Kenya Safari Animals & Wildlife

The wildlife in Kenya is the main attraction for tourists visiting East Africa, not least due to the fact that during a Safari in Kenya you see an amazing diversity of animals and birds that few other countries in the world can match. With a rich bio diversity and with approximately 400 species of Mammals and even more Birds, Kenya offers a quality experience for wildlife lovers, allowing sightings of the most sought after safari animals including the Big Cats, Elephant, Rhino, Giraffe and many more.

The list of animals below has been grouped into Mammals including the Big Five ( Lion, Elephant, Rhino, Leopard and Buffalo ) and the Big Nine, these being popular animals that most tourists have on their must-spot list when on a Kenya Safari. Most of the commonly spotted Birds found in various National reserves and parks in Kenya are also listed below.
Upon request we can email a Bird Check List.

the "big Five" Animals

The Big Five is a commonly used term in Kenya for five animals which just happen to be on most people's must-see list while on an African Safari. These are Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Rhino and Buffalo. It is quite possible to be see all of these animals during a 2 to 3 day Safari in Kenya, depending on which national park or reserve you visit ofcourse.

lions in masai mara

Lion ( Panthera Leo)

Masai Mara National Reserve is home to the largest population of African big cats and famous for its greatest number of lions. It is estimated that there are close to 850 to 900 Lions in the reserve and surrounding conservancies that border the reserve. The 'Mara' as it is also known is generally considered one of the best places in Kenya and East Africa to see these magnificent animals in the wild on a Safari. Individual Lions (males) can hold huge territories ranging from 30 to 400 square kilometers. The lionesses (females) take the lead when it comes to hunting down the prey. From time to time the Males will assist with a hunt. Read more about Masai Mara Lions in detail at this page.

Elephants in Masai Mara

Elephant ( Loxodonta Africana )

African Elephants are the world's largest land animals, weighing up to (6.6 tons). They are the most prolific animals in Amboseli and the Mara, the African Elephant is an intelligent, sociable and familial animal, and despite the threat it attracts due to its Ivory, the great news is that numbers are up in Masai Mara over the last couple of years. Read more about the African Elephant here.

Rhinos in Masai Mara

Rhino ( Rhinocerotidae )

Black Rhino is commonly found in Masai Mara and Ol Pejeta Conservancy. They are slightly smaller but more aggresive species compared to White Rhino which is more commonly found at Lake Nakuru,and there is actually no colour difference between them at all. Rhinocerous is the proper name for the Rhino, and this animal is one of any five extant species of odd-toed ungulates in the family Rhinocerotidae, as well as any of the numerous extinct species. Black rhinos use their horns during mating and fighting, as well as when defending themselves from predators. They also use their hooked lip to browse shrubs and prefer thick bush habitat.

Leopards in Masai Mara

Leopard (Panthera pardus )

The Leopards (Panthera Pardus)are african big cats known for their golden, spotted bodies and graceful, yet ferocious hunting techniques. Leopard is counted as one of the Big Cats and is one of the five species in the genus Panthera. Though Leopards can be found in Masai Mara in healthy numbers and in some other parks in Kenya as well, these elusive animals are nonetheless listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List because leopard populations are threatened by human encroachment and habitat loss. Leopards are solitary creatures that only spend time with others when they are mating or raising young. They almost always hunt on their own and are by nature 'shy', preferring to hunt at night.

African Buffalo in Masai Mara

African Buffalo ( Syncerus caffer )

African Bufallo also known as the Cape Buffalo, are regarded as one of the more dangerous animals in East Africa not least due to their volatile and unpredictable nature, which is one of the reasons the African Buffalo has never been domesticated as is the case in Asia. Females protecting their young calves, and solitary rogue bulls, are the most aggressive, and having 800kg of angry animal is no joke. Buffalo are often found in herds of 100 or more and never stray too far from water, especially in dry season. Both sexes have the distinctive curving horns which broaden and almost meet over the forehead, although those in females are fairly smaller. These animals appears in great numbers in all major parks, with the exception of Nairobi National Park. They can also be found in large numbers in Masai Mara National Game Reserve.

The "Big Nine" Animals

So just what are the Big Nine animals ? Well, we add another four animals to the Big Five list above, generally considere highly sought after for sighting during safari game drives in Kenya. These 4 additional animals are the Cheetah, Giraffe, Hippopotamus and the fairly ubiquitous Zebra. Our clients often also ask us where in Kenya they'd be able to see all of the Big Nine animals. The answer is to combine at least 2 to 3 different parks in Kenya during your Safari but Masai Mara National Reserve is one of the few places where all of the Big Nine wildlife may be spotted.

Cheetah in Masai Mara

Cheetah ( Acinonyx Jubantus )

Cheetah are universally known for their speed, being the fastest land animals, touching upto 110 km per hour on short bursts during hunts. Similar in appearance to the leopards, the Cheetah is longer and lighter in the body. It has a slightly bowed back and a much smaller and rounder face. It stands around 80cm at the shoulder, measures around 210cm in length (including the tail) and weighs anything from 40 to 60kg. It's one of the iconic animals in Masai Mara, known for hunting in the open and in groups of upto four or five. It can be found in small numbers in all of Kenya's major game reserves.

Giraffes in Kenya

Giraffe ( Giraffa )

Kenya is home to three subspecies of Giraffes out of the 9 kinds that exists in the world. The reticulated or somali giraffe commonly found in Northern Kenya; Masai Giraffe which is the largest subspecies of giraffe, mainly found in Amboseli, Masai Mara and in Serengeti Tanzania; and the Rothschild giraffe which is one of the most endangered distinct population of giraffe. Giraffes are the tallest living terrestrial animals and actually quite a sight, extremely picturesque and known for their graceful movements even when running at their fastest speed of 50 to 60 km per hour.

