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Location Kenya, Eastern Province
Central coordinates 37o 14.00' East  1o 35.00' South
IBA criteria A1, A2
Area 5,000 ha
Altitude 1,300 - 1,600m
Year of IBA assessment 2001


Site description This area comprises river and stream valleys in the catchment of the Ikiwe and Ngwani rivers, south of Machakos town, draining eastwards into the Athi river system. The land slopes gradually down from the Athi-Kapiti plains in the west, with an intricate system of river valleys draining between small hills. The area is semi-arid rangeland, with rainfall around 500–700 mm/year, and with low potential for agriculture. Most of the streams and rivers are seasonal, with shallow valleys. The riverbeds consist of sand and rock, with a dense band of bush and thicket (dominated by Grewia trichocarpa with Teclea and Aspilia species) for about 10 m on either side, grading into open Acacia hockii and A. xanthophloea woodland. The land is owned by a number of large ranches, including Potha, Kilima and Kimutwa, some of which have been divided up into small agricultural plots. The boundaries of the IBA are presently undefined, requiring further survey work; it includes sections of the Ikiwe, Kimutwa, Love, Makilu, Mwania, Potha, Syuuni, Wamua and Wamui rivers.

Key Biodiversity See Box and Table 2 for key species. The riverine thickets and woodland shelter the globally threatened Turdoides hindei, which has a very restricted range in central Kenya. This is one of the few sites where it is known to occur in natural habitat, although at relatively low densities (c.2 birds/km of watercourse; a total of around 60 birds in 14 groups estimated for the IBA during 2000). The babblers are commonest in the higher parts of the IBA, and are likely to occur in river valleys immediately to the south as well. The rest of the avifauna is characteristic of semi-arid areas in Kenya, with 18 species from the Somali–Masai biome, see Table 3.

Non-bird biodiversity: None known to BirdLife International.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Hinde's Pied-babbler Turdoides hindei resident  1999  present  A1, A2  Vulnerable 

IBA Monitoring

2009 high very unfavourable negligible
Medium - based upon reliable but incomplete / partially representative data

Agriculture and aquaculture annual & perennial non-timber crops - agro-industry farming happening now some of area/population (10-49%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Agriculture and aquaculture annual & perennial non-timber crops - small-holder farming happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Agriculture and aquaculture livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - small-holder grazing, ranching or farming happening now some of area/population (10-49%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Climate change and severe weather drought happening now whole area/population (>90%) slow but significant deterioration high
Residential and commercial development housing and urban areas happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low

Forest   0 0 poor (40-69%) poor (40-69%) very unfavourable

Little/none of site covered (<10%)  No management planning has taken place  Very little or no conservation action taking place  negligible 


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest Woodland - riparian  -
Savanna Bushland & thicket - evergreen  -
Grassland   100%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -

References Njoroge and Bennun (2000), Shaw et al. (2001).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Machakos valleys. Downloaded from on 28/10/2016

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