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Location Kenya, Eastern Province
Central coordinates 37o 40.00' East  0o 48.00' South
IBA criteria A1, A2
Area 4,200 ha
Altitude 1,000 - 1,100m
Year of IBA assessment 2001


Site description Mwea National Reserve contains gently rolling AcaciaCommiphora bushland on the north shore of the Kamburu Reservoir, at the confluence of the Tana and Thiba rivers, 100 km north-west of Nairobi. This small reserve lies just east of Masinga Reservoir (IBA KE032). Within its borders are 700 ha (including two small islands) of the 1,500 ha Kamburu Dam. The reserve was created in 1975 as a wildlife sanctuary, and is owned by the Mbeere County Council (pending District confirmation) and managed by the Kenya Wildlife Service. The area is semi-arid with an annual rainfall of between 250 and 500 mm. Thick bush (dominated by Acacia mellifera, with Grewia, Sesbania, Cassia and A. brevispica, as well as some Lantana) and scattered trees, including baobab Adansonia digitata, line the waterfront. This thins out further up the slope, with a mixture of A. mellifera and Commiphora species and some open glades. Richer scrub and woodland line seasonal rivers and streams. Sesbania forms a broad, fairly dense cover on flood-plains, especially the northern part of the Thiba. The reserve is essentially undeveloped. There is a campsite and c.95 km of rough roads, but no accommodation.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Madagascar Pond-heron Ardeola idae winter  present  A1  Endangered 
Hinde's Pied-babbler Turdoides hindei resident  1999  present  A1, A2  Vulnerable 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Mwea National Reserve 6,803 protected area contains site 4,200  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest Woodland - mixed  -
Savanna Bushland & thicket - evergreen  -
Shrubland Scrub - forest  -

Land use

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

Other biodiversity Large and small herbivores are numerous, including Loxodonta africana (EN). Crocodylus niloticus and Hippopotamus amphibius occur in the dam.

References Birnie (1992), Campbell (1992), Le Pelley (1992), Loefler (1989), Njau-ini (1996), Shaw et al. (2001), Zimmerman et al. (1996).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Mwea National Reserve. Downloaded from on 26/10/2014

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