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Location Kenya, Nairobi Province
Central coordinates 36o 52.00' East  1o 21.00' South
IBA criteria A1, A2, A4ii
Area 11,700 ha
Altitude 1,540 - 1,780m
Year of IBA assessment 2001


Site description An area of natural landscape at the grassland-forest boundary, only 7 km from the centre of Kenya’s capital city, Nairobi. The park’s varied habitats include open, rolling grass plains, riverine woodland, valley thicket and bush, artificial dams and ponds, rocky gorges and upland dry forest. The park is fenced along three sides, where it is adjacent to urban housing, industry, roads and airports; only the southern border, along the Embakasi and Athi rivers, is open for animal dispersal. Ecologically, the park is intimately linked to the Kitengela and Athi-Kapiti plains, which adjoin it to the south, forming a single ecological unit. Being close to the city centre and supporting a variety of large mammals, this park is a popular destination and a substantial money-earner for the Kenya Wildlife Service.

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 
Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni passage  5,000 individuals  A1, A4ii  Least Concern 
Red-throated Tit Parus fringillinus resident  1999  present  A1  Least Concern 
Jackson's Widowbird Euplectes jacksoni resident  1999  present  A1, A2  Near Threatened 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Nairobi National Park 11,721 is identical to site 11,700  


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

Land use

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

Other biodiversity Nairobi National Park has healthy populations of an array of large mammals. The park is a rhino sanctuary and numbers of Diceros bicornis (CR) are steadily increasing. Acinonyx jubatus (VU) also occur in good numbers. Several plants growing on the rocky hillsides are unique to the Nairobi area, including Euphorbia brevitorta, Drimia calcarata, Murdannia clarkeana and an undescribed Crassula sp. The park protects an important area of Croton–Brachylaena–Calodendron upland dry forest. This distinctive Nairobi forest-type exists now only as small, ever diminishing fragments.

References Agnew and Agnew (1994), Beentje (1990), Harvey (1997), Loefler (1987), Mondolfi and Mondolfi (1993), Round-Turner (1996), Smalley (1983), Western (1996).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Nairobi National Park. Downloaded from on 24/10/2014

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