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Animals & Wildlife in Masai Mara

Animals & Wildlife in Masai Mara
Mara and the surrounding Great Mara eco system is home to a rich, diverse collection of wildlife which tourists from the world come to see during an African Safari. The wildlife in Masai Mara is considered one of the finest collections of wild animals in comparison to other places in Africa. The reserve is a host to approximately 90 species of mammals and a wide array of different bird species. Most of the animals in Masai mara are seen during the game drives which is the highlight of the many activities in the park others include; nature walks where you get up close and view the animals at closer range. Masai Mara animals have been categorized into a general Mammal list to include the famous Big Five (Lion, Elephant, Rhino, Leopard and Buffalo) and the Big Nine to additionally include the Cheetah, Giraffe, Hippo and Zebra. While in Masai mara, you will also spot some Notable Birds commonly found birds, the park is also one of unique destination for great birding experience.
The various animals are characterised as listed below
The Big Five
Many tourists visiting most of the national parks and the game reserves in Africa, come with the hope to see the big wild game. Masai mara is one of the few places in East Africa with much a higher of spotting all the big five game in one national reserve. The big five game include; the Lion, Elephant, Rhino, Leopard and Buffalo. Well, the Mara is one of the few places in Africa were seeing all these five animal species is not just possible but can even be spotted during the 3-day Masai Mara safari in Kenya.
Lion (Panthera Leo)
It is estimated that there are close to 850 to 900 Lions in the Masai Mara National Reserve and surrounding conservancies that border the reserve. Masai mara is generally considered to be the best national reserve with the highest percentage of seeing the lions. The park is a host to a bigger number of lions compared to other national parks in Africa. The male lion is the head of the territory and can hold from 30 to 400 square kilometres. The lionesses (females) take the lead when it comes to hunting down the prey and being assisted by the male lion.
Elephant (Loxodonta Africana)
Elephants in Masai mara are hard to miss, the Mara reserve boosts with the highest number of forest elephants that can be seen during the nature walks or game drive in Masai mara. The elephants are one of the most prolific animals in the Mara, the African Elephant is an intelligent, sociable and familial animal, and despite the threat it attracts due to its Ivory, the reserve has still got the biggest number of elephants roaming in the forest. African Elephants are the world’s largest land animals, weighing up to 6.6 tons.
Rhino (Rhinocerotidae)
Masai mara has got a population of about 30-50 Rhinos, the park is a home to Black Rhino. Compared to the white Rhinos, the Black Rhinos are slightly smaller, while in Kenya, the white Rhinos are found in Lake Nakuru. Rhinoceros 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 are smaller than white rhinos, and there is actually no colour difference between them at all. 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.
Leopard (Panthera pardus)
The leopard are mainly nocturnal animals often sighted during the evening game drives in Masai mara, the night time is when the nocturnal animals come out searching for food. The Leopard is counted as one of the Big Cats and is one of the five species in the genus Panthera. Masai mara is the host to the biggest number of leopards and also one top national reserve in Africa where you can’t miss to see the leopard. Besides the Mara, they are also found in other parks in Kenya. 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 almost always hunt on their own and natural they are shy and prefer hunting at night.
African Buffalo (Syncerus caffer)
Also known as the Cape Buffalo, these large bovines 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. Both sexes have the distinctive curving horns which broaden and almost meet over the forehead, although those in females are fairly smaller. Buffalo is often found in herds of 100 or more and never stray too far from water, especially in dry season. These animals appear 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 Animal List in Kenya
The Big 9 are essentially the Big Five animals above with the addition of the Cheetah, Giraffe, Zebra and Hippopotamus. Masai Mara is one of the few places in Kenya and East Africa where all of the Big Nine wildlife may be spotted on single day game drive in the park. Masai mara game drives lats for about 2-3 hours. during the game drives, there is highest opportunity to see the wildlife all the 9big game. Masai mara is a host to the largest population of animals living in its natural habitat.
Cheetah (Acinonyx Jubantus)
Cheetah is one of the iconic animals in Masai Mara, known for hunting in the open and in groups of up to four or five, Cheetahs are universally known for their speed, being the fastest land animals, touching up to 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 found in small numbers in all of Kenya’s major game reserves. Read more about Cheetah in Masai Mara in detail at this page.

