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Location Kenya, Eastern Province
Central coordinates 38o 25.00' East  0o 10.00' South
IBA criteria A1, A2, A3
Area 87,000 ha
Altitude 370 - 910m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

NatureKenya



Site description Meru is a savanna National Park, 85 km east of Meru town in the north-eastern lowlands below the Nyambeni hills. The wetter north-western sector (rainfall c.700 mm/year) is hilly, with rich volcanic soils. The land flattens towards the east, where grey alluvial volcanic soils appear. This area is crossed by numerous permanent streams, draining from the Nyambenis and flowing in parallel between tongues of lava, south-eastwards towards the Tana river. There are several prominent inselbergs of basement rock, notably Mughwango and Leopard Rock. The vegetation on the ridges is Combretum-wooded grassland, dominated by Combretum apiculatum. This grades into Acacia wooded grassland to the east, with Acacia tortilis and A. senegal on the rocky ridges, in riverine thickets and dotted over open country, and Doum palms Hyphaene coriacea in the numerous swampy areas near the rivers. Chloris gayana is the dominant grass in many places, with Cyperus species in the swamps. The south and south-east (rainfall c.300 mm/year) is an open, semi-arid plain with red lateritic soil. This area is covered with rather uniform Acacia–Commiphora bushland, a hot, dense, thorny and inhospitable habitat. As well as the many streams that cross it, the park is bounded by three large rivers: the Tana to the south, the Ura to the south-west and the Rojeweru to the east. Riverine trees include the palms Raphia farinifera and Phoenix reclinata, Ficus sycomorus, Newtonia hildebrandtii, Acacia elatior and A. robusta. Along the Tana river is found the Tana River Poplar Populus ilicifolia. Meru is part of a complex of protected areas along the Tana river that includes the adjacent Bisanadi and North Kitui National Reserves (to the east and south, respectively), Kora National Park and Rahole National Reserve. These areas are better protected on paper than on the ground, however, and their birdlife (though generally little known) appears less rich than Meru’s.

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 
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 
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 
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 
Red-winged Lark Mirafra hypermetra resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Pink-breasted Lark Mirafra poecilosterna resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Chestnut-headed Sparrow-lark Eremopterix signatus 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 
Grey Wren-warbler Camaroptera simplex resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Yellow-vented Eremomela Eremomela flavicrissalis resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Somali Crombec Sylvietta isabellina resident  1999  present  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 
Northern Pied-babbler Turdoides hypoleuca resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Hinde's Pied-babbler Turdoides hindei resident  present  A1, A2, A3  Vulnerable 
White-breasted White-eye Zosterops abyssinicus resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Shelley's Starling Lamprotornis shelleyi 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 
Shining Sunbird Nectarinia habessinica 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 
Golden Palm Weaver Ploceus bojeri 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 
Red-rumped Waxbill Estrilda charmosyna resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Grey-headed Silverbill Lonchura griseicapilla resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Steel-blue Whydah Vidua hypocherina 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 
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)  
Meru National Park 87,044 is identical to site 87,000  

Local conservation groups The local conservation group below is working to support conservation at this IBA.

Name Year formed
Ameru Cultural Group 0

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Artificial - terrestrial   7%
Shrubland   37%
Grassland   53%
Forest   2%

Land use

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

Other biodiversity The park holds good populations of large mammals, including Loxodonta africana (EN), Acinonyx jubatus (VU) and Equus grevyi (EN; now practically confined to Kenya). Poachers have eliminated Diceros bicornis (CR) and the introduced Ceratotherium simum (LR/cd).

References Ament (1975), Dougherty (1994), Maina and Eshiamwata (2000).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Meru National Park. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 21/10/2014

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