When the UK government eased the travel restrictions and removed the traffic light system for foreign travel I decided it was high time to go and see some wildlife, after 18 months of being at home we were looking for places to go in our short (10 night window – including travelling days). After the amazing success of Alex, Jon and Venkats’ trips to Kenya I thought there would be no where better. Royle Safaris has run trips to Kenya before and they have largely been your traditional safari trips. So I wanted to see if a specific more hard-core mammalwatching itinerary could be developed for group tours. If the success of Alex, Jon and Venkat could be repeated I would be looking to add a hardcore mammal focused trip to Kenya to my inventory and run this annually. So we looked at the places which would likely get us the most species in a reasonably sensible route logistically speaking (considering we were limited with time). We decided upon the Aberdares National Park, Meru National Park, Ishaqbini Reserve, Tana River Primate Reserve, Arabuko-Sokoke National Park and Tsavo East National Park.

There was a lot of driving involved and on any group trips we would run in the future we would extend the trip to at least 14 nights and so break up the longer days of travelling with more wildlife watching in between. Our driver Peter was exceptional, never tiring and ever alert and enthusiastic to add new species to his Kenyan mammal list (he is a bat convert now and will go looking for them when possible – although he did say that he would draw the line at looking in people’s toilets for them – unlike me and Zarek), Zarek was our guide and like all guides Royle Safaris’ hires he is hardworking and dedicated to spending time in the field. We did night drives / walks, pre-dawn walks / drives and long hours in the day looking for wildlife at every available opportunity. Where needed we also hired the services of rangers and local guides to take advantage of their local knowledge such as Adnil in Ishaqbini, Sayidi in Tana River Primate Reserve, Jetingo in Watamu and David in Arabuko-Sokoke.

Based on our short time period and the totals that Alex (70+), Jon (80+) and Venkat (surely a record mammalwatching trip of 126!) we set a target of 50-60 mammals and having been to Arabuko and Tsavo East before as well as other areas we would add to the overall mammal trip in future I was confident of many other species I knew we wouldn’t be able to focus on or see on this short trip and we typically do not net or trap for small mammals so that could hinder us. So with a target of 50-60 species we were amazed to find ourselves scanning every rock on our way out of Tsavo East’s gate at the end of the last game drive for a hyrax we could identify as rock hyrax to make our mammal count a nice round 100!! We failed on that, but then got wildebeest and Grant’s gazelle along the side of the highway on the way to Nairobi airport so we broke the hundred mark. Amazingly we had to wait until our 99th mammal species before seeing a lion (yes we nearly went 8 nights in Kenya without seeing lions, but we were not in any places good for them (and many completely without them) for most of the trip and only gave ourselves a few hours in Tsavo East dedicated to looking for them. I think that if we had 100 mammals and no lions I don’t know if I would happy or embarrassed) we were satisfied that the trip had been an overall remarkable success.

Anyone who has read Jon or Venkat’s reports from Kenya in 2021 will know that the bat taxonomy in Kenya is being revised and many of the species have been placed in temporary clades pending further investigation and research. I have followed their taxonomy in this report as I have no bat expertise to superseded their information and knowledge. Also as with all of my bat sightings on any Royle Safaris trip report we include species in the list which we are at least 90% confident with the ID. Some we are 100% confident with but others we make educated (best) guesses based on observation, sonographs, behaviour, habitat and what other people have recorded in those locations previously. But we hold our hands up to some of our bat ID’s as not 100% confirmed, but 90% is good enough for me J.

The bovid taxonomy of some of the species is also a bone of contention for some people, bovid taxonomy has been in flux (to put in politely) for at least the last decade since Groves & Grubb review in 2011 which pretty much elevated all subspecies globally to species level. This was reigned in somewhat by the Mammals Handbook of the World Vol. 2 and is Ramon Castello’s Bovids of the World. I largely follow Mammals Handbook of the World for my taxonomy unless there are newer convincing, conclusive or compelling reports, papers or evidence of splits or clumps in which I amend the list (such as the recent Giraffe splits by Julian Fennessy which is pretty much considered the current taxonomy now), but I accept that some of the splits are not universally accepted such as waterbuck being split into Kobus elliprymnus and K. defassa and the various species of Madoqua throughout the Horn of Africa; in these cases despite it being in the Mammals Handbook of the World Vol. 2 I personally don’t include both species in my list, as I have not seen evidence to suggest they are different species (in my opinion); but happy to be proven wrong as they would provide some new ticks J.