Giraffe (Giraffa)
Giraffe are the tallest living animals among all the mammal species, Giraffes are extremely picturesque and known for their graceful movements even when running at their fastest speed of 50 to 60 km per hour. There are two main sub species of Giraffe found in Kenya, the Reticulated or Somali Giraffe in Northern Kenya, and the Maasai Giraffe in southern Kenya including Masai Mara. The records show there is approximately 33,000 Maasai giraffe living in Kenya’s wild national parks and game reserves.
Hippo (Hippopotamus amphibius)
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. The Hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius), commonly referred to as Hippo are the third largest land mammal with the average adult males weighing in at close to 1500 kilos. Hippos typically inhabit swamps, rivers, and areas close to the lake shore, they mostly in the water cooling their bodies from the strong heat of the sun. while in Masai mara, a visit to mara river where you will encounter the highest concentration of hippos swimming in the waters.
Zebra (Equus quagga)
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. The Giraffes are one of the wild animals that most people would always associate with East Africa, Zebras are present in Masai Mara and many other national parks and game reserves in Kenya. In Masai mara, many of the animal’s area spotted on game drives in the park, the park is a host to many visitors coming in to the park every year most specially in the peak season from July to October during the famous wildebeest’s migration when millions of animals including Zebras are seen crossing from the Serengeti in to Masai mara.
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.

Aardvark (Orycteropus afar)
The Aardvark (Orycteropus afar) is a small to medium sized burrowing mammal with a long snout and powerful claws, native to Africa. Aardvarks are nocturnal animals and feed on insects, mainly ants and termites. 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.
Aardwolf (Proteles cristatus )
Aardwolf “proteles cristatus” is an insectivorous carnivore, native to East and Southern Africa. Its name means “earth wolf” in Afrikaans. It is yellowish 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. 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 Hare ( Lepus capensis )
African hares 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. 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. African hares are generally present in Masai Mara National Reserve. The life span of the African hare is 12 years.
Antelope ( Alcelaphinae )
One of the wild animals that most people would always associate with East Africa, Antelopes are present in Masai Mara and Kenya generally in large numbers. There are 3 sub species, namely the Kirk’s Dik-Dik, klipspringer, and Oribi Antelope. Antelope are 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. They’re the unsung beauties of the bush and the grassland.
Banded Mongoose ( Mungos mungo )
Banded mongoose is a mongoose commonly found in the central and eastern parts of Africa. It lives in savannas, open forests and grasslands and feeds primarily on beetles and millipedes. Mongooses use various types of dens for shelter including termite mounds and they live in colonies with a complex social structure. They are brown or grey in colour and are 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. They are commonly seen in groups in Tsavo, Amboseli and Masai Mara reserves.
Bat Eared Fox ( Otocyon magalotis )
Bat eared fox is a species of fox found on short-grass prairies and arid grasslands and are only found in Africa, 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 yellow-brown; the throat and underparts are pale. Often seen in areas that have been extensively grazed by domestic and wild ungulates, but they do venture into tall grass and thick shrub areas if threatened. 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.
Bushbaby ( Galago senegalensis )
Bushbaby also known as the Senegal galago, the lesser galago or the lesser bush baby, 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 particularly Masai Mara National Reserve.
Bushbuck ( Tragelaphus scriptus )
Bushbuck also known as Imbabala, is a sub-Saharan antelope found in rain forests, montane forests, forest-savanna mosaics and bush savannas. Bushbucks 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.
Coke’s Hartebeest ( Alcelaphus buselaphus cokii )
The Coke’s Hartebeest is a medium-sized, fawn-colored antelope. It is easy to recognise as it has long, narrow face and distinctively angular short horns (on both sexes) which are heavily ridged. 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. It is one of the fastest antelopes and most enduring runners. The hartebeest feeds almost entirely on grass, but is not very selective and quite tolerant of poor-quality food.
Common Eland ( Taurotragus oryx )
Also known as the southern eland or eland antelope, is a savannah and plains antelope found in East and Southern Africa. It is the second largest antelope in the world, being slightly smaller on average than the giant eland. Common eland are spiral-horned antelopes. 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 and Tsavo East National Park, Tsavo West National Park and Masai Mara National Reserve.
