birding at ilkeliani


Birding at Ilkeliani Camp will be rewarding for both amateurs and experts. An early morning will quickly reveal White-browed Robin-Chat, African Paradise Flycatchers, Slate-coloured Boubou and Grey-backed Camaroptera, all of which are common around the tented accommodation.

Along the Talek River in front of the camp, it is common to find the Golden Weaver, Common Sandpiper, African Pied Wagtail, Grey-headed Malachite and Woodland Kingfishers. The ubiquitous Egyptian Geese are also sure to make an appearance. Look up and try to pick out Little and White-rumped Swifts, Brown-throated and Banded Martins, Mosque and Lesser Striped Swallows and then Black and White-headed Saw-wings.
Be sure to explore the riparian forests and particularly the fig trees neighbouring the Talek River. Here you are bound to find Barbets such as the localized Usambiro, the Spot-flanked, the Red Fronted and White-headed. With luck a group of Meyer’s parrots will make an appearance. Scanning the riparian forest will probably also yield the Lesser Honeyguide, African Green Pigeon, Yellow-breasted Apalis, Emerald Spotted Wood-Dove, Tawny-flanked Prinia, Brubru and sometimes the East African endemic Grey-capped Warbler.

The more open area around Ilkeliani gate normally produces Red-cheeked Cordon-bleu, Purple Grenadier, Grey-capped Social Weaver, Rufous-naped Lark, Hildebrandt’s and Superb Starling, Yellow-fronted Canary, Northern Fiscal and Fisher’s Sparrow-lark. Continue to scan the sky as raptors such as vultures, eagles, harriers, kites, falcons and kestrels often fly overhead with dozens of raptor species being possible.

Further afield from Ilkeliani, you will also be spoilt for choice. The Musiara Marsh with its abundance of wetland birds is a must-visit if you find yourself in the reserve itself. In addition to an ongoing parade of cranes, herons, egrets, waders, ducks, widowbirds and cisticolas, it seasonally plays host to the endangered Madagascar Squacco and is the only breeding spot in Kenya for the beautiful Rufous-bellied Heron.

Be sure to ask one of the excellent Ilkeliani birdguides to accompany you on your walk around the camp or into the reserve. They know the best spots to see the various birds and will be able to share their love and knowledge of the birds of the Mara.

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