Kenya’s avifauna is one of the better studied in Africa, second probably only to South Africa. Despite this, and whilst there are many bird watchers active in Kenya and thousands of tourists visit Kenya specifically for ornithological safaris, we still know very little about changes that have occurred in species’ distribution and status over the past 25-50 years. Range extensions and contractions have been noted but only from ad hoc observations. While records of birds found in Kenya are very much up to date, a real gap exists in our understanding of avian distributions and the contribution of changing global climate on observed species distribution patterns.
Over a timeline of 2 years based at the Natural History Museum of Denmark, during which the applicant will initiate the project and receive thorough training in the techniques required to achieve the project, followed by a third year return to the National Museums of Kenya, where the applicant will transfer these techniques to local parties who will be vital to the continual expansion of the project, this proposed project will provide the applicant with the required training to enable him to take community based observational data, and use it in order to deliver a demand driven, continually evolving web-based bird atlas for Kenya. In addition to mapping the current avian diversity, the atlas will contain climate-based species niche modelling and genetic data, in order to provide a comprehensive view of the avifauna and its future prospects. This will consolidate the position of the host institute as one of the most innovative Natural History Museums in the world, in particular with regards to moving away from standard ‘collecting’ to innovative new ways of bringing natural history to the public.