Hippos in Kenya

Hippo ( Hippopotamus amphibius )

The Hippopotamus are the third largest land mammal and the heaviest extant artiodactyl. They are easily recognized by their barrel-shaped torsos, wide-opening mouths revealing large canine tusks, nearly hairless bodies and columnar legs. Male hippos can weigh more than 1500 kilos while female hippos on average weighs 1300 kilos. Hippos typically inhabit swamps, rivers, and areas close to the lake shore, and remain cool by staying in the water during most of the day. They are found in greatest numbers in Masai Mara National Game Reserve but can also be seen at Amboseli, Nairobi and Tsavo National Parks as well as Lake Baringo and Lake Naivasha.

Zebra in Masai Mara

Zebra ( Equus quagga )

Zebra are equids, members of the horse family, united by their distinctive black-and-white striped coats.They have excellent hearing and eyesight and can run at speeds of up to 56 kilometers per hour. There are 2 sub species, namely the Plains Zebra, Mountain Zebra and Grevys Zebra. Masai Mara is home to the plains Zebra while the Grevy's Zebra with their unique thinner stripes are found in Samburu Reserve, Northern Kenya.

Mammals List

Masai Mara is also home to a large number of other animals apart from the Big Five or Big Nine. This is a list of some of the other diverse wildlife you will find in Masai Mara Game Reserve, starting with a list of Mammals below.

Aardvak in masai mara

Aardvak ( Orycteropus afer )

The Aardvark is a small to medium sized burrowing, nocturnal mammal with a long snout and powerful claws, native to Africa. They have a hairless body with a pronounced arched back and short legs. The thick claws on the forefeet are well adapted for burrowing and digging. They are solitary animals and only come together to mate. They feed on insects, mainly ants and termites.

Aardwolf in Masai Mara

Aardwolf ( Proteles cristatus )

Aardwolf is yellowish in colour with vertical black stripes and a bushy black-tipped tail and resembles a small striped hyena. Like the hyena, it has a long coarse ridge of erectile hairs along the length of the back, sturdy shoulders, and longer front than hind legs. However, Aardwolf is less of a runner and has five toes on the front feet instead of four. Aardwolf is an insectivorous carnivore, native to East and Southern Africa. Its name means "earth wolf" in Afrikaans. Aardwolves are found on the open, grassy plains of east and south Africa. They are solitary and they rest in burrows during the day before becoming active at night. Their territory is between 1 and 4 square kilometres, depending on food availability, and they mark it with urine, dung and secretions from their anal glands.

African Hares in Kenya

African Hare ( Lepus capensis )

African hares are 20 inches long, weighs between 1.5 to 3 kilograms (3.3 to 6.6 lb) and feeds on leaves, buds, roots, berries, fungi, bark and twigs. They are commonly found in grasslands and wooded savannas throughout in Africa. They live mainly solitary lives, though they sometimes form groups of two or three when eating and use their senses of hearing, smell, and sight to avoid predators. The life span of the African hare is 12 years.

Antelope in Kenya

Antelope ( Alcelaphinae )

Antelopes are the unsung beauties of the bush and the grassland. They are commonly found on arid regions with bush or scrub cover and come in a variety of sizes and show true diversity and imagination with their head gear. There are 3 sub species, namely the Kirk's Dik-Dik, klipspringer, and Oribi Antelope. It is one of the wild animals that most people would always associate with East Africa, present in Masai Mara and Kenya generally in large numbers.

Banded Mongoose in Kenya

Banded Mongoose ( Mungos mungo )

Banded Mongoose is brown or grey in colour and is easily identifiable by the dark bands across the back which stretch from shoulder to the tail. The animal is about 40 cm in length and weighs btween 1.3 to 2.3 kg. Banded Mongoose is commonly found in the central and eastern parts of Africa. These mongooses lives in savannas, open forests and grasslands and feeds primarily on beetles and millipedes. They use various types of dens for shelter including termite mounds and live in colonies with a complex social structure. They are commonly seen in groups in Tsavo, Amboseli and Masai Mara reserves.

Bat Eared Fox in Kenya

Bat Eared Fox ( Otocyon magalotis )

Bat eared fox is a small african fox with enormous ears. Commonly found on short-grass prairies and arid grasslands, where they are most often seen foraging at night or in the early morning in warmer months and during the day when the weather turns colder. Its body is generally yellowish gray with black face and legs and black-tipped ears and tail; the throat and underparts are pale. They are highly social so if you spot one, keep your eye out for more. Majority of the bat-eared fox’s diet consists of small invertebrates such as ants, termites, spiders, scorpions and crickets. They will also eat small birds, mammals and reptiles, and even desert truffle.

Bushbabies in Kenya

Bushbaby ( Galago senegalensis )

Bushbaby is a small arboreal and nocturnal primates with large round eyes that are good for night vision and exceptionally fine hearing ability. They have strong back legs that enable them to jump more than 5-6 feet in a vertical direction. They are agile, speedy climbers and their long tails give them added balance. They are gentle furry creatures that feed in seeds, nuts, fruits, flowers and insects. It is found in all major reserves/parks in Kenya particularly Masai Mara National Reserve.

Bushbucks in Kenya

Bushbuck ( Tragelaphus scriptus )

Bushbuck is a nocturnal, shy and usually solitary african antelope of the family Bovidae. They have a light brown coat, with up to seven white stripes and white splotches on the sides. The muzzle is also white and horns are found only on the males and they can reach over half a meter with only one twist. They mainly browse, but supplement their diet with any other plant matter that they can reach. Bushbucks are active around 24 hours a day, but tend to be nocturnal near human habitations.