But as I always say to my clients and highlight where possible the species concept is a manmade construct and with at least 4 possible definitions of a species in use today (sometimes all at the same time) I take the approach of what makes the most sense to me and you should do the same. So you may see some of the species listed below and think they are subspecies and you are welcome to regard them as such or see some species here recorded from more than one location which would make the subspecies seen different species according to your taxonomy, again you can do that as you see fit.

We also didn’t try particularly hard for birds, reptiles or amphibians – the ones we did get were incidental.

Species List   Kenya’s Rare Mammals Tour (short scouting trip) Nov 2021

Mammals

 

Common Name Binominal Name   Key: Aberdares (ABE) / Meru (MER) / Ishaqbini (ISH) / Tana River (TAN) / Watamu (WAT) / Arabuko Sokoke (ARA) / Tsavo East (TSA) / Nairobi Grasslands (NGL)
 

 

ABE MER ISH TAN WAT ARA TSA NGL
1 Common Impala Aepyceros melampus * *
2 Banana Serotine Afronycteris nanus *
3 Coke’s Hartebeest Alcelaphus cokii * *
4 Southern Lesser Kudu Ammelaphus australis * * *
5 Nairobi Grass Rat Arvicanthis nairobae *
6 Somali Grass Rat Arvicanthis somalicus *
7 Four-toed Hedgehog Atelerix albiventris *
8 Hirola Beatragus hunteri *
9 Black-backed Jackal Canis mesomelas * * *
ma10 Heart-nosed Bat Cardioderma cor *
11 Harvey’s Duiker Cephalophus harveyi *
12 Mount Kenya Duiker Cephalophus hooki *
13 White Rhino Ceratotherium simum *
14 Tana River Mangabey Cercocebus galeritus *
15 Syke’s Monkey Cercopithecus albogularis * * * * * *
16 Little Free-tailed Bat Chaerephon pumilus *
17 Vervet Monkey Chlorocebus pygerythrus * *
18 African Civet Civettictis civetta *
19 African Sheathtail Bat Coleura afra *
20 Mantled Colobus Colobus guereza *
21 Eastern White-bearded Wildebeest Connochaetes albojubatus *
22 Spotted Hyena Crocuta crocuta * *
23 Southern Tree Hyrax Dendrohyrax arboreus *
24 Chestnut Climbing Mouse Dendromus mystacalis *
25 African Straw-coloured Fruit Bat Eidolon helvum *
26 East African Epauletted Fruit Bat Epomophorus minimus *
27 Plains Zebra Equus quagga * * * * *
28 Thompson Gazelle Eudorcas thomsonii * *
29 Striped Ground Squirrel Euxerus erythropus * *
30 Somali Dwarf Galago Galago gallarum * *
31 Senegal Galago Galago senegalensis *
32 Common Genet Genetta genetta * *
33 Blotched Genet Genetta maculata * *
34 Reticulated Giraffe Giraffa reticulata * *
35 Masai Giraffe Giraffa tippelskirchi * *
36 East African Thicket Rat Grammomys ibeanus *
37 Zanj Sun Squirrel Heliosciurus undulatus *
38 Somali Dwarf Mongoose Helogale hirtula *
39 Common Dwarf Mongoose Helogale parvula * *
40 Naked Mole Rat Heterocephalus glaber *
41 Bush Hyrax Heterohyrax brucei * * *
42 Common Hippopotamus Hippopotamus amphibius * *
43 Cape/Sundervall’s Roundleaf Bat Hipposideros caffer clade 2 *
44 Cape/Noack’s Roundleaf Bat Hipposideros caffer clade 5 *
45 Giant Forest Hog Hylochoerus meinertzhageni *
46 African Crested Porcupine Hystrix cristata Sign only
47 White-tailed Mongoose Ichneumia albicauda *
48 Waterbuck Kobus ellipsiprymnus * * * *
49 Yellow-winged Bat Lavia frons *
50 Serval Leptailurus serval *
51 Cape Hare Lepus capensis * *
52 East African Savanna Hare Lepus victoriae *
53 Southern Gerenuk Litocranius walleri * * *
54 African Bush Elephant Loxadonta africana * * *
55 Striped Leaf-nosed Bat Macronycteris vittatus *
56 Kirk’s Dik-dik Madoqua kirkii * * * *
57 Greater Bentwing Bat Miniopterus inflatus clade 5 *
58 Least Bentwing Bat Miniopterus minor clade 2 *
59 Natal Long-fingered Bat Miniopterus natalensis clade 7 * *
60 Angolan Free-tailed Bat Mops condylurus *
61 Mida’s Free-tailed Bat Mops midas *
62 Dwarf Free-tailed Bat Mops nanulus *
63 Banded Mongoose Mungos mungo *
64 Bright’s Gazelle Nanger brighti *
65 Peter’s Gazelle Nanger petersi *
66 Grant’s Gazelle Nanger granti *
67 Somali Serotine Neoromicia somalicus *
68 Mountain Suni Neotragus kirchenpaueri * *
69 Coastal Suni Neotragus moschatus * *
70 Large-eared Slit-faced Bat Nycteris macrotis *
71 Egyptian Slit-faced Bat Nycteris thebaica *
72 Aardvark Orycteropus afer Sign only
73 Fringe-eared Oryx Oryx callotis *
74 Small-eared Galago Otolemur garnettii * * * *
75 Lion Panthera leo *
76 Leopard Panthera pardus * *
77 Olive Baboon Papio anubis * * * *
78 Yellow Baboon Papio cynocephalus * *
79 Kenyan Coast Galago Paragalago cocos * *
80 Ochre Bush Squirrel Paraxerus ochraceus * *
81 Red Bush Squirrel Paraxerus palliatus *
82 Four-toed Elephant Shrew Petrodromus tetradactylus *
83 Desert Warthog Phacochoerus aethiopicus * *
84 Common Warthog Phacochoerus africanus * * * *
85 Tana River Red Colobus Piliocolobus rufomitratus * *
86 Aardwolf Proteles cristata Sign only
87 Bohor Reedbuck Redunca redunca *
88 Ruppell’s Horseshoe Bat Rhinolophus fumigatus *
89 Hildebrand’s Horseshoe Bat Rhinolophus hildebrandtii *
90 Golden-rumped Elephant Shrew Rhynchocyon chrysopygus *
91 African Yellow Bat Scotophilus dinganii *
92 Schreber’s Yellow Bat Scotophilus nigrita *
93 Common Duiker Sylvicapra grimmia * *
94 Cape Buffalo Syncerus caffer * * * *
95 East African (King) Mole Rat Tachyoryctes splendens rex *
96 Egyptian Free-tailed Bat Tadarida aegyptiaca *
97 Hildegarde’s Tomb Bat Taphozous hildegardeae *
98 Egyptian Tomb-bat Taphozous perforatus *
99 Emin’s Gerbil Taterillus emini *
100 Common Eland Taurotragus oryx * * *
101 Eastern Coastal Bushbuck Tragelaphus fasciatus *
102 Cape Bushbuck Tragelaphus sylvaticus * *
103 African Trident Bat Triaenops afer *
104 Unstriped Ground Squirrel Xerus rutilus * * *

