|Location||Kenya, Coast Province|
|Central coordinates||40o 5.00' East 3o 20.00' South|
|Altitude||0 - 10m|
|Year of IBA assessment||2001|
Site description This area comprises a complex of marine and tidal habitats on Kenya’s north coast, stretching from just south of Malindi town southwards to beyond the entrance to Mida Creek. Habitats include inter-tidal rock, sand and mud; fringing reefs and coral gardens; beds of seagrass; coral cliffs, platforms and islets; sandy beaches; and mangrove forests. Mida Creek, a large, almost land-locked expanse of saline water, mangrove (1,600 ha) and intertidal mud (580 ha), is in the southern sector of the IBA near Watamu town and Mida village, and protected by the 3,200 ha Watamu Marine National Reserve (gazetted in 1968). Its extensive mangrove forests are also gazetted as Forest Reserves, and the extreme western tip of Mida Creek is part of the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest Reserve (IBA KE007). The remaining part of the IBA, along the open coast, is protected by the Malindi Marine National Reserve (21,300 ha), gazetted in 1976 and designated as a Biosphere Reserve in 1979. Enclosed within the reserve are the Watamu and Malindi Marine National Parks (1,000 and 600 ha respectively), which afford stricter protection. The IBA includes several coral islets, notably Whale Island at the entrance to Mida Creek and within the Watamu Marine National Park.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Crab-plover Dromas ardeola||winter||-||800 individuals||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|Lesser Sandplover Charadrius mongolus||winter||-||1,500 individuals||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|Greater Sandplover Charadrius leschenaultii||winter||-||1,250 individuals||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|Roseate Tern Sterna dougallii||breeding||-||1,500 breeding pairs||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|Saunders's Tern Sternula saundersi||winter||-||5,700 individuals||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|Protected area||Designation||Area (ha)||Relationship with IBA||Overlap with IBA (ha)|
|Malindi||Marine National Park||630||protected area contained by site||630|
|Malindi-Watamu||Marine National Reserve||24,500||protected area contained by site||24,500|
|Malindi-Watamu||UNESCO-MAB Biosphere Reserve||19,600||protected area contained by site||19,600|
|Watamu||Marine National Park||1,000||protected area contained by site||1,000|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Sea||Coral reefs and keys; Open Sea; Sea cliffs & rocky shores; Shallow marine waters||-|
|Wetlands (inland)||Intertidal mud, sand or salt flats; Mangroves||-|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
|Notes: Fishing ongoing. Lots of fishing boats observed in 2009.|
|nature conservation and research||-|
|Notes: More visitors touring the area now that lots of fishing boats are also opreating as tour boats.|
Other biodiversity Mida Creek has important mangrove forests, with a high diversity of species including Ceriops tagal, Rhizophora mucronata, Bruguiera gymnorrhiza, Avicennia marina and Sonneratia alba. It is a key spawning ground for many fish species. The Marine Reserve and National Parks are important for the conservation of the fringing reefs, the famous coral gardens within the lagoons, and the sea grass beds, all with their attendant, diverse marine fauna and flora.
References Britton and Brown (1971), Brown (1975), Gang and Agatsiva (1992), Hockey et al. (1996), IUCN/UNEP (1987), Koyo (1994), Nasirwa et al. (1995a,b), Seys et al. (1995).
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Mida Creek, Whale Island and the Malindi - Watamu coast. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 25/10/2014
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