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Location Kenya, Coast Province
Central coordinates 39o 33.00' East  4o 19.00' South
IBA criteria A1
Area 80 ha
Altitude 5 - 20m
Year of IBA assessment 2001


Site description This site consists of remnant deciduous coral rag forest (dominated by Combretum schumannii) along a 12-km strip of Diani Beach, near Ukunda on the south Kenya coast. The formerly continuous forest has been cleared and fragmented, so that a set of small patches, in various degrees of intactness, now remains. Kaya Ukunda (a National Monument gazetted in 1992) has been left isolated as a 20 ha fragment slightly inland from the others, behind the Two Fishes Hotel. Twenty-one hotels, among other developments, occupy the Diani strip, and a busy road runs through the centre of some of the forest patches. Kaya Diani itself, which lies between Mworoni and Leisure Lodge Hotel, is not within this IBA.

Key Biodiversity See Box for key species. Zoothera guttata, an intra-African migrant, was seen regularly here in the 1980s. Although there are no recent records, Diani may still be an important ‘stepping stone’ forest for this species. The current status of the other globally threatened species is similarly uncertain. At least 44 other forest-dependent species are recorded, most of them characteristic of East African coastal forests. Tauraco fischeri is also a restricted-range species. Regionally threatened species include Campethera mombassica, Phyllastrephus debilis, P. fischeri, Erythrocercus holochlorus, Stephanoaetus coronatus, Pitta angolensis, and Anthreptes neglectus.

Non-bird biodiversity: Diani was originally “one of the most diverse areas of forest along the Kenya coast with a rich coral rag flora”. The threatened mammal Rhynchocyon petersi (EN) occurs, but its current status is unknown. Diani supports an unusually high density of the primate Colobus angolensis, and is an important site for the restricted subspecies palliatus.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Southern Banded Snake-eagle Circaetus fasciolatus resident  1999  present  A1  Near Threatened 
Fischer's Turaco Tauraco fischeri resident  1999  present  A1  Near Threatened 
Spotted Ground-thrush Zoothera guttata winter  1999  present  A1  Endangered 
Plain-backed Sunbird Anthreptes reichenowi resident  1999  present  A1  Near Threatened 

IBA Monitoring

2007 not assessed not assessed not assessed

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Kaya Ukunda Other Area 20 protected area contained by site 20  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest Lowland forest - dry deciduous  100%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
forestry -
tourism/recreation -
urban/industrial/transport -

References Bennun and Njoroge (1996), Irvine and Irvine (1970, 1977a,b, 1988, 1991), Kahumbu and Eley (1997), Mlingwa et al. (2000), Ng’weno (1980), Robertson and Luke (1993), Waiyaki and Bennun (2000).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Diani Forest. Downloaded from on 24/10/2016

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