Copper Tailed Monkey/ Red Tailed Monkey ( Cercopithecus ascanius )
Also known as copper tailed monkeys, found in East and Central Africa. 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. Red-tailed monkeys are more active in the early morning and evening. They communicate physically, vocally, visually and also demonstrate social dominance, submissiveness, or greeting. They are omnivorous and feed on fruits but also eat leaves, flowers, or insects in times where fruit is scarce.
Crested Porcupine ( Hystrix cristata )
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. 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 ( Helpgale parvula )
Dwarf mongoose also known as common dwarf mongoose, is a small African Carnivore belonging to the mongoose family. 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 are 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 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 Gazelle ( Gazella granti )
Grant’s gazelles are mostly identified by their colouring and long horns. They 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. 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.
Honey Badger ( Mellivora capensis )
Honey badger also known as ratel is a mammal widely distributed in Africa, Southwest Asia and the Indian subcontinent. They get their name from their fondness for feeding on honey and honeybee larvae. 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 (Aepyceros melampus)
Impala (Aepyceros melampus) is a medium-sized antelope found in eastern and southern africa. It is 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. 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 Dik ( Madoqua kirkii )
Kirk’s dik dik is the most common of the two dik-diks found in Kenya and is easily seen in Nairobi, Tsavo East and West and Amboseli National Park as well as Masai Mara National Reserve. 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.
Klipspringer ( Oreotragus oreotragus )
Klipspringer is a small antelope found in Eastern and Southern Africa. It 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 ( Papio cynocephalus anubis )
Olive Baboon also know as the Anubis Baboon, is one of the largest baboons, with an olive green/grey coat that covers its bodies and a black face. Olive baboons have the largest range of all baboons. They 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.
Oribi ( Ourebia ourebi )
Oribi is a tall, slender antelope of medium-small size and sandy body color, with white undersides, upper throat, and mouth and ear linings. 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.
Pangolin ( Manis temminckii )
Pangolins are bizarre-looking, nocturnal mammals covered in protective keratin scales. They are the only known mammals with this feature. When threatened, they roll up into a ball to protect themselves. They live in hollow trees or burrows, depending on the species. Pangolins 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.
Side Striped Jackal ( Canis adustus )
Side striped jackal is shorter legged and shorter eared than 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. Commonly found in woodland and scrub areas. They mostly feed on invertebrates and small vertebrates eg; fish and gazelle fawns as well as fallen fruits, unripe maize, carrion and organic rubbish.

Slender Mongoose ( Herpestes sanguineus )
Slender mongoose also known as the black-tipped mongoose or the black-tailed mongoose, is a very common species of mongoose of sub-Saharan Africa. It is 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. They are found in all wooden, Savannah, thicket and forest habitats and forest swamps. Slender mongoose feeds on rodents, insects, reptiles, frogs and birds.
Spotted Hyena ( Hyaena hyaena )
The spotted hyena also known as laughing hyena, is one of the most fascinating and successful carnivores in sub-Saharan Africa. 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. In the Maasai Mara, spotted hyena territories are stable, but not large, averaging 12 hyenas per 100 sq km. Hyena is more often heard than seen, its loud long distance call carries for up to 5km and can be found throughout the Maasai Mara. They are most active in the early hours of the morning at the time of the migration.
Spring Hare ( Pedetes capensis )
Spring Hare (pedetes) is a 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 Bat ( Eidolon helvum )
Straw coloured fruit bat also known as african straw coloured fruit bat is the second largest fruit bat in africa. 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. 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. Their bodies vary from the straw colour of their name to pale yellow or dark brown-grey. They are highly social species and travel in massive colonies of at least 100,000 bats.
Thomson’s Gazelle ( Gazella thomsonii )
Thomson’s gazelle is one of the best-known gazelles. It is named after explorer Joseph Thomson and is sometimes referred to as a “tommie”. 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. Click here to read more about Animals in Serengeti.
Topi (Damaliscus lunatus jimela)
Topi (Damaliscus lunatus jimela) is a medium-sized antelope with a striking reddish-brown to purplish-red coat that is glossy, even iridescent in bright sunlight. 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 Monkey ( Cercopithecus aethiops )
Vervet Monkey is a small, black faced monkey with a greenish-olive or silvery-gray body, found in the Mara. 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 ( Phacochoerus africanus )
Warthogs are the most common wild pig in Kenya and the most frequently observed wild pig in Africa. They 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. 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. Best places to see them in Kenya are in the Masai Mara National Reserve, Nairobi and Amboseli National Parks.
