About ShotsByShema

ShotsByShema is a photographic blog and info website by Sidney Shema - an ornithologist and freelance birding guide based in Kenya.

On this website you will find a wide range of resources for people who love birds and birding; including educational blog articles, helpful book reviews, equipment recommendations, gift merchandise, and much more.

Although Kenya (and, more broadly, Africa) is the main focal area as this is where Sidney is based and knows best, the aim is to connect with birders from around the world.

Sidney uses his photos as much as possible but also supplements some articles with photos from others (all credits given) where necessary.

We hope that this blog helps you to learn more about birds, to sharpen your birding skills, and simply to enjoy birding even more than you already do!


Sidney is an ornithologist and birding guide who grew up, and lives, in Kenya.

He is a keen birder, naturalist, and wildlife photography enthusiast with close to a decade of experience birding in Kenya and other parts of Africa, having began birding in 2014.

His love for wildlife overall, however, stretches back much further to his early childhood years when he would enjoy school trips to national parks and also loved watching wildlife documentary films.

He has managed and coordinated the Kenya Bird Map project, a citizen science project documenting the distribution and status of all bird species across Kenya, since November 2017.

He has a particularly strong interest in predators and, naturally, the group of birds that interests him most is the birds of prey (raptors) as they are the top avian predators.

He is has been a National Geographic Explorer since 2017. He recently studied the Secretarybird Sagittarius serpentarius as part of his National Geographic Photo Ark EDGE Fellowship, with NatGeo and the Zoological Society of London, from 2020 to 2022.

He is also very keen on the raptors of the Athi Plains in southern Kenya, which he studied from 2015 to 2018 and continues to monitor on a more casual basis.

Sidney also takes part in several other ornithological projects ranging from general bird surveys to waterbird counts and ringing of both resident and migratory birds, many of these with the Ornithology Section of the National Museums of Kenya.

His articles and photos on birds and other wildlife have appeared in the Giving Nature A Voice documentary series, the National Geographic blog, Swara (The East African Wild Life Society magazine), Komba (the Wildlife Clubs of Kenya magazine), Kenya Birding (Nature Kenya magazine), The Fledgling (Youth Africa Birding magazine), The Explorer, Mazingira Yetu Magazine, the Saturday Nation, the East African, and more.

He has also authored and co-authored several peer-reviewed papers in various journals and scientific publications including Scopus: Journal of East African Ornithology, Ostrich: Journal of African Ornithology, and Vulture News.

He is on the Bird Committee of Nature Kenya (the East Africa Natural History Society) and on the African Bird Names Committee. His is also an active bird ringer as part of the Ringing Scheme of East Africa.

He has also served on the Board of Trustees of the Friends of Nairobi National Park (FoNNaP) and remains passionate about the conservation of Nairobi National Park.

As a guide, he holds a Bronze badge from the Kenya Professional Safari Guides Association (KPSGA) and has guided several birding tours in Kenya.

He offers his tour guiding services on a freelance basis to both individuals/private groups and companies/organizations.

He also offers other freelance ornithological services for bird research and other bird-related projects. He has made photographic bird posters for companies such as Qaribu Inn and Kenya Open Golf, and has also worked on a consultant basis with various bird research projects in Kajiado, Laikipia, Meru, Lake Turkana, and other parts of Kenya. He has also helped train birders on the identification of raptors and other birds on various occasions, including the annual Fundamentals of Ornithology course.

To hire Sidney Shema's services for your birding tour, bird research, or other bird project, please contact info@shotsbyshema.com.