The three East African countries of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania are justly famous for their rich avifauna which includes approximately 150 species which visit the area from the Palaearctic Region as well as a large and varied Ethiopian element. The ornithological literature pertaining to the area is surprisingly sparse; the present paper is an attempt to clarify the distributional knowledge of the less common Palaearctic migrants. The most widely used reference work covering the three countries is that of Mackworth-Praed & Grant (1957, 1960) although this book deals with several extra-liminal territories as well as East Africa proper. A serious limitation of Mackworth-Praed & Grant is that very few definitive records are given. The most useful reference dealing with Kenya and Uganda is Jackson (1938); Jackson's distributional notes are based upon recorded specimens which, although not usually dated precisely, can frequently be located in the earlier literature or in museums. Tanganyika (mainland Tanzania) and Zanzibar were excluded from Jackson's work although Moreau produced a most excellent account of all the migrants to Tanzania at about the same time (Moreau 1937). Definitive records for the three countries were brought up to date therefore, to just before the Second World War. Since that time the birds of East Africa have been poorly documented, in marked contrast to those of Zambia which have received detailed attention by several workers, especially by C. W. Benson.