A preliminary assessment of the potential risks from electrical infrastructure to large birds in Kenya

  • J Smallie
  • M Z Virani


A rapid risk assessment of the interactions between Kenya’s large birds and electrical infrastructure was conducted around Magadi and Naivasha in Kenya in January 2009. Six out of the seven <132 kV distribution pole designs assessed pose an electrocution risk to medium and large-sized birds. Several sites of high bird collision risk were identified. Several of the observed >132 kV transmission tower structures were vulnerable to electrical faulting caused by birds. Of approximately 24 relevant bird species that are of conservation concern in Kenya, 17 (71 %) face a high risk of direct interactions with electrical infrastructure. Priority species for attention include the Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus, White-headed Vulture Trigonoceps occipitalis, Lappet-faced Vulture Torgos tracheliotos, Grey-crowned Crane Balearica regulorum, Lesser Flamingo Phoeniconaias minor, White-backed Vulture Gyps africanus, Rüppell’s Vulture Gyps rueppellii, Martial Eagle Polemaetus bellicosus, White Stork Ciconia ciconia, Secretarybird Sagittarius serpentarius, and various sit-and-wait raptors. These preliminary findings have national relevance given plans (already underway) for a rapid expansion of electrical infrastructure in Kenya; recommendations are made for a national response to this matter.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2313-1799
print ISSN: 0250-4162