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Location Kenya, Rift Valley Province
Central coordinates 36o 7.08' East  0o 15.24' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i, A4iii
Area 15,000 ha
Altitude 1,000 - 1,600m
Year of IBA assessment 2001


Site description Bogoria is a narrow, shallow, alkaline lake on the Rift Valley floor, varying from 3,000 to 4,250 ha in extent, with a maximum depth of 8.5 m. To the east, the Siracho escarpment rises abruptly from the lakeshore, while on the relatively flat western shore is a series of spectacular hot springs and geysers. The reserve was gazetted in 1981 and includes the entire lake and its immediate surroundings. The water usually supports a dense bloom of the cyanophyte Spirulina sp. The terrestrial vegetation is mainly thorny bushland, dominated by species of Acacia, Balanites and Commiphora, with patches of riverine woodland containing Ficus capensis, Acacia xanthophloea and A. tortilis. The open shore, often littered with lava boulders, is dominated by alkaline-tolerant grasslands of Sporobolus spicatus, with the sedge Cyperus laevigatus around the hot springs. The lower slopes of the Siracho escarpment are covered by Combretum and Grewia thicket. The lake is fed by its springs and by the Sandai (or Waseges) river, which rises on the eastern scarp of the Rift Valley. The Sandai flows past the lake and then turns through 180° to enter it from the north through the Kisibor swamp, a sizeable freshwater wetland dominated by Typha.

Key Biodiversity See Box for key species. Bogoria is a key feeding ground for the itinerant Rift Valley population of the Near Threatened Phoenicopterus minor. Spectacular congregations (estimated at up to 2 million birds) occur at times, and several hundred thousand birds are often present, with numbers fluctuating less than on other Rift Valley lakes. Although large numbers of very young birds may be present at times, this species has not bred successfully here. Podiceps nigricollis and Anas capensis are usually present in good numbers. The 10 year (1992–2001) January mean for waterbird numbers was 542,200, with a maximum of 1,078,400 recorded in January 1999. An estimate of 1.5 million birds (primarily flamingos) was made for July 1994. Thirty-one of Kenya’s 94 Somali–Masai biome species occur in the bushland and woodland around the lake. Other species of global conservation concern recorded at Bogoria include Circus macrourus (on passage) and Falco naumanni (also on passage, but in small numbers). Regionally threatened species include Podiceps cristatus (no recent records); Anhinga rufa (has occurred in swamp to north of lake); Oxyura maccoa (no recent records); Thalassornis leuconotus (no recent records); Trigonoceps occipitalis (status uncertain); and Polemaetus bellicosus (probably resident).

Non-bird biodiversity: The hot springs contain a highly specialized microbial fauna, with several endemic species.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis winter  1997  3,700 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus winter  2001  18,540 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Lesser Flamingo Phoeniconaias minor winter  1999  1,070,000 individuals  A1, A4i  Near Threatened 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds winter  1,000,000-2,499,999 individuals  unknown  A4iii   

IBA Monitoring

2009 high very unfavourable medium
Good - based on reliable and complete / representative data

Agriculture and aquaculture livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - nomadic grazing happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Climate change and severe weather drought happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Climate change and severe weather habitat shifting and alteration happening now whole area/population (>90%) slow but significant deterioration high
Human intrusions and disturbance recreational activities happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Invasive & other problematic species, genes & diseases invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - named species happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Residential and commercial development tourism and recreation areas happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low

Wetlands (inland)   0 0 moderate (70-90%) poor (40-69%) very unfavourable

Whole area of site (>90%) covered by appropriate conservation designation  A management plan exists but it is out of date or not comprehensive  Substantive conservation measures are being implemented but these are not comprehensive and are limited by resources and capacity  medium 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Lake Bogoria National Reserve 10,705 is identical to site 10,700  
Lake Bogoria Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 10,700 is identical to site 10,700  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Grassland Grassland - edaphic, wet  -
Savanna Bushland & thicket - evergreen  -
Wetlands (inland) Saline lakes  40%

Land use

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

References Bennun (1993), Bennun and Nasirwa (2000), Brown (1973), Burgis and Mavuti (1987), Hartley (1986), Nasirwa and Bennun (1994, 1995), Nasirwa and Owino (2000), Njuguna (1996), Owino and Nasirwa (2001), Owino et al. (in press), Oyugi (1994), Oyugi and Owino (1998a,b, 1999), Tuite (1979, 1981).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Lake Bogoria National Reserve. Downloaded from on 27/10/2016

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