Chimpanzee in Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Kenya

Chimpanzee ( Pan troglodytes )

The chimpanzee also known as the common chimpanzee, robust chimpanzee, or simply "chimp", is a species of great ape native to the forests and savannahs of tropical Africa. There are four confirmed subspecies and a fifth proposed subspecies of chimpanzees. They have thickset bodies with short legs, opposable thumbs, no tails, and long arms that are 1.5 times their height that extends beyond their knees. Much of their body is covered in coarse black hair, but the face, ears, fingers, and toes are bare. Chimpanzees are highly social, intelligent, curious and noisy. They live in groups that range in size from 15 to 150 members, although individuals travel and forage in much smaller groups during the day. They exhibit complex patterns of behavior, many of which are learned, and can solve problems, plan for anticipated events, as well as make and use tools. They have even been seen utilizing medicinal plants for a variety of ailments. The chimpanzees are listed on the IUCN Red List as an endangered species; habitat loss, poaching, and disease being their biggest threats. They exits in large numbers in Ol Pejeta Chimpanzee Santuary, Kenya.

 Coke's Hartebeest in Kenya

Coke's Hartebeest ( Alcelaphus buselaphus cokii )

Coke's Hartebeest is a medium-sized, fawn-colored antelope. It is one of the fastest antelopes and most enduring runners and is easy to recognise as it has long, narrow face and distinctively angular short horns (on both sexes) which are heavily ridged. The hartebeest feeds almost entirely on grass, but is not very selective and quite tolerant of poor-quality food. They are mainly found in medium and tall grasslands, including savannas. They can be easily spotted in Nairobi and Tsavo East National Park, Tsavo West and Amboseli National Park, and Masai Mara National Reserve.

 Common Elands in Kenya

Common Eland ( Tragelaphus (Taurotragus) oryx )

Common Eland is the second largest antelope in the world, being slightly smaller on average than the giant eland. Common eland are spiral-horned antelopes with both sexes having horns. They prefers savannah scrub to wide open spaces, but also avoids thick forest. It feeds on grass and tree foliage in the early morning and late afternoon, and is also active on moonlit nights. They are easily seen in Nairobi, Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Park and Masai Mara National Reserve. The common eland is the slowest antelope, with a peak speed of 40 kilometres per hour.

 Red Tailed Monkeys in Kenya

Copper Tailed Monkey/ Red Tailed Monkey ( Cercopithecus ascanius )

Copper tailed monkeys or Red Tailed Monkeys are found in East and Central Africa. They are more active in the early morning and evening. They communicate physically, vocally, visually and also demonstrate social dominance, submissiveness, or greeting. They are social primates that form groups of 7-30 individuals. The groups consist of one dominant male and females and their offspring. Groups generally stay together throughout the day and through life, except for males who reach maturity. They are omnivorous and feed on fruits but also eat leaves, flowers, or insects in times where fruit is scarce.

Crested Porcupine in Kenya

Crested Porcupine ( Hystrix cristata )

The African Crested Porcupine is a very large, black-bodied, nocturnal rodent with long, black and white spines and a prominent crest of elongated, spiny hairs from forehead to shoulders. The adult crested porcupine has an average head and body length around 60 to 83 cm long, and weighs from 13 to 27 kg. It can be distinguished from others by its black rump and short, rattle-like quills in the tail. Crested porcupine are mostly seen in non-desert habitat in savannas, woodlands, steppes and uplands. They eat mostly plant material: fruits, roots, tubers, bulbs, and bark.

Dwarf Mongoose in Kenya

Dwarf Mongoose ( Helpgale parvula )

Dwarf mongoose is a small African Carnivore belonging to the mongoose family. It is one of the two social species of mongoose, living in family groups of between 2 and 21 individuals with more female than male and fluctuating numbers of young ones. They are territorial, and each group uses an area of approximately 30-60 hectares (depending on the type of habitat). They are commonly found on Savannas, thicket and woodlands, typically with numerous termitaries for shelter. Although they survive seasonally waterless periods, they avoid very arid, open country. They feed on insects, notably crickets and grasshoppers, termites, scorpions and spiders. The gestation period lasts for 53 days and 1-6 young ones are born.

Grant's Gazelles in Kenya

Grant's Gazelle ( Gazella granti )

Grant's gazelles are sandy brown on the back, clearly demarcated from a lighter colour on the flanks and white belly, and white around the tail and hind legs. Horns are found on both sexes. They are mostly identified by their colouring and long horns. These gazelles are often found in mixed groups alongside other herbivores. e.g. Wildebeest, Zebras and Thomson’s Gazelle. They may occur in large numbers (up to 500 individuals) in suitable areas. They exists in large numbers in Nairobi National park, Amboseli, Masai Mara, Tsavo and Marsabit National Reserve.

Grevy's zebra in Kenya

Grevy's Zebra ( Equus grevyi )

The Grévy's zebra also known as the imperial zebra, is the largest living wild equid and the largest and most threatened of the three species of zebra, the other two being the plains zebra and the mountain zebra. It is distinguished by its unique stripes, which are as distinctive as human fingerprints. Foals are brown with reddish-brown stripes, and gradually their coats darken to black. The grevy’s Zebra are taller, have larger ears, and have narrower stripes than plains zebras. They are found in large number in Kenya and Ethiopia.

Honey Badgers in Kenya

Honey Badger ( Mellivora capensis )

Honey badger get its name from honey it so enjoy to eat. They also eat insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals, as well as roots, bulbs, berries, and fruits. Honey badgers hunt by locating their victims with their acute sense of smell. They will then dig with their razor-sharp claws to extract their prey. Most honey badgers are active throughout the day, though near human settlements they may prefer the cover of darkness. They are often seen alone, though it’s not uncommon to spot mating pairs. They are notorious for their pugnacious and fearless personality, and have been known to take on animals many times their own size.

Impala in Kenya

Impala ( Aepyceros melampus )

Impala is a medium-sized antelope, reddish-brown in colour with white hair inside the ears, over each eye and on the chin, upper throat, underparts and buttocks. A narrow black line runs along the middle of the lower back to the tail, and a vertical black stripe appears on the back of each thigh. Impalas are found at grassland and woodland edges, usually very close by water, in eastern and southern africa. They are both graze and browse and eats young grass shoots in the wet season and herbs and shrubs at other times. Best places to find impalas in Kenya includes; Masai Mara National Reserve, Kisumu Impala santuary, Hell's Gate, Nairobi and Lake Nakuru National Parks.

Kirk's Dik Diks in Kenya

Kirk's Dik Dik ( Madoqua kirkii )

Kirk's dik dik is the most common of the two dik-diks found in Kenya. The dik-dik is a tiny antelope, reddish-brown colour on the back, with lighter flanks and white belly. They are easily recognised by almost lack of a tail and the tuft of dark hair on the forehead. Horns (found only on males) are so short that they are often lost in the hair tuft. Dik-diks are highly nocturnal, and during the daytime seek shade to rest throughout the hottest parts of the day to help avoid the loss of valuable fluids. They can be spotted easily in Nairobi, Tsavo East and West and Amboseli National Park as well as Masai Mara National Reserve.

Klipspringers in Kenya

Klipspringer ( Oreotragus oreotragus )

Klipspringer is a small, sturdy antelope; standing about 50cm at the shoulder. They are easily recognised by their curious 'tip-toe' stance and the greenish tinge of their speckled coarse hair. Their horns are short and widely spaced. Klipspringer are most often seen on rocky outcrops, or in the grassland in the immediate vicinity, and when alarmed they retreat into the rocks for safety.Best places to find klipspringers in Kenya includes; Masai Mara National Reserve, Amboseli and Meru National Park as well as Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Park.

Olive Baboons in Kenya

Olive Baboons ( Papio cynocephalus anubis )

Olive Baboon is one of the largest baboons, with a black face and a greenish-grey coat that covers its bodies. The olive baboons inhabit savannahs, steppes and forests and are very adaptable.They live in troops of males and females that consist of between 20 and 50 members, but sometimes these troops can consist of over 100 baboons. They feed on grass, seeds, leaves, cereals, fruit, tubers, small mammals, invertebrates and young birds.

Oribis in Kenya

Oribi ( Ourebia ourebi )

Oribi is a small, swift african antelope with long, slender neck and legs. The coat is rufuous brown with white underparts. The ears are oval and the tail is black. The oribi is the only dwarf antelope and perhaps the smallest ruminant. They are commonly found in grasslands maintained by fire or heavy grazing. Oribi prefers flats or gentle slopes and is commonest on open lawns of grass kept short by compaction, poor soils. They are relatively uncommon, and chances of spotting one is in Masai Mara National Reserve.

Pangolins in Kenya

Pangolin ( Manis temminckii )

Pangolins are the only mammals covered in protective keratin scales. When threatened, they roll up into a ball to protect themselves. They live in hollow trees or burrows, depending on the species. Pangolins are nocturnal, and their diet consists of mainly ants and termites, which they capture using their long tongues. They tend to be solitary animals, meeting only to mate and produce a litter of one to three offspring, which are raised for about two years. Although they are one of Africa’s most elusive creatures and rarely seen, pangolins can be spotted in Masai Mara National Reserve.

Reticulated Giraffe in Samburu National Reserve

Reticulated Giraffe ( Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata )

The Reticulated Giraffe also known as the Somali giraffe, is a subspecies of giraffe native to the Horn of Africa. They are widely found in Somalia, southern Ethiopia, and northern Kenya. It is estimated that there are 8,500 to 9,000 Reticulated Giraffes living in the wild. Reticulated Giraffe coat consists of large, polygonal, liver-colored spots outlined by a network of bright-white lines. The blocks may sometimes appear deep red and may also cover the legs. Male Reticulated Giraffes reach a towering 18 feet tall and weigh between 2400 and 4250 pounds, while the female Reticulated Giraffes measure up to 17 feet tall and weigh between 1540 and 2600 pounds. They are also fast and are able to gallop up to 56 kilometres per hour.

Side Striped Jackal in Kenya

Side Striped Jackal ( Canis adustus )

Side striped jackal is a medium-sized canid, with shorter legs and ears compared to other Jackals. It can be easily recognised by the white tip to its tail and by the poorly defined black and white stripes along the flanks. They mostly feed on invertebrates and small vertebrates eg; fish and gazelle fawns as well as fallen fruits, unripe maize, carrion and organic rubbish. They are most common in moister habitats.

Slender Mongoose in Kenya

Slender Mongoose ( Herpestes sanguineus )

Slender mongoose is a long-bodied, short-legged, partly arboreal mongoose, extremely variable in colour. The digits of the hands and feet splay readily and are armed with small but sharp color. The tip of the tail is usually black tipped. Males weigh 640-715 g, while the smaller female weigh 460–575 g. Slender mongoose are the most common species of mongoose of sub-Saharan Africa. They are found in all wooden, .Savannah, thicket and forest habitats and forest swamps. It Slender mongoose feeds on rodents, insects, reptiles, frogs and birds.

Spotted Hyenas in Kenya

Spotted Hyena ( Hyaena hyaena )

Spotted Hyena also known as laughing hyena, is the largest member of the hyena family, and is easily distinguished physically from other species by its rounded ears, its vaguely bear-like build, its less prominent mane, its spotted pelt, its more dual purposed dentition, its fewer nipples and the presence of a pseudo-penis in the female. In contrast to most other female mammals, the female hyena are male-like in appearance, larger than males, and substantially more aggressive this is beacuse of their social structure and an increase in testosterone in its fetal stages. Female hyenas are highly social and dominate the male hyenas, with the largest group sizes and most complex social behaviors.

Spring Hare in Kenya

Spring Hare ( Pedetes capensis )

The African Spring Hare is a nocturnal, long-tailed, hopping rodent with long, soft fur, varying from warm reddish tints to yellow-grey above and white to pale tawny underneath. It has short forelegs but long, powerful hind legs and feet used for jumping. Found locally in the semiarid steppes and dry savannas of Kenya. Spring hare feeds on fresh grasses, grazed to the ground stems, roots and storage bases of grasses, new sprouts of herbs and fruits. They sometimes eat insects, such as locusts. They feed only at night and within about 400m of burrow.

