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Location Kenya, Coast Province
Central coordinates 39o 16.00' East  4o 28.00' South
IBA criteria A1, A3
Area 250 ha
Altitude 100 - 300m
Year of IBA assessment 2001


Site description This IBA consists of wet coastal forest on a small hill rising from the coastal plain some 60 km south-west of Mombasa, just west of the main Mombasa–Lungalunga road. The hill itself is a part of the alkaline igneous complex centred on Dzombo Hill (IBA KE010) and is known to have significant deposits of ores containing manganese and niobium. Mrima has been prospected over several times by geologists and there are many deep test holes, although no large-scale mining has yet taken place. Rainfall is at least 1,100 mm/year, and probably greater, since precipitation is produced as cloud rises over the slopes during the south-east monsoon. The forest is undifferentiated, with exceptional plant species diversity. Large trees include Combretum schumannii, Milicia excelsa, Terminalia sambesiaca, Nesogordonia holtzii, Sterculia appendiculata, Drypetes usambarica var. mrimae, Cordyla africana, Albizia glaberrima var. glabrescens, Newtonia paucijuga, Erythrina sacleuxii, Antiaris toxicaria, Lovoa swynnertonii, Zanha golungensis, Diospyros mespiliformis, Inhambanella henriquesii, Manilkara discolor, Mimusops aedificatoria and Synsepalum brevipes. Mrima Forest Reserve was gazetted in 1961, and the site was made a strict nature reserve under the Forests Act in the early 1980s. Mrima Hill is also a Kaya, recognized by the site’s gazettement as Mrima Hill Sacred Grove National Monument in 1992. The Kayas are relict patches of forest that once sheltered the fortified villages of the Mijikenda people (in Mrima’s case, the Digo) on the Kenyan coast. They have spiritual and ceremonial significance and are customarily protected by a Council of Elders.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Eastern Green Tinkerbird Pogoniulus simplex resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Fischer's Turaco Tauraco fischeri resident  1999  present  A1, A3  Near Threatened 
Mombasa Woodpecker Campethera mombassica resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Chestnut-fronted Helmet-shrike Prionops scopifrons resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Green-headed Oriole Oriolus chlorocephalus resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Yellow Flycatcher Erythrocercus holochlorus resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Fischer's Greenbul Phyllastrephus fischeri resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Tiny Greenbul Phyllastrephus debilis resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Black-bellied Glossy-starling Lamprotornis corruscus resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Spotted Ground-thrush Zoothera guttata winter  1999  present  A1  Endangered 
Plain-backed Sunbird Anthreptes reichenowi resident  1999  present  A1, A3  Near Threatened 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Mrima Forest Reserve 390 protected area contains site 250  
Mrima Hill Sacred Grove National Monument Other Area 0 protected area contained by site 0  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest Lowland forest - undifferentiated  -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
forestry -
nature conservation and research -

Other biodiversity Mrima’s vegetation is exceptionally diverse. A 1989 expedition recorded over 270 taxa, including 25 that are globally or nationally rare. Among others, the rare trees Uvariodendron gorgonis and Gigasiphon macrosiphon are known from this site, though the latter was not relocated in 1989. The rare butterfly Eresinopsides bichroma also occurs. Mammals include the threatened Rhynchocyon petersi (EN), Galagoides zanzibaricus (LR/nt) and Colobus angolensis palliatus. Bats occur in the mineshafts, including the rare and localised Myonycteris relicta (VU).

References Britton et al. (1980), Larson (1991), Mlingwa et al. (2000), Robertson and Luke (1993), Waiyaki and Bennun (2000).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Mrima Hill Forest. Downloaded from on 26/10/2014

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