Lake Naivasha

This lake lies in the Rift Valley, some 80 km north of Nairobi and consists of a shallow freshwater lake and its fringing acacia woodland. It can be accessed easily from Great Rift Valley Lodge where our specialist birding guides shares their local knowledge with you.

It is a prime site for waterbirds with 80 species recorded during counts with significant numbers of Red-knobbed Coot Fulica cristata, African Spoonbill Platalea alba and Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis. It is one of several IBAs in the Rift Valley. At 1880 metres above sea level, Lake Naivasha is the highest of the Rift Valley Lakes.  It is the second largest freshwater lake in Kenya and one of only two freshwater lakes in the rift valley, the other being L. Baringo.  Lake Naivasha is unusual in having no known outlet, normally a prerequisite for a freshwater lake! The lake edge supports dense vegetation which, in turn, supports a thriving bird population including the Grey-capped Warbler, Spectacled Weaver, Brimstone Canary and Red-billed Firefinch. All told the area has a bird list of over 350 species.

Being a freshwater lake, Naivasha has a healthy fish population which attracts a variety of fish-eaters. Both Long-tailed and Great Cormorants can be seen, along with Fish Eagles and Pied Kingfishers. One of the memorable sights for you will be a chance to watch Black Herons feeding on the lake. They are one of the bird species which form a canopy over their heads with their wings when feeding. This is presumably to reduce the surface glare or maybe to trick small fish and insects into believing that they are a shady sanctuary.

Naivasha is also a good place to see the Grey-backed fiscal. This bird replaces the Long-tailed Fiscal in areas with higher rainfall. Also to be seen in the area is the Black-lored Babbler. The Naivasha race tends to show pale tipped feathers on their heads which this gives them a somewhat frosty effect. It is believed that this variation may be the result of hybridization with Northern Pied Babblers at some point in the past.

The Naivasha region also supports a large population of Lovebirds. These are mainly hybrids of Fischer’s and the Yellow-Collared Lovebird. In the main these populations have been established as a result of the escape (and deliberate release) of cage birds (both Fischer’s and the Yellow-collared Lovebird are native Tanzanian species).
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