Working in closer partnership with the Kenya Forest Service, the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is taking huge steps in safeguarding the future of the Kibwezi Forest and the Umani Springs. Above many conservation activities taking place within the Forest, the DSWT is investing time and resources into researching and collecting data on the Forest’s fauna and flora whilst monitoring environmental changes and variations.
During the month of October, Terry Stevenson, one of East Africa’s most highly respected ornithologists based in Kenya made a visit to the Kibwezi Forest to study the area and compile a common bird list, which will also be available for any guests staying at the DSWT’s Umani Springs eco-property.
Terry is the senior author of the Field Guide to the Birds of East Africa: Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi. He is also co-author to Birds of the Horn of Africa: Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Somalia and Socotra. Terry is a member/advisor to the Bird Committee of Nature Kenya and the East African Rarities Committee and on November 30, 1986, he set a new World Big Day record with 342 species in one day in Kenya; the record stands today.
Despite visiting the Kibwezi Forest during the dry season, Terry spotted nearly 80 different bird species within one morning whilst compiling a more comprehensive common bird list of the Forest totaling nearly 200 species.
The rarest of Terry’s discoveries during his visit was a Long-legged Buzzard, which was sighted not far from Umani Springs Lodge. This rare migratory bird had flown from Eastern Europe and was a surprise to see so far south from where it is usually sighted. Another exciting find was the Purple-crested Turaco, which was spotted on a beautiful fruiting Fig Tree, which is one of the Forest’s twelve Ficus tree species. Several of these very localized and striking Turacos were eating the figs from the tree amongst Spot-flanked Barbets, Yellow-bellied Greenbuls, Common Bulbuls and Trumpeter Hornbills, which were all gorging on the tree’s delicious and abundant fruits.
The Forest is also home to five spectacular species of Hornbills, which are easily spotted and heard throughout the area, on top of some additionally exciting finds including the Retz Helmet Shrike, the Lead-Coloured Flycatcher and the Blackheaded Batis.
The Kibwezi Forest is truly a wonderful environment to enjoy some of Kenya’s most beautiful bird species. The Umani Springs property offers exclusive access to the Forest and the opportunity to take many different walks through the Forest’s diverse habitats, enjoying not only the birds but everything this remarkable ecosystem has to offer to the discerning traveller.
For more information about the DSWT’s Umani Springs property please look through our online guide here: