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Location Benin, Borgou
Central coordinates 2o 45.00' East  11o 55.00' North
IBA criteria A3
Area 598,000 ha
Altitude 160 - 320m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

Site description The W du Bénin National Park, in the extreme north of the country, is part of an extensive network of contiguous transboundary protected areas, including the W National Park in Niger (IBA NE001) and the Arli–W–Singou complex in Burkina Faso (BF008). The park includes extensive areas of Sudan savanna vegetation, and important riparian habitats along stretches of the Mékrou and Alibori rivers, both major tributaries of the Niger river, which form, respectively, the western and eastern boundaries of the park. There is a narrow neck of land outside the park separating its north-eastern boundary from the Niger river itself. This area is, however, included within the IBA, thereby capturing the perennial marshy areas that fringe the Niger. Both the Alibori and Mékrou rivers are seasonal, although some pools of stagnant water usually remain within the beds of both in the dry season. The Mékrou river, which also marks the international frontier with Burkina Faso for much of its length, is 10–20 m wide and 2–3 m deep at the height of the wet season, September, and usually dries up by December.Habitat includes riverine forest with a dense understorey and a nearly closed canopy, with patches of shrubland and woodland. Trees present include Diospyros mespiliformis, Ficus sp., Daniella sp., Cola sp. and scattered Borassus aethiopum palms. Mimosa pigra is common in the riverine scrub. The Sudan savanna includes Acacia spp., Terminalia sp. and Combretum spp. and grasslands of Hyparrhenia involucrata and Andropogon gayanus. There is a spectacular gorge through which the Mékrou runs near its confluence with the River Niger. The terrain of the northern part of the park is more broken with numerous outcrops, but the highest point of 320 m is in the south of the park.

Key Biodiversity See Box and Table 2 for key species. Falco naumanni has been recorded occasionally between January and March. The reserve harbours a representative community of Northern Guinea savanna and Sudan savanna species, while the course of the Niger river is important for wetland birds such as Ardea goliath, A. cinerea, Ciconia abdimii, Plegadis falcinellus and Balearica pavonina. Other species of note are Trigonoceps occipitalis (breeding), Terathopius ecaudatus, Scotopelia peli and, along the banks of the Mékrou, several large colonies of Merops nubicus, occupied during January and February.

Non-bird biodiversity: Among mammals, the park is host to the most important savanna population of Loxodonta africana (EN) in West Africa, as well as populations of Panthera leo (VU) and Acinonyx jubatus (VU). Damaliscus lunatus korrigum (LR/cd) has been seen in the park and Trichechus senegalensis (VU) may occur in the Niger close to or within the IBA.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Senegal Parrot Poicephalus senegalus resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Violet Turaco Musophaga violacea resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Blue-bellied Roller Coracias cyanogaster resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Red-throated Bee-eater Merops bulocki resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Yellow-billed Shrike Corvinella corvina resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Piapiac Ptilostomus afer resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Oriole Warbler Hypergerus atriceps resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Purple Glossy-starling Lamprotornis purpureus resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-crowned Robin-chat Cossypha albicapilla resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Bush Petronia Petronia dentata resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Heuglin's Masked-weaver Ploceus heuglini resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Red-winged Pytilia Pytilia phoenicoptera resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Bar-breasted Firefinch Lagonosticta rufopicta resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Lavender Waxbill Estrilda caerulescens resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Black-rumped Waxbill Estrilda troglodytes resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Bearded Barbet Pogonornis dubius resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
W (Benin) National Park 502,000 protected area contained by site 502,000  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Artificial - terrestrial   34%
Shrubland   53%
Forest   12%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
nature conservation and research -

References Koster and Grettenberger (1983), Sayer and Green (1984), WCMC (1993).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: W du Bénin National Park. Downloaded from on 27/10/2016

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