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Location Kenya, Rift Valley Province
Central coordinates 35o 55.38' East  0o 36.72' South
IBA criteria A1, A2
Area 72,000 ha
Altitude 2,700 - 3,100m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

NatureKenya



Site description An extensive area of montane grassland along the crest of the Mau Escarpment, which forms the western wall of the central Rift Valley in Kenya. This high, open plateau runs for c.80 km south-east to north-west, and is bounded on each side (and partially interrupted) by the forests of the Mau forest complex (IBA KE051). Rainfall is c.1,000 mm/year, and the original vegetation is short grassland, with some heather and scrub on the ridges where the soil is deeper. The area has high potential for cultivated agriculture, and has gradually been settled and cultivated since the 1950s; it is now heavily populated, with a landscape severely modified by cultivation. Cereals are the major crops, and much grassland has been converted by ploughing and re-seeding with exotic species to provide better grazing for sheep.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni passage  1999  present  A1  Least Concern 
Great Snipe Gallinago media winter  uncommon  A1  Near Threatened 
Hunter's Cisticola Cisticola hunteri resident  1999  present  A2  Least Concern 
Aberdare Cisticola Cisticola aberdare resident  1999  present  A2  Endangered 
Jackson's Widowbird Euplectes jacksoni resident  1999  present  A1, A2  Near Threatened 
Sharpe's Longclaw Macronyx sharpei resident  1999  present  A1, A2  Endangered 

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Grassland Grassland - montane  100%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -

Other biodiversity The fauna and flora of these grasslands has been little studied. A number of plant, insect, amphibian and reptile species that are confined to highland grassland probably occur. There are records of two near-endemic frogs, Hyperolius montanus and Rana wittei. Hyperolius montanus was considered secure in 1980, but it is a species of montane grassland and may now be under threat. The snake Bitis worthingtonii, endemic to the central Kenyan Rift Valley above 1,500 m, probably occurs.

References Sessions (1966).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Mau Narok - Molo grasslands. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 31/08/2014

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