Lake Naivasha Ramsar site (the second site listed by Kenya as a Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention) lies on the floor of the Rift Valley, 80 km north-west of Nairobi, and consists of a shallow freshwater lake and fringing Acacia woodland. Naivasha’s water is supplied by the permanent Malewa and Gilgil, plus the seasonal Karati rivers which all drain the Aberdare Mountains along with substantial ground-water seepage. The lake has no surface outlet. It is thought that acombination of underground outflow and sedimentation of salts keeps the lake fresh, unlike other endorheic lakes in the eastern Rift Valley.
It is the highest of the Rift Valley Lakes at 1,880 m, the second largest freshwater lake and one of the only two freshwater lakes in Kenya.
The fascinating bird life of over 350 species is supported by the availability of dense vegetation at the lake edge. Papyrus fringes the main lake’s shore and cloaks the inlets of the Gilgil and Malewa rivers. There are large floating, wind-driven rafts of the exotic water-hyacinth Eichhornia crassipes, usually concentrated in the south-west sector. Submerged macrophytes sometimes occur in large beds, mainly in the shallow eastern part, but these vary greatly in extent. Naivasha is a fluctuating lake with recorded evidence results indicating a 6 m fall between the years of 1926 it 1990's.
Bird Watching Lake Naivasha Ramser Site
The fresh water of Lake Naivasha holds a healthy fish population which attracts an astonishing number of water depending birds. Up to 30,600 waterfowl have been recorded at this site.
The lake itself supports a diverse waterbird community, with more than 80 species regularly recorded during censuses. Many species of duck and Palearctic waders occur in numbers; Palearctic ducks are especially abundant in November and February. The lake is known for its high density of African Fish Eagles which nest in the surrounding Acacia woodland. Regionally threatened species include Podiceps cristatus, Oxyura maccoa, Anhinga rufa, Casmerodius albus, Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis, Thalassornis leuconotus, Porzana pusilla, Rynchops flavirostris,and the Phalacrocorax carbo. Globally threatened species include, Grey-crested Helmeted-shrike, Basra Reed Warbler, Lesser Flamingo, along with large congregations of Red-knobbed Coot, African Spoonbill and Little Grebe.
Lake Naivasha also has Hippopotamuses and one Rift Valley endemic snake species among other wildlife.
Common Squacco Heron (Ardeola ralloides)
The Common Squacco Heron is a palearctic migrant, breeding in southern Europe and Greater Middle East, and wintering in Africa.
This small heron is stocky with a short neck, short thick bill and buff-brown back, growing to 44–47 cm long (bill tip to tail, 20–23 cm width and 80–92 cm of wingspan.
The Squacco Heron breeds in marshy wetland habitats of warm countries. The birds nest in small colonies, often with other wading birds, usually on platforms of sticks in trees or shrubs where they lay up to 3-4 eggs.
Their diet consist of fish, frogs and insects.