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Location Kenya, Coast Province,Eastern Province
Central coordinates 38o 10.00' East  2o 50.00' South
IBA criteria A1, A3
Area 906,500 ha
Altitude 600 - 1,800m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

NatureKenya



Site description Tsavo West National Park is a vast expanse of savanna stretching from the Athi river, north of the Mombasa–Nairobi road, south to the Tanzanian border. The north-east boundary along the Athi adjoins Tsavo East National Park (IBA KE024), but Tsavo West has a more varied topography and a more diverse array of habitats than its neighbour. Most of the northern sector is Acacia–Commiphora bushland, with scattered trees such as baobabs Adansonia digitata and Delonix elata. There are numerous rocky outcrops and ridges, and, towards the Chyulu Hills, ash cones and lava flows—some of them very recent. In the Ngulia area, a range of craggy hills reaches c.1,800 m and is heavily wooded. The southern sector consists of open grassy plains. The permanent Tsavo river runs through the northern part of the park, with a fringe of riverine Acacia elatior and Hyphaene compressa woodland. In the far south-west corner on the Kenya–Tanzania border is Lake Jipe, part of which is in the park. Run-off from Mount Kilimanjaro and the North Pare mountains feed this very attractive lake. It is bordered by extensive beds of Typha and has large permanent swamps at its eastern and western ends. At Mzima Springs, in the north of the park, water that has filtered underground from the Chyulu Hills gushes into a series of clear pools, rich in fishes and fringed by Raphia farinifera and Phoenix reclinata palms. Tsavo West houses one of Africa’s premier bird ringing stations, Ngulia Safari Lodge, which is located on the edge of a dramatic escarpment at the foot of Mount Ngulia.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Trachyphonus darnaudii resident  1999  present  A3  Not Recognised 
Black-throated Barbet Tricholaema melanocephala resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Red-and-yellow Barbet Trachyphonus erythrocephalus resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Vulturine Guineafowl Acryllium vulturinum resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Yellow-necked Francolin Pternistis leucoscepus resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Eastern Chanting-goshawk Melierax poliopterus resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Corncrake Crex crex passage  present  A1  Least Concern 
Black-faced Sandgrouse Pterocles decoratus resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Red-bellied Parrot Poicephalus rufiventris resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-bellied Go-away-bird Criniferoides leucogaster resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Sombre Nightjar Caprimulgus fraenatus resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Donaldson-Smith's Nightjar Caprimulgus donaldsoni resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-headed Mousebird Colius leucocephalus resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Somali Bee-eater Merops revoilii resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Abyssinian Scimitarbill Rhinopomastus minor resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Eastern Yellow-billed Hornbill Tockus flavirostris resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Von der Decken's Hornbill Tockus deckeni resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Rosy-patched Bush-shrike Rhodophoneus cruentus resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Three-streaked Tchagra Tchagra jamesi resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Pringle's Puffback Dryoscopus pringlii resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Red-naped Bush-shrike Laniarius ruficeps resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Long-tailed Fiscal Lanius cabanisi resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Taita Fiscal Lanius dorsalis resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Somali Tit Parus thruppi resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Mouse-coloured Penduline-tit Anthoscopus musculus resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Friedmann's Lark Mirafra pulpa resident  1999  present  A1, A3  Data Deficient 
Red-winged Lark Mirafra hypermetra resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Pink-breasted Lark Mirafra poecilosterna resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Ashy Cisticola Cisticola cinereolus resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Tiny Cisticola Cisticola nanus resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Pale Prinia Prinia somalica unknown  1999  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Grey Wren-warbler Camaroptera simplex resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Basra Reed-warbler Acrocephalus griseldis passage  present  A1  Endangered 
Somali Crombec Sylvietta isabellina unknown  1999  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Banded Warbler Sylvia boehmi resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Scaly Chatterer Turdoides aylmeri resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Rufous Chatterer Turdoides rubiginosa resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-breasted White-eye Zosterops abyssinicus resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Hildebrandt's Starling Lamprotornis hildebrandti resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Golden-breasted Starling Cosmopsarus regius resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Fischer's Starling Spreo fischeri resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Bare-eyed Thrush Turdus tephronotus resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
African Grey Flycatcher Bradornis microrhynchus resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Kenya Violet-backed Sunbird Anthreptes orientalis resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Hunter's Sunbird Nectarinia hunteri resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Black-bellied Sunbird Nectarinia nectarinioides resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Black-capped Social-weaver Pseudonigrita cabanisi resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-headed Buffalo-weaver Dinemellia dinemelli resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Taveta Golden Weaver Ploceus castaneiceps resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Fire-fronted Bishop Euplectes diadematus resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Blue-capped Cordonbleu Uraeginthus cyanocephalus resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Purple Grenadier Uraeginthus ianthinogaster resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Grey-headed Silverbill Lonchura griseicapilla resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Straw-tailed Whydah Vidua fischeri resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Golden Pipit Tmetothylacus tenellus resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Pangani Longclaw Macronyx aurantiigula resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Kenya Grosbeak-canary Serinus buchanani resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-bellied Canary Serinus dorsostriatus resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Somali Golden-breasted Bunting Emberiza poliopleura resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Tsavo West National Park 906,500 is identical to site 906,500  

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Grassland Grassland - edaphic, dry  -
Savanna Bushland & thicket - evergreen; Wooded grassland  -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research 100%
tourism/recreation 100%

Other biodiversity Tsavo West is well known for its populations of large savanna mammals, particularly Loxodonta africana (EN). The Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary holds a number of Diceros bicornis (CR), and other threatened mammals include Acinonyx jubatus (VU). The frog Afrixalus pygmaeus septentrionalis is known only from the area between Mtito Andei and Voi, but is not considered under threat.

References Backhurst (1996), Backhurst and Pearson (1977a,b, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1983a,b, 1984), Jensen and Belsky (1989), Pearson (1996, 1997), Pearson and Backhurst (1976), Pearson et al. (1992), Richards (1996).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Tsavo West National Park. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 25/10/2014

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife