Working for birds in Africa

Checklist of the birds of Nairobi including Nairobi National Park

Fri, 12/28/2012 - 14:39 -- abc_admin
Bill Harvey. 1997. The British Council, Nairobi. 32 pp. B5 format. No price details.
p 141

Birders visiting Africa will know about the wealth of birdlife that Kenya supports (at least 1,080 species), but may be less familiar with the proximity of much of this birdlife to the capital itself. An impressive total of 604 species has been recorded (to press) within the city boundaries, which includes parts of two important ecosystems - the grasslands that stretch from northern Tanzania to the Laikipia plateau north of Mount Kenya and the forested foothills of the Aberdare range. Despite increasing urbanisation, birdling hotspots within easy reach of the city include the Arboretum, the UN complex at Gigiri, and wooded suburban gardens in the Karen-Langata area, in addition to various small wetlands and not forgetting Nairobi National Park, which lies less than 5 km from the city centre (making it relatively accessible for the stopover birder). Bill Harvey has meticulously collated bird records from 1972. The checklist offers codings for preferred habitat types (seven types), frequency of observation (very frequent, frequent, occasional, rare) and status code (resident, Palearctic migrant or intra-African migrant). It also gives the likelihood of encounter with each species at both the Arboretum and within the National Park. Species nomenclature follows the third edition of the Checklist of the Birds of Kenya. Eight columns are provided to allow dates of sightings, numbers etc to be entered. Four hundred and ninety three species are treated in the main list, with exceptional records (111 species) - those species not reliably reported since 1972 (36), or seen less than six times since this date, or pending formal acceptance (four) are placed in an appendix (with date and location of occurrence). The date of the start of this list (1972) coincided with the start of Fleur Ng'weno's bird walks and this checklist is dedicated to her. Fleur has been voluntarily taking tourists and interested local birders out in search of birds around the city for the past 25 years, much to the benefit of Museum staff, local tourist guides and visiting birders, all of whom have benefited greatly from her teachings. Walks leave from outside the Museum at 08.30 every Wednesday morning and well worth making the effort to catch up with, if only to share Fleur's knowledge and enthusiasm for African birds and their conservation. This booklet aims to further enthuse local interest in the city's birdlife and is well worth obtaining for any birder visiting or passing through Kenya.

Tony Stones

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