Straw Coloured Fruit Bats in Kenya

Straw Coloured Fruit Bat ( Eidolon helvum )

Straw coloured fruit bat is the second largest fruit bat in africa and it gets its name from the yellowish or straw-colored fur around the neck. Their bodies vary from the straw colour of their name to pale yellow or dark brown-grey. These bats are very strong fliers, with long, pointed wings built for endurance over agility. Because of this, they can’t manoeuvre in tight spaces and find their food in the more open upper canopy layer. They live in a wide range of habitats across sub-Saharan Africa. They prefers moist and dry tropical forests, because there is so much fruit, although they also eat blossoms and young shoots of silk-cotton trees but will use various other forest habitats and even urban areas. They are highly social species and travel in massive colonies of at least 100,000 bats.

Thomson's Gazelles in Kenya

Thomson's Gazelle ( Gazella thomsonii )

Thomson's gazelles are medium-sized antelopes, with a head and body length of 80 to 120 cm, a tail length of 15 to 27 cm, and height at the shoulder of 55 to 82 cm. It is often confused with the much larger (38-80kgs) Grants Gazelle, however it is more easily identified by its thicker black tail, shorter horns and more obvious black stripe on the flank. Thomson’s gazelles prefer savannas and grassland habitats, particularly in the Serengeti region of Kenya and Tanzania.

Topi in Kenya

Topi (Damaliscus lunatus jimela)

Topi is a medium-sized antelope, highly social and fast type of antelope found in the savannas, semi-deserts, and floodplains of sub-Saharan Africa. They have elongated heads, a distinct hump at the base of the neck, and reddish brown bodies with dark purple patchings on their upper legs. They also have a mask-like dark coloration on the face. Their horns are S-shaped and ringed. Males tend to be larger and darker than females. Primarily lives in flood plains, but they are sometimes found in dry areas of open savanna and park woodland, taking to the shade during the heat of the day. They prefer flat lowlands, and can go without water for long periods of time only if they have access to green pastures. In Kenya, they are mainly found in Masai Mara where they exists in large numbers. Their main predator is lion.

Vervet Monkeys in Kenya

Vervet Monkey ( Cercopithecus aethiops )

Vervet Monkey is a small, black faced monkey with a white fringe of hair, while the overall hair color is mostly grizzled-grey. Adult male weighs averagely 5.5 kg, and have an average body length of 490 mm. Whereas an adult female weighs an average 4.1 kg, and have an average body length of 426 mm. Vervet society is built on complex but stable social groups (called troops) of 10 to 50 individuals—mainly adult females and their immature offspring. They eats a primarily herbivorous diet, living mostly on Leaves and young shoots- but bark, flowers, fruit, bulbs, roots and grass seeds are also consumed. The mainly vegetarian diet is supplemented with insects, grubs, eggs, baby birds and sometimes rodents and hares.

Warthogs in Kenya

Warthogs ( Phacochoerus africanus )

Warthog is a medium sized species, easily identified by its two pairs of tusks protruding from the mouth and curving upwards. It is the most common wild pig in Kenya and the most frequently observed wild pig in Africa. Their most endearing habit is the way they turn tail and trot away with their thin tufted tails stuck straight up in the air like some antenna. Warthogs are distributed throughout the savannah and semi-arid areas of sub-saharan africa. They are often seen in family groups, with parents and piglets trotting briskly in a straight line with tails erect. Warthogs are herbivores and diurnal animals that spend much of their day foraging for food. Best places to see them in Kenya are in the Masai Mara National Reserve, Nairobi and Amboseli National Parks.

Waterbucks in Kenya

Waterbuck ( Kobus ellipsiprymnus )

Waterbuck is a long bodied antelope with rather short sturdy legs, easily recognisable by its thick, shaggy, dark brown coat and white inner thighs. The horns are present in males only which they use to defend themselves if attacked, and these curve gradually outwards then grow straight up to a length of about 75cm.The female and young ones move in vicinity of a number of territorial males,or may stay with one male. They feed on grass,reeds,and some foliage. It is fairly common and easily seen in Nairobi and Lake Nakuru National Park and Masai Mara National Reserve.

Wildebeest in Kenya

Wildebeest ( Connochaetes )

Wildebeest are the largest species of the antelope family. There are two species, black wildebeests and blue wildebeests. Both species of wildebeest are even-toed, horned, greyish-brown ungulates resembling cattle. The front end of their body is heavily built, while the hindquarters are slender with spindly legs. They have a gray coat and a black mane as well as a beard that can be black or white. There are several races of wildebeest. The species forming the large herds of the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem of Kenya and Tanzania is known as the western white-bearded wildebeest. Their favourite habitats are open woodlands and open grassy plains.

Bird List

Although not the obvious choise of destination for Birding in Kenya, which after all is home to some of the best birding hotspots in the world, Masai Mara is still a very good place for Ornithological tours, with over 500 species recorded, with many of these being raptor species.

Abdim's Stork in Kenya

Abdim's Stork (Ciconia abdimii)

Abdim's stork is a black stork with grey legs, red knees and feet, grey bill and white underparts. It has red facial skin in front of the eye and blue skin near the bill in breeding season. Its diet consists mainly of locusts, caterpillars and other large insects, although the birds will also eat small reptiles, amphibians, mice, crabs and eggs. This species is widespread and common throughout its large range and can easily be seen in some parts of Masai Mara Game Reserve, Kenya.

African Darters in Kenya

African Darter (Anhinga rufa)

The African Darters also commonly known as Snakebirds, are large, slim water birds that measure about 80 cm in length, including their long, rounded tails. The male's plumage is mostly glossy black with white streaking while the female and juveniles have a browner plumage. These cormorant-like birds often swim with only the neck above water. They have very long and sharp beaks, which they use to spear their slippery fish prey. They are endemic to tropical sub-Saharan Africa, where they are typically found in or near bodies of both saline and fresh water. In Kenya you'll mostly find these birds in Lake Baringo and Masai Mara Game Reserve.