Waterbuck ( Kobus ellipsiprymnus )
Waterbuck also known as defassa waterbuck is a fairly solid animal and is 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 ( Connochaetes )
Wildebeest (also called gnu) are a member of the antelope family. 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 (Ciconia abdimii)
Abdim’s stork also known as white-bellied stork, is the smallest of all storks. It has grey long legs, red knees and feet, and a grey bill. It has red facial skin next to the eye and, during the breeding season, it has blue skin near the bill. 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 Darter (Anhinga rufa)
The African Darters are large, slim water birds that measure about 80 cm in length, including their long, rounded tails. 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 Hornbill (Tockus nasutus)
The African grey hornbill is the smaller hornbill species of the hornbill family. It is a widespread and common resident breeder in much of Sub-Saharan Africa. These hornbills mostly feed on insects, fruit and reptiles. They typically forage in trees.
African Fish Eagle (Haliaeetus vocifer)
African fish eagle is a large species of eagle that is found throughout sub-Saharan Africa wherever large bodies of open water occur that have an abundant food supply. 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. In Kenya you’ll mostly find these birds in Lake Baringo and Masai Mara Game Reserve.
African Harrier Hawk (Polyboroides typus)
African Harrier-Hawk is a medium-sized raptor. 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 Stork (Anastomus lamelligerus)
The african openbill is a species of stork in the family of Ciconiidae. It is a stork 80–94 cm long with a weight of 1–1.3 kg. Its adult plumage is generally dark overall, with glossy green, brown, and purple on the mantle and breast. The bill is brownish and notably large. The legs are black and the eye is grey. 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 (Platalea alba)
African Spoonbill is a long-legged wading bird. Its body is predominantly white, except for its red legs, face, and bill. This bird can be easily recognised by its uniquely spoon-shaped 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 Vulture (Gyps africanus)
African White-backed vulture, an Old World vulture, is the most common large vulture in Africa. 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 (Terathopius ecaudatus)
The Bateleur (Terathopius ecaudatus) is a medium-sized , short tailed and colorful species of Eagle. 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 Eagle (Circaetus pectoralis)
Black Chested Snake Eagle s a large African bird of prey of the family Accipitridae. 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 (Ardea melanocephala)
Black-headed Herons is wading bird of the heron family, it is a large bird, standing 85 cm tall, and it has a 150 cm wingspan. 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 (Elanus caeruleus)
Black-Winged Kite also known as the black-shouldered kite, is a small diurnal bird of prey in the family Accipitridae. 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 Francolin (Francolinus coqui)
The Coqui francolin (Peliperdix coqui) is a species of bird in the family Phasianidae. 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 Goose (Alopochen aegyptiacus)
The Egyptian Goose is very common in Masai Mara Game Reserve, Kenya. 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.
Fischer’s Sparrow Lark (Eremopterix leucopareia)
Fischer’s sparrow-lark is a species of passerine bird in the family Alaudidae. This inconspicuous dull-coloured bird is found on short grass plains and its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical dry lowland grassland. Best places to spot this bird includes Nairobi National Park and Northern Masai Mara Game Reserve, Kenya.
Green Wood Hoopoe (Phoeniculus purpureus)
The Green Wood Hoopoe is a large, up to 44cm long, near-passerine tropical bird native to Africa. Formerly known as the red-billed wood hoopoe. 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 Kingfisher (Halcyon leucocephala)
The Grey-headed Kingfisher lives in dry woodlands, usually near a river or lake and can be found throughout Africa. It hunts primarily for lizards.
Grey Kestrel (Falco ardosiaceus)
The grey kestrel (Falco ardosiaceus) is an African bird of prey belonging to the falcon family Falconidae. It is a fairly small, stocky kestrel with a large, flat-topped head and fairly short wings that don’t reach past the tip of the tail when at rest. Grey kestrels inhabits savannas, open woodland and forest clearings and can be found in Masai Mara Game Reserve, Kenya.
Hamerkop (Scopus umbretta)
Hamerkop is a medium-sized wading bird found primarily in Africa. The colour of its plumage is brown and there are hints of iridescent purple on its back. The tail is faintly barred with darker brown. Hamerkops prefers wetland habitats and they are abundant around their habitat.
Hadeda Ibis (Bostrychia hagedash)
Hadeda ibis also known as Hadada, is named for its loud three to four note calls uttered in flight especially in the mornings and evenings when they fly out or return to their roost trees. They are medium sized with stout legs and a typical down-curved bill, the wing coverts are iridescent with a green or purple sheen. 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 Bustard (Ardeotis kori)
The kori bustard (Ardeotis kori) is the largest flying bird native to Africa. This species, like most bustards, is a ground-dwelling bird and an opportunistic omnivore. 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 Vulture (Torgos tracheliotus)
Lappet faced vulture sometimes called Nubian vulture, is a a huge species, ranking as the longest and largest winged vulture in its range behind the closely related cinereous vulture. 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 Roller (Coracias caudata)
Lilac-breasted Rollers are a common sight on tree-tops in many of Kenya’s national parks. They are african member of the roller family of birds. Widely distributed in sub-Saharan Africa and prefers open woodland and savanna. These colorful little guys eat insects, small rodents, and lizards.
Marabou Stork (Leptopilos crumeniferus)
Marabou stork (Leptoptilos crumenifer) is a large wading, unusual looking bird with hollow legs and toe bones, and is bald-headed. African marabou storks are bare, dull and have a red-spotted head with long black legs. They are mainly dark grey above and white below. They mainly feed on carrion and scraps.
Martial Eagle (Polemaetus bellicosus)
The Martial Eagle is Africa’s largest eagle with a wingspan that stretches up to 2.75m. They are nothing short of spectacular, with a captivating pair of bright yellow eyes, a slate-grey back and crest, a white belly with black speckles, and enormous feet with impressive 6cm hind talons. They are residents of Africa’s savanna grasslands, and can be spotted in Masai Mara Game Reserve.
Ostrich (Struthio camelus)
The very distinct and instantly identifiable ostrich is the largest living bird. It is widely distributed throughout the savannah plains in Kenya, and is commonly seen in the southern parks and reserves – Masai Mara, Amboseli and Tsavo. Ostrich is classified in the ratite group of birds, all extant species of which are flightless, including the kiwis, emus, and rheas.
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 Vulture (Gyps rueppellii)
The Ruppell’s Vulture is a large vulture that 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 bird ( Sagittaruis serpentaruis)
Secretary bird is a very large, mostly terrestrial bird of prey. Easily recognised by its eagle-like body on crane-like legs with a hooked bill and rounded wings. Endemic to Africa, it is usually found in the open grasslands and savannah of the sub-Saharan region. These birds can be spotted in some parts of Masai Mara Game Reserve, Kenya.
Southern Ground Hornbill (Bucorvus leadbeateri)
Southern Ground Hornbill is one of two species of ground hornbill, which are both found solely within Africa, and the largest species of hornbill worldwide. It 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 Weaver (Ploceus velatus)
The Southern Masked Weaver 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 Mousebird (Colius striatus)
The speckled mousebird (Colius striatus) is the largest species of mousebird, as well as one of the most common and can be found particularly in Masai Mara National Reserve. It is an active and playful-seeming bird with very long tail and the alert crest make them fun to watch.
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, making it difficult to spot the bird in the grasslands and savannas where it roams. 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 Kingfisher (Halcyon chelicuti)
The Striped Kingfisher is common in the dry bush and open woodlands, especially around the Masai Mara. It is the smallest and least colourful of the non-aquatic kingfishers, so hard to spot.
Superb Starling (Lamprotornis superbus)
The Superb Starlings 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 Barbet (Trachyphonus usambiro)
Usambiro barbet is a subspecies of bird in the African barbet family Lybiidae. 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. Mainly feeds on seeds, fruit and a wide range of insects.
Vulturine Guineafowl (Acryllium vulturinum)
Vulturine Guineafowl is a stunning bird, with a gorgeous body and typically “homely” looking bald head. It is the largest extant species of guineafowl and has a longer wings, neck, legs and tail than other guineafowl. 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.



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