Nairobi National Park established in 1746, is today Kenya’s oldest Game Park. Lying only 7 km away from Nairobi capital city, the park surprisingly still has varied habitats which include open, rolling grass plains, riverine woodland, valley thicket and bush, artificial dams and ponds, rocky gorges and upland dry forest. The park is fenced along three sides, where it is adjacent to urban housing, industry, roads and airports; only the southern border, along the Embakasi and Athi rivers, is open for animal dispersal. Ecologically, the park is intimately linked to the Kitengela and Athi- Kapiti plains, which adjoin it to the south, forming a single ecological unit.
Birdwatching Nairobi National Park
Nairobi National Park has a diverse avifauna with checklist of over 520 bird species. One of the eight species of Kenya Mountains Endemic Bird Area, 27 species of the 94 Somali–Masai biome, and 25 species of the 67 African Highlands biome that occur in Kenya, have been recorded in the area. Migrating Lesser Falcons roost at the site in large numbers (Over 5,000 individuals have been recorded at a time), and the park’s substantial area of undisturbed grassland is of great importance for species such as the restricted-range Jackson’s Widowbird, which breeds here regularly after good rains. The globally threatened Corncrake, Madagascar Pond-Heron, Lesser Kestrel, Corncrake, Jackson’s Widowbird, Red-throated Tit and the near threatened Shoebill Stork and Basra Reed Warbler have both been spotted. Regionally threatened species include Struthio camelus, Hieraaetus ayresii, Stephanoaetus coronatus, Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis, Polemaetus bellicosus, Anhinga rufa, Casmerodius albus, Podica senegalensis, and Buphagus africanus.
Other wildlife at Nairobi National Park, include healthy populations of large mammals among which include Zebras, Wildebeests, Elands which are July–August migrants into the park and African Lions, Cape Buffaloes, Leopards, Nile Crocodiles, Cheetahs, Hippopotamus and some more who are residents.
The park is a rhino sanctuary and numbers of the Black Rhino are steadily increasing.
White-throated Bee-eater (Merops albicollis)
The very gregarious White-throated Bee-eaters grow to 19–21 cm length, excluding the tail streamers, which can exceed an additional 21 cm length.
Sexes are similar and weigh between 20 and 28 grams.
White-throated Bee-eaters breeds in dry sandy open country, where nest colonially in sandy banks or open flat areas. They make a relatively long 1–2 m tunnel in which 6 to 7 spherical white eggs are laid. Both the male and the female take care of the eggs, but up to five helpers also assist with caring for the young.
Predominantly, they eat insects, especially bees, wasps, ants, beetles and hornets, which are caught in the air by sorties from an open perch.