Birdnificent©: Ngong Forest

When? All year round

Just 10 km from the Kenyan capital, adjacent to Nairobi Racecourse, Ngong Road Forest Sanctuary – the isolated remnant of a once vast upland forest elsewhere almost wholly supplanted by suburbia – still boasts a surprisingly rich avifauna.

  • Nature Hikes
  • Birdwatching
  • Picnics 

A network of tracks crisscrosses what is left of the indigenous Ngong Forest, between broad avenues used by local equestrians. There is an active African Crowned Eagle nest, to which a forest guide should be able to escort you. Pairs of Narina Trogon and Hartlaub’s Turaco can usually be found within patches of dense woodland, and after rain the dazzling Emerald Cuckoo can usually be heard, if not seen.

On a dam near the main entrance, African Black Duck are quite often present. In the Lantana scrub around this dam, look for Brown-backed Scrub-Robin, Dark-capped Yellow Warbler and Singing Cisticola. A variety of Greenbuls (including Yellow-whiskered and Cabanis’, and sometimes the scarce Yellow-bellied, too) often leave the cover of the forest to take advantage of abundant fruiting trees at the forest’s edge, where they mingle with foraging doves, tinkerbirds and starlings.

That part of the forest’s edge overlooking Nairobi Racecourse offers good opportunities to see raptors, as well as swifts and swallows. In particular, this is a good place to see African Crowned Eagle, Ayres’ Hawk-Eagle and African Cuckoo-Hawk, along with various migrant birds of prey over-flying in season.

African Crowned Eagle, Ayres’ Hawk Eagle, African Cuckoo-Hawk, Hartlaub’s Turaco, Narina Trogon, Brown-backed Scrub-Robin, White-starred Robin, Brown-chested Alethe

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