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Location Kenya, Rift Valley Province
Central coordinates 37o 15.00' East  2o 38.00' South
IBA criteria A3
Area 39,200 ha
Altitude 1,100 - 1,200m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

NatureKenya



Site description Amboseli National Park lies immediately north-west of Mount Kilimanjaro, on the border with Tanzania. Amboseli was established as a nature reserve in 1968, and gazetted as a National Park in 1974. It is surrounded by six communally-owned group ranches that are wet-season dispersal areas for wildlife, and whose management has direct influence on the ecological stability of the park. The park covers part of a Pleistocene lake basin, now dry. Within this basin is a temporary lake, ‘Lake’ Amboseli, that floods during years of heavy rainfall. The Amboseli area is in the rain-shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro and receives only c.300 mm of rain/year on average. However, water flowing underground from Mount Kilimanjaro wells up here in a series of lush papyrus Cyperus papyrus swamps that provide dry-season water and forage for wildlife. Tracts of attractive Acacia xanthophloea woodland flank these. Open Acacia tortilis woodland also occurs on drainage lines in the southern part of the park. AcaciaCommiphora bushland surrounds the basin, while the level floor, with alkaline soils, supports thickets of Salvadora persica and Suaeda monoica. Large concentrations of wildlife occur here in the dry season. This, with the picturesque surroundings (dominated by the imposing Mount Kilimanjaro), has made Amboseli a major tourist destination, attracting over 200,000 visitors each year.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
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 
White-headed Mousebird Colius leucocephalus 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 
Long-tailed Fiscal Lanius cabanisi resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Taita Fiscal Lanius dorsalis resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Red-throated Tit Parus fringillinus resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Somali Tit Parus thruppi resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Pink-breasted Lark Mirafra poecilosterna 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 
Banded Warbler Sylvia boehmi 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 
White-breasted White-eye Zosterops abyssinicus resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Hildebrandt's Starling Lamprotornis hildebrandti 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 
Black-bellied Sunbird Nectarinia nectarinioides resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-headed Buffalo-weaver Dinemellia dinemelli resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Taveta Golden Weaver Ploceus castaneiceps resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Speke's Weaver Ploceus spekei 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 
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 
Kenya Grosbeak-canary Serinus buchanani resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-bellied Canary Serinus dorsostriatus resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
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 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Amboseli National Reserve 39,206 protected area contained by site 39,206  
Amboseli National Park UNESCO-MAB Biosphere Reserve 483,206 protected area contains site 39,200  

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest Woodland - mixed  -
Savanna Wooded grassland  -
Wetlands (inland) Freshwater lakes and pools; Permanent herbaceous swamps and bogs  -

Land use

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

Other biodiversity Amboseli is well known for its populations of large mammals. The park’s population of Loxodonta africana (EN), numbering c.1,000, is the subject of a long-term behavioural and ecological study. The park’s population of Diceros bicornis (CR) has been exterminated.

Related state of the world's birds case studies

References Davidson et al. (1994), Kent (1994), Okwaro (1996), Shorter (1982), Smith (1996), Waiyaki and Bennun (1993b), Western (1982).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Amboseli National Park. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 26/07/2014

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