 

Note: Some bats identified 100% at roosts or with good views. Others identified with spectrograms in combination with sightings (no spectrograms without visual confirmation are recorded as a sighting), behaviour and habitat – so not 100% but best educated guesses. For more information please email me.

 

Birds

 

  Common Name Binominal Name   Key: Aberdares (ABE) / Meru (MER) / Ishaqbini (ISH) / Tana River (TAN) / Watamu (WAT) / Arabuko Sokoke (ARA) / Tsavo East (TSA)
 

 

ABE MER ISH TAN WAT ARA TSA
1 Vulterine Guineafowl Acryllium vulturinum * * *
2 Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos * *
3 Eygptian Goose Alopochen aegyptiaca *
4 African Openbill Anastomus lamelligerus *
5 Long-billed Pipit Anthus similis *
6 Tawny Eagle Aquila rapax * *
7 Great Egret Ardea alba * *
8 Black-faced Heron Ardea melanocephala *
9 Kori Bustard Ardeotis kori *
10 Hadeda Ibis Bostrychia hagedash * * * * * * *
11 Verreuax’s Eagle Owl Bubo lacteus *
12 Western Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis * * *
13 Southern Ground Hornbill Bucorvus leadbeateri *
14 Red-billed Oxpecker Buphagus erythrorynchus * *
15 Spotted Thick-knee Burhinus capensis * * * *
16 Augur Buzzard Buteo augur * *
17 Common Buzzard Buteo buteo *
18 Mountain Buzzard Buteo oreophilus *
19 Striated Heron Butorides striata *
20 Silver-cheeked Hornbill Bycanistes brevis *
21 Trumpeter Hornbill Bycanistes bucinator * *
22 Slender-tailed Nightjar Caprimulgus clarus * *
23 Fiery-necked Nightjar Caprimulgus pectoralis *
24 Montane Nightjar Caprimulgus poliocephalus *
25 Red-rumped Swallow Cecropis daurica * *
26 White-browed Coucal Centropus superciliosus * *
27 White-browed Scrub-robin Cercotrichas leucophrys *
28 Yellowbill Ceuthmochares aereus *
29 Amethyst sunbird Chalcomitra amethystina *
30 Rosy-breasted Bush-shrike Chlorophoneus sulfureopectus *
31 Marico’s Sunbird Cinnyris mariquensis *
32 Eastern Double-collared Sunbird Cinnyris mediocris *
33 Northern Double-collared Sunbird Cinnyris reichenowi *
34 Brown Snake Eagle Circaetus cinereus *
35 Black-chested Snake Eagle Circaetus pectoralis *
36 Pallid Harrier Circus macrourus *
37 Rattling Cisticola Cisticola chiniana *
38 Hunter’s Cisticola Cisticola hunteri *
39 White-headed Mousebird Colius leucocephalus * *
40 Speckled Mousebird Colius striatus * * *
41 Speckled Pigeon Columba guinea *
42 Feral Pigeon Columba livia *
43 Lilac-breasted Roller Coracias caudatus * * * * *
44 European Roller Coracias garrulus * *
45 Pied Crow Corvus albus * * * * *
46 Cape Rook Corvus capensis * *
47 House Crow Corvus splendens * *
48 Cape Robin-chat Cossypha caffra *
49 Wattled Starling Creatophora cinerea *
50 White-bellied Go-away-bird Crinifer leucogaster * * *
51 African Cuckoo Cuculus gularis *
52 Somali Courser Cursorius somalensis *
53 Common House Martin Delichon urbicum *
54 Cardinal Woodpecker Dendropicos fuscescens *
55 Fork-tailed Drongo Dicrurus adsimilis * * * *
56 White-headed Buffalo-weaver Dinemellia dinemelli * * * * *
57 Golden-winged Sunbird Drepanorhynchus reichenowi *
58 Saddle-billed Stork Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis *
59 Northern White-crowned Shrike Eurocephalus ruppelli *
60 Broad-billed Roller Eurystomus glaucurus *
61 Greater Kestrel Falco rupicoloides *
62 Crested Guineafowl Guttera pucherani *
63 Palm Nut Vulture Gypohierax angolensis *
64 Grey-headed Kingfisher Halcyon leucocephala * * * *
65 African Fish Eagle Haliaeetus vocifer * *
66 Wahlberg’s Eagle Hieraaetus wahlbergi *
67 Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus *
68 Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica * * * * *
69 Lizard Buzzard Kaupifalco monogrammicus * *
70 Red-billed Firefinch Lagonosticta senegala *
71 Greater Blue-eared Starling Lamprotornis chalybaeus * * * * * * *
72 Ruppell’s Long-tailed Starling Lamprotornis purpuroptera * *
73 Golden-winged Starling Lamprotornis regius *
74 Superb Starling Lamprotornis superbus * * * * * * *
75 Tropical Boubou Laniarius major *
76 Northern Fiscal Lanius humeralis * * *
77 Isabelline Shrike Lanius isabellinus *
78 Long-tailed Shrike Lanius schach *
79 Marabou Stork Leptoptilos crumenifer * * * *
80 Hartlaub’s Bustard Lissotis hartlaubii *
81 Black-bellied Bustard Lissotis melanogaster *
82 Long Crested Eagle Lophaetus occipitalis * *
83 African Grey Hornbill Lophoceros nasutus *
84 Buff-crested Bustard Lophotis gindiana *
