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Location Kenya, Western Province
Central coordinates 34o 53.00' East  0o 17.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A2, A3
Area 18,300 ha
Altitude 1,550 - 1,650m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

NatureKenya



Site description The site is a mid-altitude tropical rainforest, the easternmost outlier of the Congo Basin forests. Its West African affinities are unique in Kenya, and the forest contains many species found nowhere else in the country. The forest lies in the Lake Victoria catchment, c.40 km north of Kisumu, and just east of the Nandi Escarpment that forms the edge of the central highlands. It was first gazetted as Trust Forest in 1933, and two small nature reserves, Yala and Isecheno (c.700 ha), were established within the Forest Reserve in 1967. In 1986, nearly 4,000 ha of the northern portion of the forest, along with the adjacent 457 ha Kisere forest, were gazetted as a National Reserve, managed by the Kenya Wildlife Service. Only an estimated 10,000 ha of the overall gazetted area is still closed-canopy indigenous forest, of which some 3,200 ha is in the National Reserve. The remaining area consists of grassy and bushed glades (some natural, some maintained by fire or grazing), tea, cultivation and 1,700 ha of plantations of softwoods and commercially valuable hardwoods. Kakamega forest is an important water catchment; the Isiukhu and Yala rivers flow through the forest and gather tributaries from it. The terrain is undulating, with often steep-sided river valleys. The soils are well-drained, deep, heavily leached, clay-loams and clays, of generally low fertility. Rainfall is c.2,000 mm/year, decreasing from south to north, and apparently declining due to deforestation.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Mountain Buzzard Buteo oreophilus resident  1999    Least Concern 
White-spotted Flufftail Sarothrura pulchra resident  1999  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Psittacus erithacus resident  1999  present [units unknown]  A3  Not Recognised 
Hartlaub's Turaco Tauraco hartlaubi unknown  1999  unknown [units unknown]    Least Concern 
Red-chested Owlet Glaucidium tephronotum resident  1999  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Scarce Swift Schoutedenapus myoptilus resident  1999    Least Concern 
Sabine's Spinetail Rhaphidura sabini resident  1999  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Bar-tailed Trogon Apaloderma vittatum resident  1999    Least Concern 
Merops muelleri resident  1999  present [units unknown]  A3  Not Recognised 
Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater Merops oreobates resident  1999    Least Concern 
Black-and-white-casqued Hornbill Bycanistes subcylindricus resident  1999  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Yellow-spotted Barbet Buccanodon duchaillui resident  1999  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Hairy-breasted Barbet Tricholaema hirsuta resident  1999  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Yellow-billed Barbet Trachyphonus purpuratus resident  1999  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Cassin's Honeyguide Prodotiscus insignis resident  1999  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Tullberg's Woodpecker Campethera tullbergi unknown  1999  unknown [units unknown]    Least Concern 
Buff-spotted Woodpecker Campethera nivosa resident  1999  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Brown-eared Woodpecker Campethera caroli resident  1999  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Golden-crowned Woodpecker Thripias xantholophus resident  1999  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
African Shrike-flycatcher Megabyas flammulatus resident  1999  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Chestnut Wattle-eye Platysteira castanea resident  1999  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Jameson's Wattle-eye Platysteira jamesoni resident  1999  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Grey-green Bush-shrike Telophorus bocagei resident  1999  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Grey Cuckooshrike Coracina caesia resident  1999    Least Concern 
Petit's Cuckooshrike Campephaga petiti resident  1999  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Western Black-headed Oriole Oriolus brachyrhynchus resident  1999  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Black-tailed Oriole Oriolus percivali unknown  1999  unknown [units unknown]    Least Concern 
Black-headed Paradise-flycatcher Terpsiphone rufiventer resident  1999  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
White-tailed Crested-flycatcher Elminia albonotata unknown  1999  unknown [units unknown]    Least Concern 
Dusky Tit Parus funereus resident  1999  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Chubb's Cisticola Cisticola chubbi resident  1999    Least Concern 
Black-collared Apalis Oreolais pulchra resident  1999    Least Concern 
Apalis rufogularis resident  1999  present [units unknown]  A3  Not Recognised 
Olive-green Camaroptera Camaroptera chloronota resident  1999  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Shelley's Greenbul Andropadus masukuensis resident  1999    Least Concern 
Grey Greenbul Andropadus gracilis resident  1999  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Ansorge's Greenbul Andropadus ansorgei resident  1999  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Plain Greenbul Andropadus curvirostris resident  1999  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Honeyguide Greenbul Baeopogon indicator resident  1999  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Joyful Greenbul Chlorocichla laetissima resident  1999    Least Concern 
Toro Olive Greenbul Phyllastrephus hypochloris resident  1999  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Common Bristlebill Bleda syndactylus resident  1999  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Bracken Warbler Bradypterus cinnamomeus unknown  1999  unknown [units unknown]    Least Concern 
Green Hylia Hylia prasina resident  1999  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Uganda Woodland-warbler Phylloscopus budongoensis resident  1999  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Turner's Eremomela Eremomela turneri resident  1999  present [units unknown]  A1, A3  Endangered 
White-browed Crombec Sylvietta leucophrys resident  1999    Least Concern 
Brown Warbler Sylvia lugens resident  1999    Least Concern 
Scaly-breasted Illadopsis Illadopsis albipectus resident  1999  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Brown Illadopsis Illadopsis fulvescens resident  1999  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Mountain Illadopsis Illadopsis pyrrhoptera resident  1999    Least Concern 
Grey-chested Babbler Kakamega poliothorax resident  1999    Least Concern 
African Hill Babbler Pseudoalcippe abyssinica resident  1999    Least Concern 
Sharpe's Starling Cinnyricinclus sharpii unknown  1999  unknown [units unknown]    Least Concern 
Waller's Starling Onychognathus walleri resident  1999    Least Concern 
Stuhlmann's Starling Poeoptera stuhlmanni resident  1999    Least Concern 
White-tailed Ant-thrush Neocossyphus poensis resident  1999  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Equatorial Akalat Sheppardia aequatorialis resident  1999    Least Concern 
Blue-shouldered Robin-chat Cossypha cyanocampter resident  1999  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
White-eyed Slaty Flycatcher Dioptrornis fischeri resident  1999    Least Concern 
Chapin's Flycatcher Muscicapa lendu resident  1999  present [units unknown]  A1, A2  Vulnerable 
Green Sunbird Anthreptes rectirostris resident  1999  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Green-throated Sunbird Nectarinia rubescens resident  1999  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Bronze Sunbird Nectarinia kilimensis resident  1999    Least Concern 
Baglafecht Weaver Ploceus baglafecht resident  1999    Least Concern 
Black-billed Weaver Ploceus melanogaster resident  1999    Least Concern 
Vieillot's Black Weaver Ploceus nigerrimus resident  1999  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Brown-capped Weaver Ploceus insignis resident  1999    Least Concern 
Red-headed Malimbe Malimbus rubricollis resident  1999  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Yellow-browed Citril Serinus frontalis resident  1999    Least Concern 
Grey-faced Citril Serinus hypostictus resident  1999    Least Concern 
Serinus striolatus resident  1999    Not Recognised 
Thick-billed Seedeater Serinus burtoni resident  1999    Least Concern 
Oriole Finch Linurgus olivaceus resident  1999    Least Concern 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Kakamega Forest Reserve 17,838 protected area contained by site 17,838  
Kakamega National Reserve 4,468 protected area contained by site 4,468  

