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Location Kenya, Rift Valley Province
Central coordinates 35o 27.36' East  1o 6.12' North
IBA criteria A3
Area 100,000 ha
Altitude 2,000 - 3,365m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

NatureKenya



Site description The Cherangani Hills, an old fault-block formation of non-volcanic origin, form an undulating upland plateau on the western edge of the Rift Valley. To the east, the Elgeyo Escarpment drops abruptly to floor of the Kerio Valley, while westwards the land falls away gently to the plains of Trans-Nzoia District. The hills reach 3,365 m at Cheptoket Peak in the north-central section. The hills are largely covered by a series of Forest Reserves. These are made up of 13 administrative blocks, totalling 95,600 ha in gazetted area. Of this, c.60,500 ha is closed-canopy forest, the remainder being formations of bamboo, scrub, rock, grassland, moorland or heath, with c.4,000 ha of cultivation and plantations. Kapkanyar, Kapolet and Kiptaberr Forest Reserves together form a large western block of forest, totalling c.20,000 ha. To the east, the Forest Reserves of Lelan, Embotut, Kerrer, Kaisungor, Toropket, Chemurokoi, Kupkunurr, Cheboit, Sogotio and Kapchemutwa are less well connected. Apart from a large south-eastern block along the escarpment crest, the forests here are fragmented and separated by extensive natural grasslands, scrub and (especially in the central part) farmland. The hills are composed of metamorphic rocks, with conspicuous quartzite ridges and occasional veins of marble. The soils are well drained and moderately fertile, and annual rainfall varies from c.1,200 mm in the east to at least 1,500 mm in the wetter west, which catches the moist prevailing winds from Lake Victoria. The forests are of several different types. The lower western parts of Kiptaberr-Kapkanyar are clothed in Aningeria-Strombosia-Drypetes forest, with a large area of mixed Podocarpus latifolius forest on the higher slopes. The southern slopes hold Juniperus–Nuxia–Podocarpus falcatus forest, with heavily disturbed Podocarpus falcatus forest on the eastern slopes. Valleys in the upper peaks area shelter sizeable remnants of Juniperus–Maytenus undata–Rapanea–Hagenia forest. Tree ferns Cyathea manniana occur in stream valleys, and there are patches of bamboo Arundinaria alpina, though no bamboo zone as such. In clearings, Acacia abyssinica occurs among scrubby grassland with a diversity of flowering plants. At higher altitudes, the forest is interspersed with a mixture of heath vegetation and swamps, the latter with Lobelia aberdarica and Senecio johnstonii. Much of this heathland may be maintained by burning and grazing. Relict Juniperus and Hagenia trees occur here and there. Especially in the east, there is a mosaic of vegetation types with little obvious altitudinal zonation, possibly a result of the hills’ varied topography and the long history of cultivation, grazing and fire. The Cherangani forests are important for water catchment, and sit astride the watershed between the Lake Victoria and Lake Turkana basins. Streams to the west of the watershed feed the Nzoia river system, which flows into Lake Victoria; streams to the east flow into the Kerio river system.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Moustached Green Tinkerbird Pogoniulus leucomystax resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Buteo oreophilus resident  1999  present  A3  Not Recognised 
Hartlaub's Turaco Tauraco hartlaubi resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Caprimulgus poliocephalus resident  1999  present  A3  Not Recognised 
Scarce Swift Schoutedenapus myoptilus resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Nyanza Swift Apus niansae resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Bar-tailed Trogon Apaloderma vittatum resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater Merops oreobates resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Campethera tullbergi resident  1999  present  A3  Not Recognised 
Doherty's Bush-shrike Telophorus dohertyi resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Grey Cuckooshrike Coracina caesia resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Black-tailed Oriole Oriolus percivali resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-tailed Crested-flycatcher Elminia albonotata resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Chubb's Cisticola Cisticola chubbi resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Hunter's Cisticola Cisticola hunteri resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Black-collared Apalis Oreolais pulchra resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Chestnut-throated Apalis Apalis porphyrolaema resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Eastern Mountain Greenbul Andropadus nigriceps resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Bracken Warbler Bradypterus cinnamomeus resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Mountain Flycatcher-warbler Chloropeta similis resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Brown Woodland-warbler Phylloscopus umbrovirens resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-browed Crombec Sylvietta leucophrys resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Brown Warbler Sylvia lugens resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Mountain Illadopsis Illadopsis pyrrhoptera resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
African Hill Babbler Pseudoalcippe abyssinica resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Montane White-eye Zosterops poliogastrus resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Sharpe's Starling Cinnyricinclus sharpii resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Waller's Starling Onychognathus walleri resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Slender-billed Starling Onychognathus tenuirostris resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Stuhlmann's Starling Poeoptera stuhlmanni resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Zoothera piaggiae resident  1999  present  A3  Not Recognised 
White-starred Robin Pogonocichla stellata resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Equatorial Akalat Sheppardia aequatorialis resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Moorland Chat Cercomela sordida resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Little Rock-thrush Monticola rufocinereus resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-eyed Slaty Flycatcher Dioptrornis fischeri resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Eastern Double-collared Sunbird Nectarinia mediocris resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Northern Double-collared Sunbird Nectarinia preussi resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Tacazze Sunbird Nectarinia tacazze resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Bronze Sunbird Nectarinia kilimensis resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Golden-winged Sunbird Nectarinia reichenowi resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Baglafecht Weaver Ploceus baglafecht resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Black-billed Weaver Ploceus melanogaster resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Brown-capped Weaver Ploceus insignis resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Abyssinian Crimson-wing Cryptospiza salvadorii resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Yellow-browed Citril Serinus frontalis resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Serinus striolatus resident  1999  present  A3  Not Recognised 
Thick-billed Seedeater Serinus burtoni resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Oriole Finch Linurgus olivaceus resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Embobut Forest Reserve 21,689 protected area contained by site 21,689  
Kapkanyar Forest Reserve 5,764 protected area contained by site 5,764  
Kapolet Forest Reserve 1,625 protected area contained by site 1,625  
Kipkunurr Forest Reserve 15,892 protected area contained by site 15,892  
Kiptaberr Forest Reserve 12,801 protected area contained by site 12,801  
Lelan Forest Reserve 14,516 protected area contained by site 14,516  
Sogotio Forest Reserve 3,555 protected area contained by site 3,555  

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

Name Year formed
Chebororwa Sekemiat Self Help Group 2005

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest Montane forest - mixed  65%
Grassland Grassland - montane  -
Savanna Bamboo - Montane  -

Land use

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

Other biodiversity The ungulate Tragelaphus eurycerus (LR/nt) has been recorded here in the past, but its current status is unknown. The butterfly Capys juliae is endemic to the Cherangani Hills. Two giant senecio taxa, Senecio johnstonii battiscombei var. cheranganiensis and S. johnstonii battiscombei var. dalei, are endemic to the Cheranganis. Two notable lobelias, Lobelia deckenii elgonensis and Lobelia cheranganiensis, are shared with Mount Elgon, as is Alchemilla elgonensis.

References Beentje (1990), Blackett (1994i,j), Cheke (1972, 1978), Hancock (1971), Mabberley (1975), Waiyaki (1996), Young (1994).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Cherangani Hills. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 31/10/2014

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