|Central coordinates||2o 45.00' East 11o 55.00' North|
|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.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Bearded Barbet Pogonornis dubius||resident||1998||present||-||A3||Least Concern|
|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|
|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%|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
|nature conservation and research||-|
References Koster and Grettenberger (1983), Sayer and Green (1984), WCMC (1993).
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: W du Bénin National Park. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 25/12/2014
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