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Thursday, July 27, 2017

Nairobi Park Diary: Brilliant for birds

Saddle billed stork bathtime
Saddle billed stork bathtime

As I sat thinking of the amazing diversity of bird species in the Nairobi National Park, the idea came to me to check the global records. Quick research revealed that there are just over 10,000 bird species on Earth, and about 2,500 species in Africa and about 1,500 species in East Africa.

Of these, 500 species exist in the tiny 117 square kilometre Nairobi National Park, compared to the enormous mass of Africa with 30.34 million square kilometers. Therefore, we have about 20 per cent of the bird species in Africa on only 0.0004 per cent of the land.

That is incredibly amazing, considering also that the park is surrounded by Nairobi, a growing megacity of over five million people! The park is uniquely located, where a number of different habitat ecosystems converge, therefore contributing to the amazingly brilliant diversity of birds that are unique and localised, in dense forest, riverine forest wetlands, grasslands, shrub-veld, etc.

Birds are often doing something interesting if you watch them. Raptors like secretary birds are very rewarding to watch, especially when they are hunting. Some species like the bee-eaters, kingfishers, narina trogon, bush shrikes, grey crowned cranes, saddle-billed storks, various ducks and many more all have beautiful colours and markings.

It is a joy to see birds when driving in the park. God has created such amazing diversity. When you go on into the park with the attitude of “bird watching”, all too often the larger species like rhino, buffalo, and even lions just “get in the way!" But remember, simply speaking, the Nairobi National Park is just brilliant for birds, another reason why the park must be saved!

The park is open daily from 06h00 to 19h00.

For more information on the park you can link to the following websites or or on Facebook.

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