85 White-eyed Slaty Flycatcher Melaenornis fischeri *
86 African Grey Flycatcher Melaenornis microrhynchus *
87 Eastern Chanting Goshawk Melierax poliopterus * * *
88 White-throated Bee-eater Merops albicollis * * * *
89 European Bee-eater Merops apiaster * *
90 Northern Carmine Bee-eater Merops nubicus *
91 Little Bee-eater Merops pusillus *
92 Long-tailed Cormorant Microcarbo africanus *
93 Gabar Goshawk Micronisus gabar *
94 Black Kite Milvus migrans * * *
95 African Pied Wagtail Motacilla aguimp * * * * * *
96 Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea *
97 Yellow-billed Stork Mycteria ibis *
98 Northern Ant-eater Chat Myrmecocichla aethiops * * *
99 Malachite Sunbird Nectarinia famosa *
100 Scarlet-tufted Malachite Sunbird Nectarinia johnstoni *
101 Orange-bellied Parrot Neophema chrysogaster *
102 Helmeted Guineafowl Numida meleagris * * * * *
103 Namaqua Dove Oena capensis * *
104 Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe * *
105 Red-winged Starling Onychognathus morio *
106 Crested Francolin Ortygornis sephaena * * * *
107 African Scops Owl Otus senegalensis *
108 Kenyan Rufous Sparrow Passer rufocinctus * *
109 Pink-backed Pelican Pelecanus rufescens *
110 Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus *
111 Cabanis’s greenbul Phyllastrephus cabanisi *
112 African spoonbill Platalea alba *
113 Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus *
114 White-browed Sparrow-weaver Plocepasser mahali * * * *
115 Baglafecht Weaver Ploceus baglafecht * *
116 Village Weaver Ploceus cucullatus * * * * * *
117 Lesser Masked Weaver Ploceus intermedius *
118 Vitelline Masked Weaver Ploceus vitellinus * *
119 White-starred Robin Pogonocichla stellata *
120 Martial Eagle Polemaetus bellicosus *
121 Black Sawwing Psalidoprocne pristoptera * *
122 Jackson’s Francolin Pternistis jacksoni *
123 Yellow-necked Spurfowl Pternistis leucoscepus * *
124 Scaly Francolin Pternistis squamatus *
125 Black-faced Sandgrouse Pterocles decoratus *
126 Common Bulbul Pycnonotus barbatus * *
127 Plain Martin Riparia paludicola * * * * *
128 Secretarybird Sagittarius serpentarius *
129 Winchat Saxicola rubetra *
130 Hammerkop Scopus umbretta * *
131 Laughing Dove Spilopelia senegalensis * * * * * * *
132 Crowned Eagle Stephanoaetus coronatus *
133 Ring-necked Dove Streptopelia capicola * * *
134 Dusky Turtle Dove Streptopelia lugens *
135 Red-collared Dove Streptopelia tranquebarica * *
136 African Wood Owl Strix woodfordii *
137 Somali Ostrich Struthio molybdophanes * *
138 Northern Crombec Sylvietta brachyura *
139 Green Crombec Sylvietta virens *
140 Hartlaub’s Turaco Tauraco hartlaubi *
141 Black-crowned Tchagra Tchagra senegalus * *
142 Doherty’s Bushshrike Telophorus dohertyi *
143 Sulphur-breasted Bushshrike Telophorus sulfureopectus *
144 Bateleur Terathopius ecaudatus * *
145 African paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone viridis * * *
146 African Sacred Ibis Threskiornis aethiopicus *
147 Golden Pipit Tmetothylacus tenellus *
148 Von Der Decken’s Hornbill Tockus deckeni * * * *
149 Northern Red-billed Hornbill Tockus erythrorhynchus * * * *
150 East Yellow-billed Hornbill Tockus flavirostris *
151 Lappet-faced Vulture Torgos tracheliotos *
152 African Green Pigeon Treron calvus *
153 Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola *
154 Arrow-marked Babbler Turdoides jardineii * * * *
155 Emerald Spotted Wood-dove Turtur chalcospilos * *
156 Red-cheeked Cordon-bleu Uraeginthus bengalus * * *
157 Blue-naped Mousebird Urocolius macrourus *
158 Crowned Lapwing Vanellus coronatus * * *
159 Spur-winged Lapwing Vanellus spinosus * * * * *
160 Eastern Paradise Whydah Vidua paradisaea *
161 Black Crake Zapornia flavirostra *

 

Reptiles

 

  Common Name Binominal Name   Key: Aberdares (ABE) / Meru (MER) / Ishaqbini (ISH) / Tana River (TAN) / Watamu (WAT) / Arabuko Sokoke (ARA) / Tsavo East (TSA)
 

 

ABE MER ISH TAN WAT ARA TSA
1 Blue-headed Tree Agama Acanthocerus atricollis *
2 Red-headed Rock Agama Agama agama * *
3 Nile Crocodile Crocodylus niloticus *
4 Great-plated Lizard Gerrhosaurus major *
5 Tropical House Gecko Hemidactylus mabouia * * *
6 Yellow-headed Dwarf Gecko Lygodactylus luteopicturatus *
7 White-headed Dwarf Gecko Lygodactylus picturatus *
8 African Helmeted Terrapin Pelomedusa subrufa *
9 Leopard Tortoise Stigmochelys pardalis *
10 Nile Monitor Varanus niloticus * * *

 

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