African Grey Hornbills in Kenya

African Grey Hornbill (Tockus nasutus)

The African grey hornbill are large birds, but amongst the smaller hornbill species. These hornbills have dark grey and brown plumage with a white underparts and white edging along the wing and tail feathers. They are widespread and common resident breeder in much of Sub-Saharan Africa. They mostly feed on insects, fruit and reptiles. They typically forage in trees.

African Fish Eagles in Kenya

African Fish Eagle (Haliaeetus vocifer)

African fish eagle is a large species of eagle that is found throughout sub-Saharan Africa. The adult is very distinctive in appearance with a mostly brown body with a white head and large, powerful, black wings. The head, breast, and tail of are snow white, with the exception of the featherless face, which is yellow. The eyes are dark brown in colour. In Kenya you'll mostly find these birds in Lake Baringo and Masai Mara Game Reserve.

African Harrier Hawks in Kenya

African Harrier Hawk (Polyboroides typus)

African Harrier-Hawk is a medium-sized gray birds resembling the harriers but having short, broad wings. The upperparts, head and breast are pale grey. The belly is white with fine dark barring. The broad wings are pale grey with a black trailing edge fringed with a narrow white line. The tail is black with a single broad white band. Sexes are similar, but young birds have pale brown instead grey, and dark brown replacing black. It can be found in natural woodland, tree plantations and urban areas. Best places to spot this bird is Lake Nakuru National Park and Masai Mara Game Reserve.

African Openbill in Kenya

African Openbill Stork (Anastomus lamelligerus)

The african openbill is a medium-sized stork bird, 80–94 cm long with a weight of 1–1.3 kg. The bill is brownish and notably large. The legs are black and the eye is grey. Its adult plumage is generally dark overall, with glossy green, brown, and purple on the mantle and breast. The juvenile plumage is more dull and brown, with areas of pale feather tips. African openbill feeds almostly exclusively on aquatic snails and freshwater mussels.

African Spoonbill in Kenya

African Spoonbill (Platalea alba)

African Spoonbill is a long-legged wading bird, easily recognised by its uniquely spoon-shaped bill. Its body is predominantly white, except for its red legs, face, and bill. Both the male and female birds are similar in appearance. The African Spoonbill's diet consists mainly of fish and aquatic invertebrates such as crustaceans or shellfishes, insects, larvae, and mollusks. These birds are commonly found in several of countries in the southern part of Africa and can be spotted in Masai Mara Game Reserve, Kenya.

African White Backed Vultures in Kenya

African White Backed Vulture (Gyps africanus)

African White-backed vulture is the most common large vulture in Africa. It is easily recognizable by its dark-brown face and long, white neck. The white backed vultures have a grey neck with a collar of white feathers at the top of their back and their other plumage is various shades of grey. They feed mostly from carcasses of animals and bone fragments. African white backed vultures are highly social and diurnal. They can be found in all East African National Parks and Reserves, one of them being Masai Mara Game Reserve, Kenya.

Bateleur Eagle in Kenya

Bateleur (Terathopius ecaudatus)

The Bateleur is the most famous of the snake eagles, with a glossy black head, neck, and underparts; a reddish brown back; whitish to red-brown shoulders; a bare red face; and powerful red-orange feet. Its closest relatives are the snake eagles. Bateleurs are endemic to Africa and can be spotted in parts of Masai Mara Game Reserve, Kenya.

Black Chested Snake Eagles in Kenya

Black Chested Snake Eagle (Circaetus pectoralis)

Black Chested Snake Eagle is a large African bird of prey of the family Accipitridae. It is identified by its dark brown-black head and chest, to which it owes its name. It has bright yellow-orange coloured eyes, pale grey legs, horn-coloured bill and its unfeathered below the thigh. It is widespread in lightly wooded areas of Kenya, but not that commonly spotted. It eats snakes but also lizards and bats. It is easily identified by its dark brown head and chest, to which it owes its name.

Black Headed Heron in Kenya

Black Headed Heron (Ardea melanocephala)

Black-headed Herons is a medium black, grey and white heron commonly found in the grasslands of Africa. Its plumage is largely grey above, and paler grey below. It has a powerful dusky bill. These birds are common and widespread through much of Africa south of the Sahara, including Masai Mara Game Reserve,Kenya.

Black Winged Kite in Masai Mara

Black-Winged Kite (Elanus caeruleus)

Black-Winged Kite is a small diurnal bird of prey in the family Accipitridae. It has a white head with a black "mask", and white underparts except for black tips to its narrow falcon-like wings. Upperparts are blue-grey except for black shoulder patches. Black Winged Kites are found in open grasslands and you'll be able to spot them in the Masai Mara, Samburu, and other parks.

Coqui Farncolins in Masai Mara

Coqui Francolin (Francolinus coqui)

This is a small beautifully-patterned francolin bird with yellow or brown head; reddish brown eyes; grey and yellow bill; black and white throat; yellow legs with white and black stripes underparts. Mainly found in Africa's southern half but is also sparsely present in the western Sahel and Ethiopia. It is believed to be the most widespread francolin in Africa. It is mostly resident throughout its range and can be found in Masai Mara Game Reserve, Kenya.

Egyptian Gooses in Kenya

Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiacus)

The Egyptian Goose is a member of the duck, goose, and swan family Anatidaea. It is a large (63–73 cm long), very distinctive waterbird with conspicuous eye patches of dark chocolate-brown. It eats grasses, seeds, and leaves. Occasionally, it will eat locusts, worms, or other small animals. It is actually part of the shelduck family and pairs for life.

