Sites - Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs)
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Kenya, Western Province
34o 15.00' East 0o 25.00' North
1,200 - 1,220m
Year of IBA assessment
Site description This area comprises a chain of small grassland patches (some seasonally flooded) in western Kenya, including Mungatsi (36 ha, 0°27’67N 34°19’69E), Matayo (210 ha, 0°23’01N 34°08’73E), Sikoma (1 ha, 0°24’03N 34°11’03E), and Malanga (3 ha, 0°25’96N 34°18’44E). All the patches are surrounded by intensive agriculture, mainly maize and sugarcane, and are grazed by livestock. The most important of them is Mungatsi, located 2 km from Mungatsi market along the Mungatsi–Munami road. This privately-owned site lies on either side of a small stream (a tributary of the River Sio), which is fringed by riverine forest and scrub.
Key Biodiversity See Box and Table 3 for key species. Hirundo atrocaerulea, a globally threatened intra-African migrant, is a non-breeding visitor to this area from April to September. It feeds over grassland and over 100 have been recorded roosting at the flooded grassland patch near Mungatsi. Gallinago media is an uncommon Palearctic migrant, likely to occur here regularly but its current status is uncertain. The riverine forest and scrub at Mungatsi also holds several Sudan–Guinea Savanna biome species that are not found in other IBAs. This is also the only Kenyan IBA in which Caprimulgus (pectoralis) nigriscapularis and Sylvietta virens, two Guinea–Congo Forests biome species, are recorded. Regionally threatened species include Circaetus cinerascens, Alcedo quadribrachys (recorded at Mungatsi) and Euplectes hartlaubi (nests in flooded grassland).
Non-bird biodiversity: These vanishing grasslands have been little studied. On biogeographic grounds, they are likely to have close links with Ugandan grasslands and to contain species that are found nowhere else in Kenya.