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Location Kenya, Rift Valley Province
Central coordinates 36o 5.00' East  0o 38.00' North
IBA criteria A3
Area 28,400 ha
Altitude 975 - 1,070m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

NatureKenya



Site description The IBA includes Lake Baringo (16,800 ha) and its islands, the bushland within the 1,000 m depression contour surrounding the lake (11,600 ha), and the striking cliffs to the west of Kampi ya Samaki. Baringo, a shallow freshwater lake, lies c.110 km north of Nakuru town. The Laikipia escarpment to the east and the Tugen Hills in the west borders its catchment. The maximum depth is only c.6 m, and the lake is becoming shallower through soil erosion in the surrounding land. Rainfall is c.650 mm/year. The area around the western shore is mainly Acacia tortilis woodland, with small bush-covered hills, gorges and cliffs. Ficus spp. grow on the cliff faces. The north and east have denser bush, thinning out towards the south, dominated by Acacia mellifera, A. reficiens and species of Boscia, Commiphora, Terminalia and Balanites. The open, flat southern part is bushland interspersed with dry riverbeds and stands of Acacia tortilis and A. elatior. Swampy wetlands, with Typha reeds and Echinochloa marsh grass, occur at the mouths of rivers draining into the lake, notably the Ndau, Molo and Mukutan, and much of the shore is lined with Ambatch Aeschynomene sp. The lake supports an important fishery and is a major tourist destination.

Key Biodiversity See Box and Table 3 for key species. Several of the Somali–Masai biome species are found at few other sites, most notably the uncommon Tockus jacksonii and Tockus hemprichii, the latter frequenting the cliffs, and Onychognathus salvadorii. Baringo is a well-known destination for birdwatchers and over 500 bird species have been recorded. A colony of up to 20 Ardea goliath has nested on one of the islands in the lake. While the diversity of waterbirds is considerable, total numbers are usually only in the low thousands. Globally threatened species include Falco naumanni (a passage migrant in small flocks), Phoenicopterus minor (an occasional visitor, usually on passage), Ardeola idae (a rare non-breeding visitor) and Circus macrourus (a regular passage migrant). A number of regionally threatened species are also recorded, namely Podiceps cristatus (no recent records); Anhinga rufa (small numbers resident, has bred on Ndau Island in the lake); Casmerodius albus (regular, up to 100 recorded); Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis; Thalassornis leuconotus; Trigonoceps occipitalis; Polemaetus bellicosus; Porzana pusilla; and Rynchops flavirostris.

Non-bird biodiversity: The lake supports large populations of Crocodylus niloticus and Hippopotamus amphibius. An apparently range-restricted snake, Coluber keniensis, is known from only one specimen collected here. Little is recorded about the other wildlife values of the area.

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 
Yellow-necked Francolin Pternistis leucoscepus resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-bellied Go-away-bird Criniferoides leucogaster resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Donaldson-Smith's Nightjar Caprimulgus donaldsoni 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 
Jackson's Hornbill Tockus jacksoni resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Hemprich's Hornbill Lophoceros hemprichii resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Three-streaked Tchagra Tchagra jamesi 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 
Pink-breasted Lark Mirafra poecilosterna resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Pale Prinia Prinia somalica resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Grey Wren-warbler Camaroptera simplex resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Rufous Chatterer Turdoides rubiginosa resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-breasted White-eye Zosterops abyssinicus resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Bristle-crowned Starling Onychognathus salvadorii resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Magpie Starling Speculipastor bicolor resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Brown-tailed Chat Cercomela scotocerca 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 
White-headed Buffalo-weaver Dinemellia dinemelli 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 
Ethiopian Grosbeak-canary Serinus donaldsoni resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-bellied Canary Serinus dorsostriatus resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Somali Golden-breasted Bunting Emberiza poliopleura resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

2008 very high unfavourable low
  Habitat
Good - based on reliable and complete / representative data

Agricultural expansion and intensification livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - nomadic grazing happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Climate change and severe weather drought happening now whole area/population (>90%) slow but significant deterioration high
Climate change and severe weather habitat shifting and alteration happening now whole area/population (>90%) moderate to rapid deterioration very high
Energy production and mining renewable energy happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Invasive and other problematic species and genes invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - named species happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Invasive and other problematic species and genes problematic native species/diseases - named species happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Natural system modifications dams & water management/use - abstraction of surface water (domestic use) happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) slow but significant deterioration high
Over-exploitation, persecution and control of species fishing & harvesting aquatic resources - unintentional effects: subsistence/small scale happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Over-exploitation, persecution and control of species hunting & collecting terrestrial animals - persecution/control happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Pollution garbage & solid waste happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) slow but significant deterioration high
Residential and commercial development tourism and recreation areas happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium

Wetlands (inland) Freshwater lakes and pools  0 0 moderate (70-90%) moderate (70-90%) unfavourable

Little/none of site covered (<10%)  No management plan exists but the management planning process has begun  Some limited conservation initiatives are in place  low 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Lake Baringo National Reserve 0 protected area contains site 0  
Lake Baringo Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 31,469 protected area contains site 28,400  

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest Woodland - mixed  -
Savanna Bushland & thicket - evergreen  -
Wetlands (inland) Freshwater lakes and pools  60%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
water management -
nature conservation and research -
tourism/recreation -
forestry -
fisheries/aquaculture -

References Bennun (1992a), Gitogo (1993), Hartley (1986), Otieno and Rowntree (1986), Stevenson (1980).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Lake Baringo. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 28/12/2014

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