Birds. A picture of the superb starling on a bird feeder at Ambokili Farm in Kimana, Kajiado County. The bird is perched on the bird feeder on one of the trees in Ambokili Farm.

As Ambokili Farm pursues its mission of restoring degraded land, one of the key focus areas is increasing biodiversity in the semi-arid land of Kimana, Kajiado County, Kenya. By embracing sustainable, organic agriculture, plant and wildlife conservation, Ambokili Farm not only cultivates crops but sustains life. Here, in this carefully curated ecosystem, the laughter of children mingles with the chirping symphony of birds. Amongst these feathered denizens, one stands out in its resplendent glory—the Superb Starling (Lamprotornis superbus), a true testament to nature’s artistry and Ambokili’s success story. 

Why Kimana is a Starling Bird Paradise

Known for its iridescent blue-green plumage and a personality as vivid as its colors, this bird is not just a treat for the eyes but also an integral part of our ecosystem. But what draws these stunning birds to our farm, and why does the Kimana area provide an ideal environment for their thriving existence? 

The superb starling lives in the savanna, thornbush and acacia arid areas, open woodland, lakeshore woodlands, gardens and cultivated fields, at an elevation of 0–2,650m (0–8,694 ft) above sea level. They tend to avoid humid lowland areas. This species is commonly be found in East Africa. Superb Starlings typically occupy large territories, often exceeding 50 hectares (0.50 km2). When they are not on their territories, they are usually searching for food or heading to water sources. Their group can have more than 40 individuals. 

With its scattered bushes, indigenous trees, and open grasslands, the Kimana area offers an abundance of resources and shelter for these birds to flourish. Additionally, the farm’s commitment to organic farming practices ensures a pesticide-free environment, allowing native flora and fauna, including the Superb Starling, to thrive without harmful chemical interference. 

Building a Bird-Friendly Ecosystem

Ambokili Farm understands that creating a welcoming environment is key to attracting wildlife. 

  • A Feast for Feathered Friends:  

One of our strategic moves at Ambokili Farm has been the installation of bird feeders, which serve as a welcome sign to all birds, offering a cornucopia of seeds and grains as an irresistible buffet for our feathered friends. Inviting them to feast and frolic. These feeders provide a reliable source of food, supplementing the birds’ natural diet and encouraging them to frequent the farm and build nests. 

  • Undisturbed Habitat Areas  

However, our commitment goes beyond mere feeding. By preserving undisturbed habitat areas—thick bushes, indigenous trees, and shrubs—we offer a sanctuary where these birds can thrive. 

  • Providing a Water Source 

Birds need access to clean water for drinking and bathing. Our pond and reserviours provide water for the birds which is essential for their survival especially in dry climates such as that experienced in Kimana. 

  • Chemical-Free Sanctuary:   

Our dedication to organic farming means a complete absence of harmful chemicals. This creates a safe environment for the starlings, free from toxins that could harm their health and breeding success. No harmful chemicals pollute their home, ensuring that our avian friends and their offspring have the healthiest environment possible. 

  • Peaceful Sanctuary 

By focusing on sustainable practices and creating a harmonious environment, Ambokili Farm offers a peaceful haven for birds like the Superb Starling. 

  • Bird-Friendly Farming Practices: 

Our organic farming practices such as crop rotation, cover cropping, and agroforestry encourage the birds to settle around our farm. These practices not only provide habitat for birds but also provide materials for them to build their nests, provide complementary food sources and create a healthy ecosystem they can survive in. 

Our efforts have paid off! Superb Starlings, with their glossy black plumage and iridescent purple patches, are now a regular sight at the farm. They play a vital role in our organic permaculture system: 

Natural Pest Control Agents

The Superb Starling is not just a beautiful addition to our biodiversity; it plays a crucial role in our organic permaculture practices. As natural pest controllers, these birds feast on insects that might otherwise damage our crops. Their diet helps maintain the delicate balance of our ecosystem, reducing our need for manual pest control. 

Boosting Biodiversity

The Superb Starling is just one piece of the puzzle. By attracting them and other bird species, we’re fostering a thriving and diverse community on the farm. This biodiversity strengthens the entire ecosystem. As ambassadors of biodiversity, Superb Starlings enrich the farm ecosystem, adding vibrancy and balance to the intricate web of life at Ambokili Farm. Their presence underscores the interconnectedness of all living beings and highlights the importance of preserving natural habitats for future generations. 

Enriching the Soil:

Bird droppings act as a natural fertiliser, enriching the soil with essential nutrients that benefit our crops. It’s a win-win for both the birds and our organic farming practices! 

The Superb Starling plays a vital role in maintaining healthy soil. Their droppings act as a natural fertiliser, enriching the soil and promoting plant growth. This contributes directly to Ambokili’s mission of achieving self-sustaining, biodiverse ecosystems. 

An Invitation to Nature’s Spectacle

At Ambokili Farm, the symphony of nature is always playing, and the Superb Starling is one of its most colorful performers. We encourage nature lovers and eco-tourists to visit our farm to experience this melody in motion. Watching the Superb Starling in its natural habitat is not just a chance to see wildlife but to witness the success of sustainable, organic farming in action. 

Ambokili Farm welcomes visitors eager to experience the magic of nature. One of the many delights you can enjoy here is birdwatching, with the chance to spot the Superb Starling and many other captivating avian residents. As you stroll through our organic oasis, may you be inspired by the harmonious coexistence between humans, nature, and the magnificent creatures that call Ambokili home.

Join Us

Join us on this journey of transformation, where every wingbeat carries the promise of change, and every chirp heralds a new beginning. 

And remember, when you visit Ambokili Farm, don’t forget to look to the skies, the trees, and the ground; for therein lies the beauty of the Superb Starling—a symbol of hope, resilience, and the boundless potential of a world restored.   

Embark on a journey to Ambokili Farm, where every visit helps support our mission to restore and rejuvenate the land. Experience the joy of wildlife, the beauty of organic farming, and the vibrant community spirit that makes our farm a beacon of hope and sustainability. Come, be a part of our story.

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