Fisher's Sparrow Larks in Kenya

Fisher's Sparrow Lark (Eremopterix leucopareia)

This inconspicuous dull-coloured bird is found on short grass plains and its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical dry lowland grassland. It can be distinguished from the similar chestnut-headed sparrow-lark by the absence of a white patch on the crown of its head. It is found on short grass plains where it congregates in large flocks except during the breeding season. Best places to spot this bird includes Nairobi National Park and Northern Masai Mara Game Reserve, Kenya.

Green Wood Hoopoes in Kenya

Green Wood Hoopoe (Phoeniculus purpureus)

The Green Wood Hoopoe formerly known as the red-billed wood hoopoe, is a large, up to 44cm long, near-passerine tropical bird native to Africa. It feeds mainly on the ground, termite mounds, or on tree trunks, and forms flocks outside the breeding season. It is a common resident breader in Lake Baringo and Masai Mara Game Reserve, Kenya.

Grey Headed Kingfishers in Kenya

Grey Headed Kingfisher (Halcyon leucocephala)

The Grey-headed Kingfisher has the same plumage and colours for both sexes. The adult has a black mantle and back, pale grey head, bright blue rump, wings and tail, and chestnut underparts.The bill is red, long and sharp. The legs are red and the eyes are brown. They lives in dry woodlands, usually near a river or lake and can be found throughout Africa. Grey headed kingfisher feeds on insects and invertebrates, but hunts primarily for lizards.

Grey Kestrels in Kenya

Grey Kestrel (Falco ardosiaceus)

The grey kestrel is a small stocky, uniform grey african bird of prey. It has a large, flat-topped head and fairly short wings that don't reach past the tip of the tail when at rest. The plumage of the adult is uniformly dark grey apart from darker wingtips, faint dark streaking on the body and slightly barred flight feathers. The large head is slightly paler than the body. The bill is black with yellow cere. The eyes are brown, surrounded by broad bare bright yellow eyering. Legs and feet are yellow too. The Grey kestrels inhabits savannas, open woodland and forest clearings and can be found in Masai Mara Game Reserve, Kenya.

Hamerkop in Kenya

Hamerkop (Scopus umbretta)

Hamerkop is a medium-sized waterbird with brown plumage and there are hints of iridescent purple on its back. The tail is faintly barred with darker brown. The bill is long, 80-85 mm, and slightly hooked at the end. Hamerkops prefers wetland habitats and they are abundant around their habitat. Hamerkops are known for their huge, domed nests. They build the biggest nests of any bird in Africa!

Hadeda Ibis in Kenya

Hadeda Ibis (Bostrychia hagedash)

Hadeda ibis is named for its distinctively, penetrating and recognisable calls (haa-haa-de-dah) uttered in flight especially in the mornings and evenings when they fly out or return to their roost trees. The bird has blackish legs and a large grey-to-black bill but during the breeding season it has a red culmen on the basal half of the upper mandible. Hadadas can be found in many African countries and throughout open grasslands, savanna and wetlands, as well as urban parks, school fields, green corridors and large gardens.

Kori Bustards in Kenya

Kori Bustard (Ardeotis kori)

The kori bustard is the largest flying bird and can weigh up to 19 kg. It is a ground-dwelling bird with a long neck. The upper parts and neck are a vermiculated black and greyish-buff colour. It has yellowish beak, eyes, legs and feet. Its back is brown, and the tail exhibits black and white bands. The bird has white markings on the shoulders and both sides of the neck. The belly is whitish, and the head has a crest. These birds are very common in Kenya particularly in Masai Mara National Reserve and much of Africa in open, semi-arid or seasonally dry habitats. They are usually residential in their range, with some random, nomadic movement following rainfall.

Lappet Faced Vultures in Kenya

Lappet Faced Vulture (Torgos tracheliotus)

Lappet faced vulture is a large bird with massive bill and heavy head. It is easily identified by its bare pink head and large, fleshy folds of skin on the sides of its neck. The bird is mainly a scavenger, feeding predominantly on any large carcasses or their remains. This vulture prefers to live in dry savannah, thornbush, arid plains, deserts with scattered trees in wadis and open mountain slopes. Lappet faced vulture is found in most of Kenya's National parks and reserves including the Masai Mara National Reserve.

Lilac Breasted Rollers in Kenya

Lilac Breasted Roller (Coracias caudata)

Lilac-breasted Rollers are african member of the roller family of birds. Lilac breasted roller is a heavy billed, beautifully coloured bird with a green head, lilac throat and breast, a blue belly and even brighter blue wing feathers. These birds are widely distributed in sub-Saharan Africa and prefers open woodland and savanna. They are a common sight on tree-tops in many of Kenya's national parks. These colorful little guys eat insects, small rodents, and lizards.

Marabou Storks in Kenya

Marabou Stork (Leptopilos crumeniferus)

Marabou stork is a large wading, unusual looking bird. The bird is easily recognised by its size, bare head and neck, black back, and white underparts. It has a huge bill, a pink gular sac at its throat,a neck ruff, and black legs and wings. They mainly feed on carrion and scraps.

Martial Eagles in Kenya

Martial Eagle (Polemaetus bellicosus)

The Martial Eagle is Africa’s largest eagle with a wingspan that stretches up to 2.75m. The adult's plumage consists of dark brown coloration on the upperparts, head and upper chest, with an occasional slightly lighter edging to these feathers. The dark feathers can appear grayish, blackish or even plum-colored depending on lighting conditions. They are residents of Africa's savanna grasslands, and can be spotted in Masai Mara Game Reserve.

Ostrich in Kenya

Ostrich (Struthio camelus)

Ostrich is world's largest flightless bird, with a long neck and legs, and can run for a long time at a speed of 55 km/h with short bursts up to about 70 km/h, the fastest land speed of any bird. These birds are widely distributed throughout the savannah plains in Kenya, and is commonly seen in the southern parks and reserves - Masai Mara, Amboseli and Tsavo. Ostrich are classified in the ratite group of birds, all extant species of which are flightless, including the kiwis, emus, and rheas.