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

Name Year formed
KEEP 1995
Mureshi community Forest association 2007
Kakamega Forest Guides Association 1995

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Artificial - terrestrial   10%
Forest Mid-altitude forest - transitional  65%
Grassland Grassland - secondary  25%

Land use

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

Other biodiversity Several West African forest mammals occur, including Potamogale velox (EN). The small mammal community is also very rich and shows strong affinities to the Congo basin. At least 28 snake species are recorded, including the rare Pseudohaje goldii and other West African species such as Philothamnus heterodermus carinatus, Hapsidophrys lineata, Dendroaspis jamesoni kaimosae, Atheris squamiger squamiger, A. hispida and Bitis nasicornis. Two notable and probably endangered forest amphibians, Leptopelis modestus and Hyperolius lateralis, are recorded. The forest’s butterfly fauna is very diverse and important, both regionally and continentally; around 350 species are thought to occur, including at least one endemic, Metisella kakamega, and a near-endemic, Euphaedra rex. Kakamega has a rich diversity of trees, although endemism is low, the only woody endemic being the liana Tiliacora kenyensis.

References Angwin (1980), Beentje (1990), Bennun (1994a), Bennun and Waiyaki (1992c), Blackett (1994c), Brooks et al. (1999), Diamond and Fayad (1979), Emerton (1994), Kigomo (1987), Kokwaro (1988), Mann (1980, 1985), Mutangah and Mwaura (1992), Oyugi (1996), Rowell (1992), Savalli (1989, 1991), Spawls (1978), Stattersfield et al. 1998), Tennant (1965), Wahome (1992), Wass (1995), Zimmerman (1972).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Kakamega forest. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 19/04/2014

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