus ayresii, Anhinga rufa, Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis, Trigonoceps occipitalis, Polemaetus bellicosus, Stephanoaetus coronatus, Coturnix adansonii which is a rare intra-African migrant, Buphagus africanus, Casmerodius albus, Podica senegalensis, Neotis denhami, Scotopelia peli, and Porzana pusilla.

Birds of Maasai Mara
Podica senegalensis

Grass birds are well represented in Masai Mara national reserve ranging from freakishly large specie such as the Ostrich – the world’s largest bird, in Masai Mara national reserve there is a single record of Shoebill Stork from the Musiara Swamp. Large numbers of Palearctic migrants including Caspian Plover and white Stork.

The extensive grasslands of Masai Mara national reserve are a strong hold of the threatened, migratory corncrake and the threatened, restricted – range Jackson’s windowbird.

Birds in Masai Mara national reserve can easily be seen on treetops, bushes and skies, there are also teeny tiny sunbirds that are hard to spot with the naked eye, also lookout out for 6 species of vultures as they scavenge the carcasses of animals of prey  . In the skies above the endless plains you will see bateleurs soaring high above the grassy plains and

The Grassland Birds

The grasslands of Masai Mara national reserve are a home to a wide range of birds including turkey-sized Ground Hornbills, Secretary Birds, Kori Bustards, Jaunty Crowned-Plovers and flocks of White Storks. Spectacular flocks of Crowned Cranes, Saddle-Billed Storks, groups of Yellow-Billed Storks and Sacred Ibis can be spotted in the swamplands. This is also a great place to spot the Goliath Heron, Grey Heron, Black-headed Heron and Great White Egret among others.

Musiara Marsh is an excellect spot in Masai Mara national reserve to spot birds, the swamp is the only place in Kenya where the Rufous – bellied Heron breeds and where you can spot the endangered Madagascar Squacco Heron between October and May.

River birds

River birds in Masai Mara national reserve are best spotted at Mara River and here you can spot one of the seven species, the forests lining the river are a home to the colorful Ross’s Turaco and the Schalow’s Turaco and the most impressive birds of the Mara – the birds of the prey including the mighty Martial Eagle to the tiny Pygmy Falcon, Birds of Maasai Mara.

The Martail Eagles are so strong that they are known to feast on young impala and dik dik,  the most iconic birds of prey is the Bateleur which you will spot gliding across the clear blue African Skies which is a memorable sight to see, Birds of Maasai Mara.

Bird list in Masai Mara

This list below contains all the known bird species in Masai Mara including the endemic bird species and the near- endemic bird species which are common to the region. These birds include

Abdim’s Stork

African finfoot

African wood owl

Ayres’s hawk eagle

Cinnamon-breasted bunting

Denham’s bustard

Giant kingfisher

Grey-crested helmet-shrike (NE)

Grey penduline tit

Hildebrandt’s starling

Jackson’s widowbird

Lazy cisticola


Purple grenadier

Red-throated tit

Ross’s turaco

Rosy-throated longclaw

Rufous-bellied heron

Rufous-throated wryneck

Saddle-billed stork

Schalow’s turaco

Secretary bird


Southern ground hornbill

Swahili sparrow

Tabora cisticola

Temminck’s courser

Trilling cisticola

Usambiro barbet (NE)

White-bellied go-away bird

Woolly-necked stork

Yellow-mantled widowbird

Birds of Maasai Mara
Yellow-mantled widowbird

Yellow-throated sandgrouse

Best time to go bird watching in Masai Mara national reserve

The best time of the year to go bird watching in Masai Mara national reserve is from November to April, in this period European and Northern African migratory birds arrive. This period coincides with the rainy season which is the time of the year when many birds can be seen in their breeding plumage.

However, no matter the time of the year you visit Masai Mara national reserve, you are bound to see a number of birds including special species.

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