Rufous Naped Larks in Kenya

Rufous Naped Lark (Mirafra africana)

The rufous-naped lark (Mirafra africana) or rufous-naped bush lark is a widespread and conspicuous species of lark in the lightly wooded grasslands, open savannas and farmlands of the Afrotropics. They have consistently rufous outer wings and a short erectile crest, but the remaining plumage hues and markings are individually and geographically variable. They can be spotted in Kenyan highlands and Masai Mara Game Reserve.

Ruppell's Vultures in Kenya

Ruppell's Vulture (Gyps rueppellii)

The Ruppell's Vulture is a fairly large and robust lark species, with rather heavy flight. The head, back and the bill are coloured brown, the legs are pink and the throat is white coloured. The eyes are brown. It can be found throughout the Sahel region of central Africa. It holds the record as the highest flying bird in the world, with a wingspan of 8 feet. They can eat the hide and even bones of a carcass.

Secretary Birds in Kenya

Secretary bird ( Sagittaruis serpentaruis)

Secretary bird is a very large, mostly terrestrial bird of prey. It has a small head with small eyes and a hooked beak. Its plumage is a light bluish/grey and it has a red coloured face. Flight feathers are black and they have black feathers on the thighs and on the back of their heads. Their legs are long and powerful and are used for striking and pursuing prey. These birds are endemic to africa and they can be spotted in some parts of Masai Mara Game Reserve, Kenya.

Southern Ground Hornbills in Kenya

Southern Ground Hornbill (Bucorvus leadbeateri)

Southern Ground Hornbill is the largest species of hornbill worldwide. It stands 90 to 129 cm tall. Males weigh 3.5 to 6.2 kilograms, while the smaller females weigh 2.2 to 4.6 kilograms. Most of its body is black, except the bare patches of red skin that surround their eye and on the air sac on the throat. The tips of the wings are white. The legs are black, the bill is grey and the eyes are yellow. On the throat of females is a patch of violet-blue skin. These birds lives in open habitats, travels in groups and feeds on insects, small reptiles, and mammals. It's a fun bird to watch if you can spot it.

Southern Masked Weavers in Kenya

Southern Masked Weaver (Ploceus velatus)

The Southern Masked Weaver is a red-eyed bird with a lightly streaked green back and pink-brown legs. The adult male in breeding plumage has a black face, throat and beak, red eye, bright yellow head and underparts, and a plain yellowish-green back. The female and juvenile are dull. The species is found in a wide range of habitats, including shrubland, savanna, grassland, open woodland, inland wetlands and semi-desert areas. It also occurs in suburban gardens and parks. These birds are common sight on tree-tops in many of Kenya's national parks/reserves particularly Masai Mara National Reserve.

Speckled Mousebirds in kenya

Speckled Mousebird (Colius striatus)

The speckled mousebird is the largest species of mousebird, with a long, scruffy tail. It is easily distinguished from other mousebirds by its blackish face and gray-brown crest. It is an active and playful-seeming bird with very long tail and the alert crest make them fun to watch.

Spotted Thick Knees in Kenya

Spotted Thick Knee (Burhinus capensis)

The spotted thick-knee, which can reach up to 45 cm in height, has long legs and brown-and-white speckled plumage which provides camouflage. The head and back have brown to black streaks. The birds are capable of flying but perefer walking. The spotted thick-knee is nocturnal and squats on the ground during the daytime, making it difficult to spot. It hunts exclusively on the ground, feeding on insects, small mammals and lizards. These birds can be found in Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya.

Striped Kingfishers in Kenya

Striped Kingfisher (Halcyon chelicuti)

The Striped Kingfisher is the smallest and least colourful of the non-aquatic kingfishers, so hard to spot. It is an average bird of 16-18 cm long. when perched, the adults appears greyish brown on the upper parts. The lower back, secondary flight feathers, and tail are metallic blue; this colour is much more visible when the bird flies than when it is perched, as is a white patch at the base of the primary flight feathers. The wing linings are white with a black border. The underparts are off-white, buffier on the breast, with brown streaks on the sides in Kenyan birds. Also streaked dark brown is the top of the head, with the background buffy grey in males and brownish in females. The sides of the head, throat, and a collar around the back of the neck continue the off-white of the underparts. A black line goes around the back of the neck, above the white collar, and through the eyes. The bill is blackish above and at the tip, otherwise reddish-orange below.

Superb Starlings in Kenya

Superb Starling (Lamprotornis superbus)

The Superb Starlings are small short-tailed birds with long narrow bill, robust bodies, strong feet and a distinctive plumage pattern. The adult head is black, the belly is red-orange and the under tail coverts and the wing linings are white. They are very conspicuous birds of open disturbed habitats. Commonly found in East Africa and if you're in Kenya, it's very likely you'll see their colorful body punctuated by a white breast band.

Usambiro Barbets in Kenya

Usambiro Barbet (Trachyphonus usambiro)

Usambiro barbet is a subspecies of bird in the African barbet family Lybiidae. It is 18-19 cm long and weighs 37–50.5 g . The head is yellow with black spots and the wings are black with white spots. The breast is also yellow with a dark breast band. The belly is pale yellow with a reddish vent. Mainly feeds on seeds, fruit and a wide range of insects. It is found in southern Kenya and northern Tanzania, and is found in Maasai Mara National Reserve and Serengeti National Park. The species inhabits open areas including savannah, grassland, shrubland and pastures.

Vulturine Guineafowls in Kenya

Vulturine Guineafowl (Acryllium vulturinum)

Vulturine Guineafowl is the largest extant species of guineafowl and has longer wings, neck, legs and tail than other guineafowl. It is a stunning bird, with a gorgeous body and typically "homely" looking bald head. It eats seeds, worms, and insects. Common in Kenya's National Parks and Reserves including Samburu and Masai Mara National Reserve and Tsavo East National Park.