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Location Gambia, Central River Division
Central coordinates 14o 58.00' West  13o 36.00' North
IBA criteria A4i, A4iii
Area 3,000 ha
Altitude 5 m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

Site description The site consists of a number of low, alluvial islands in the Gambia River, between the town of Kaur in the west almost as far east as the divisional capital Janjanbureh (Georgetown), where permanent saline water is replaced with fresh and where mangrove gradually gives way to freshwater riverine forest and thickets, much of which have been cleared. Between Kaur and Kuntaur is a line of seven islands separated by narrow channels and covered with Phragmites karka reedbeds. There are also three smaller islands, including Bird Island, covered with scrub. Further east, between Kuntaur and Georgetown, are two groups of islands, those of the Gambia River National Park and the Kai Hai Islands. Both groups are fringed with seasonally flooded riverine forest, dominated by Mitragyna inermis. MacCarthy Island, upon which Georgetown is located, is excluded from the IBA.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Great White Egret Ardea alba resident  1997  500 breeding pairs  A4i  Least Concern 
Great White Egret Ardea alba winter  1997  1,300 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Black Heron Egretta ardesiaca winter  1997  500 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
African Darter Anhinga rufa winter  1997  600 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds winter  1997  20,000 individuals  unknown  A4iii   

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
River Gambia National Park 2,500 protected area contained by site 2,500  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Artificial - terrestrial   15%
Wetlands (inland)   62%
Shrubland   22%

Land use

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

Other biodiversity The majority of recent sightings of Trichechus senegalensis (VU) are from this part of the river.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Islands of the Central River Division. Downloaded from on 31/10/2014

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