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Location Kenya, Coast Province
Central coordinates 40o 3.00' East  3o 18.00' South
IBA criteria A1
Area 44 ha
Altitude 15 m
Year of IBA assessment 2001


Site description Gede lies some 94 km north of Mombasa on the Mombasa–Malindi road. A gazetted National Monument since 1927, now managed by the National Museums of Kenya, it protects the excavated ruins of an old Arab-African town, abandoned in the seventeenth century. Over the ruins, on the shallow coral rag soil, has grown a lowland semi-deciduous forest, maintained by a rainfall of around 1,100 mm/year. The 44 ha site, surrounded by farmland, is entirely fenced, and contains around 35 ha of coastal forest, traversed by narrow paths that wind between the excavated buildings. At least 50 indigenous tree species occur, including Gyrocarpus americanus and Sterculia appendiculata. The edge of Arabuko-Sokoke forest (IBA KE007) is c.3 km away to the west.

Key Biodiversity See Box for key species. Despite its small size, Gede is an important site for the globally threatened Zoothera guttata, a non-breeding visitor. As many as 110 birds may be present between March and October each year. The globally threatened and restricted-range Anthus sokokensis has also been recorded here (possibly as a visitor), though there are no recent records and the population, if still extant, must be tiny. Densities of most other birds are also low, although the listed avifauna is surprisingly diverse—42 forest-dependent species have been recorded, including 12 of Kenya’s 29 East African Coast biome species and the restricted-range Tauraco fischeri, which is resident. Gede is not listed under the biome category, since many of these species may only be occasional visitors. Gypohierax angolensis regularly nest in the tall trees within the main excavation. Regionally threatened species include Pitta angolensis, Turdoides squamulatus, and Erythrocercus holochlorus.

Non-bird biodiversity: The small mammal Rhynchocyon chrysopygus (EN), endemic to the northern East African coast, occurs here, formerly at high densities. The plant Phaulopsis gediensis has recently been described from this site.

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  present  A1  Endangered 
Plain-backed Sunbird Anthreptes reichenowi resident  1999  present  A1  Near Threatened 
Sokoke Pipit Anthus sokokensis unknown  1999  unknown  A1  Endangered 

IBA Monitoring

2009 medium unfavourable medium
Good - based on reliable and complete / representative data

Human intrusions and disturbance recreational activities happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Human intrusions and disturbance work and other activities happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Residential and commercial development housing and urban areas happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium

Forest   0 0 moderate (70-90%) moderate (70-90%) unfavourable

Whole area of site (>90%) covered by appropriate conservation designation  A management plan exists but it is out of date or not comprehensive  Some limited conservation initiatives are in place  medium 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Gede Ruins National Monument Other Area 44 is identical to site 44  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest Lowland forest - mondom moist evgn & semi-evgn  -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
tourism/recreation -
water management -

References Bennun (1985, 1987, 1992c), Faden and Faden (1972), Fanshawe (1994), FitzGibbon (1994), Gerhardt and Steiner (1986), Kirkman (1975), Mlingwa et al. (2000), Nicoll and Rathbun (1990), Rathbun (1978, 1979a,b), Robertson (1994), Robertson and Luke (1993), Robertson and Ngonyo (1998).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Gede Ruins National Monument. Downloaded from on 27/10/2016

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