African Finfoot

  • SCIENTIFIC NAME: Podica senegalensis

  • SWAHILI NAME: Kiguudau

Out of the corner of your eye, you see movement along the edge of a river. You turn and see…a splash. You have almost spotted the shy and secretive African finfoot. Consider yourself lucky. Usually, this furtive bird slips out of sight without even leaving a splash.

African Finfoot

African Finfoot



Daily Rhythm




Conservation Status

Lower risk


26 in (66 cm) long

African Finfoot

Listen to the sounds of the African Finfoot

Trivia Question

How is the behavior of the African finfoot best described?


The African finfoot is a shy reclusive bird that prefers secluded areas. It lives with one matenot in a flock.

Social Structure

The reclusive African finfoot lives with a mate, not in a flock.


The call of this clandestine bird is a series of progressively deeper nasal barks that is seldom heard.


The African finfoot nests in solitary pairs that are territorial.


The African finfoot eats mostly aquatic invertebrates, including the larval stage. Also on its menu: spiders, millipedes, crabs, shrimps, prawns, small snails, frogs, small fish, snakes, and some aquatic vegetation.


Male and female finfoots build a nest of reeds and twigs in a tree along the shore—usually on a branch 3 to 13 feet (1 to 4 m) above the water.

Population in Kenya

In Kenya, the African finfoot is found mostly in the southwest. Several of these birds frequent Mpala’s hippo pool.

Range & Habitat

The African finfoot lives in secluded areas along lakes, rivers, and streams in southern, western, and central Africa. These aquatic birds prefer waterways with thickly wooded banks that provide hiding places.

Did you know?

The African finfoot times its breeding so that it coincides with high-water levels in its habitat.