|Location||Kenya, Eastern Province,Rift Valley Province|
|Central coordinates||36o 4.00' East 3o 27.00' North|
|IBA criteria||A4i, A4iii|
|Year of IBA assessment||2001|
Site description A very large, isolated, chloro-carbonate alkaline lake, the northernmost and by far the largest of the chain of Rift Valley lakes in Kenya. The Omo river delta at the extreme northern end of the lake lies within Ethiopia (IBA ET069). Turkana’s water is brackish, but drinkable, and the lake holds freshwater fish. The c.600 km of lake shore vary greatly in substrate, from rock (most of the southern sector, the central eastern shore, and North, Central and South Islands) to pebble, sand (most of the north-western shore, and patches elsewhere) and mud (at Loiyengalani, El Molo and Allia Bays, the Omo delta and the inlets of the Turkwel and Kerio rivers). Beds of the submerged plant Potamogeton pectinatus occur in the most sheltered muddy bays. The country surrounding the lake is semi-desert with sparse vegetation: annual rainfall averages less than 250 mm (substantially less in some places), and it may not rain for several years at a stretch. South and Central Islands are National Parks and, in the north-east, c.13% of the shoreline is protected within Sibiloi National Park.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus||winter||1992||2,580 individuals||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|Pink-backed Pelican Pelecanus rufescens||winter||1992||1,060 individuals||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|Spur-winged Lapwing Vanellus spinosus||winter||1992||6,930 individuals||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|Common Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula||winter||1992||13,600 individuals||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|Kittlitz's Plover Charadrius pecuarius||winter||1992||8,600 individuals||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|Caspian Plover Charadrius asiaticus||winter||1992||500 individuals||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|Little Stint Calidris minuta||winter||1992||113,000 individuals||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|A4iii Species group - waterbirds||winter||1992||100,000-499,999 individuals||unknown||A4iii|
|Protected area||Designation||Area (ha)||Relationship with IBA||Overlap with IBA (ha)|
|Central Island||National Park||500||protected area contained by site||500|
|Lake Turkana National Parks||World Heritage Site||161,485||protected area contained by site||161,485|
|Sibiloi||National Park||157,085||protected area overlaps with site||10,000|
|South Island||National Park||3,880||protected area contained by site||3,880|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Wetlands (inland)||Saline lakes||100%|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
|nature conservation and research||-|
Other biodiversity Lake Turkana is rich in fish, with 47 species, seven of which are endemic. The sheltered muddy bays with beds of waterweed Potamogeton are important for fish spawning. The fish in turn support a large population (estimated at some 14,000 in 1968) of Crocodylus niloticus.
References Bennun and Fasola (1996), Davey (1982), Fasola et al. (1993a,b), Hopson (1982), Schekkerman and van Wetten (1987).
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Lake Turkana. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 20/09/2014
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