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Location Kenya, Rift Valley Province
Central coordinates 36o 31.50' East  1o 46.38' South
IBA criteria A1
Area 2,000 ha
Altitude 500 - 1,250m
Year of IBA assessment 2012


Summary Kwenia is situated in Kajiado District, Southern Kenya, aproximately 80km south of Nairobi. Rainfall is bimodal with annual average of 600mm, increasing with elevation from 500mm in the plains to 1,250 mm in the highlands. Tempartaure also vary with altitude and range from 12 degres in the highlands to 34 degreess in plains.

Site description Vulture populations have been declining globally. Three species of Gyps vultures breed in sub-Saharan Africa, and all have declining populations; regional declines have been reported in Western, Southern and Eastern Africa. Ruppell's Vulture and White-backed Vulture are listed as 'Near Threatened' and their numbers have declined by 52% in and around the Mara Serengeti ecosystem.

Key Biodiversity A large breeding colony of Ruppell's Vulture has been monitored since 2002 to 2009. Around 150-200 adults have been present on each visit, with up to 64 simultaneous active nests. Ruppell's Vulture was formerly distributed throught Kenya, with breeding being restricted to a relatively small number of cliffs scattered in the southern and northern parts of the country. Considering the size of the Kwenia colony, the site may act as an important focal point for Ruppell's Vulture in Southern Kenya and Northern Tanzania.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Rüppell's Vulture Gyps rueppelli resident  2002-2009  150-200 adults only  good  A1  Critically Endangered 


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Rocky areas   90%

Land ownership Communal

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
rangeland/pastureland 80%
Notes: The predominant land use in the area is pastoral herding of goats and cattle.

Protection status Not protected

Acknowledgements The Peregrine Fund's Pan African Raptor Conservation programme, The Masai Community leaving in Kwenia, Kilonito, and Elanguata Was area of Kajiado and Magadi districts especially Magdalene and Titus, Mr Kores of the Kajiado County Council and Steven Okiri of the Magadi Soda Company plus the numerous volunteers who collected data.

References Munir et al, Bird Conservation International 2012. Seasonal variation in breeding Ruppell's Vulture Gpys rueppellii at Kwenia, southern Kenya and implications for conservation.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Kwenia. Downloaded from on 21/10/2016

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