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Location Liberia, Nimba
Central coordinates 8o 32.00' West  7o 32.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A2, A3
Area 20,240 ha
Altitude 400 - 1,385m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

Society for the Conservation of Nature of Liberia (Affiliate)



Site description The Nimba mountains, which extend for some 40 km along a south-west–north-east alignment in the north-east of the country, are shared jointly with Côte d’Ivoire and Guinea. The highest peak, 1,752 m, is shared between Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire. Rather less than half, the south-western part, of the mountain chain is Liberian territory. The isolated situation of the Nimba mountains gives them the character of an enormous inselberg. The site is contiguous with both IBAs GN017 and CI003, in Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire respectively. The slopes of the ridge are steep and extensively forested. The lower slopes are covered with mixed forest which grades, at 800–900 m, into Parinari cloud-forest, characterized by Parinari excelsa and many epiphytes. Above 1,200 m, on the peaks and ridges, the character of the forest changes again to montane forest dominated by Parinari excelsa and Garcinia polyantha with gnarled and stunted trees, seldom exceeding 9–10 m in height. In moist places, at about 1,000 m, there are several small areas with almost pure stands of the tree-fern Cyathea cylindrica. This, at least, is how Liberian Nimba used to be; much of the forest has now been destroyed through mining operations—see below. There are some isolated patches of grassland savanna, particularly at the foot of the western side of central Nimba. These grasslands extend into and are more extensive in Guinea. Hyparrhenia diplandra is the dominant grass, with Andropogon macrophyllus colonizing termite mounds. On the eastern slopes the vegetation merges into lowland forest. Dense cloud covers the Nimba mountains above 850 m for much of the year, and the average annual rainfall on Liberian Nimba is 3,000 mm. The wettest months are during May–October.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
White-breasted Guineafowl Agelastes meleagrides resident  1997  present  A1, A2, A3  Vulnerable 
Forest Francolin Peliperdix lathami resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Ahanta Francolin Pternistis ahantensis resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Hartlaub's Duck Pteronetta hartlaubii resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Spot-breasted Ibis Bostrychia rara resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-crested Tiger-heron Tigriornis leucolopha resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Congo Serpent-eagle Dryotriorchis spectabilis resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Red-legged Sparrowhawk Accipiter erythropus resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Long-tailed Hawk Urotriorchis macrourus resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Cassin's Hawk-eagle Aquila africana resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-spotted Flufftail Sarothrura pulchra resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Nkulengu Rail Himantornis haematopus resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Grey-throated Rail Canirallus oculeus resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Afep Pigeon Columba unicincta resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Western Bronze-naped Pigeon Columba iriditorques resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Blue-headed Wood-dove Turtur brehmeri resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Psittacus erithacus resident  1997  present  A3  Not Recognised 
Green Turaco Tauraco persa resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Yellow-billed Turaco Tauraco macrorhynchus resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Dusky Long-tailed Cuckoo Cercococcyx mechowi resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Olive Long-tailed Cuckoo Cercococcyx olivinus resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Black-throated Coucal Centropus leucogaster resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Bubo poensis resident  1997  present  A3  Not Recognised 
Sandy Scops-owl Otus icterorhynchus resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Shelley's Eagle-owl Bubo shelleyi resident  1997  present  A3  Near Threatened 
Akun Eagle-owl Bubo leucostictus resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Rufous Fishing-owl Scotopelia ussheri resident  1997  present  A1, A2, A3  Vulnerable 
Maned Owl Jubula lettii resident  1997  present  A3  Data Deficient 
Red-chested Owlet Glaucidium tephronotum resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Brown Nightjar Veles binotatus resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Black Spinetail Telacanthura melanopygia resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Sabine's Spinetail Rhaphidura sabini resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Cassin's Spinetail Neafrapus cassini resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Bates's Swift Apus batesi resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Blue-throated Roller Eurystomus gularis resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Chocolate-backed Kingfisher Halcyon badia resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
African Dwarf-kingfisher Ispidina lecontei resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-bellied Kingfisher Corythornis leucogaster resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Black Bee-eater Merops gularis resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Merops muelleri resident  1997  present  A3  Not Recognised 
Forest Scimitarbill Rhinopomastus castaneiceps resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Bycanistes fistulator resident  1997  present  A3  Not Recognised 
Tropicranus albocristatus resident  1997  present  A3  Not Recognised 
Tockus fasciatus resident  1997  present  A3  Not Recognised 
Tockus hartlaubi resident  1997  present  A3  Not Recognised 
Dwarf Hornbill Lophoceros camurus resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Brown-cheeked Hornbill Bycanistes cylindricus resident  1997  present  A1, A2, A3  Vulnerable 
Black-casqued Hornbill Ceratogymna atrata resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Yellow-casqued Hornbill Ceratogymna elata resident  1997  present  A1, A3  Vulnerable 
Cassin's Honeybird Prodotiscus insignis resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Yellow-footed Honeyguide Melignomon eisentrauti resident  1997  present  A1, A3  Data Deficient 
Spotted Honeyguide Indicator maculatus resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Willcocks's Honeyguide Indicator willcocksi resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Lyre-tailed Honeyguide Melichneutes robustus resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Dendropicos gabonensis resident  1997  present  A3  Not Recognised 
Little Green Woodpecker Campethera maculosa resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Buff-spotted Woodpecker Campethera nivosa resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Brown-eared Woodpecker Campethera caroli resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Fire-bellied Woodpecker Dendropicos pyrrhogaster resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Rufous-sided Broadbill Smithornis rufolateralis resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
African Shrike-flycatcher Megabyas flammulatus resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
West African Batis Batis occulta resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Chestnut Wattle-eye Platysteira castanea resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Red-cheeked Wattle-eye Platysteira blissetti resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Chestnut-bellied Helmet-shrike Prionops caniceps resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Fiery-breasted Bush-shrike Malaconotus cruentus resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Lagden's Bush-shrike Malaconotus lagdeni resident  present  A1  Near Threatened 
Large-billed Puffback Dryoscopus sabini resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Sooty Boubou Laniarius leucorhynchus resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Blue Cuckooshrike Coracina azurea resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Western Wattled Cuckooshrike Campephaga lobata resident  1997  present  A1, A2, A3  Vulnerable 
Western Black-headed Oriole Oriolus brachyrhynchus resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Black-winged Oriole Oriolus nigripennis resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Shining Drongo Dicrurus atripennis resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Black-headed Paradise-flycatcher Terpsiphone rufiventer resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Blue-headed Crested-flycatcher Trochocercus nitens resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Dusky Crested-flycatcher Elminia nigromitrata resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Chestnut-capped Flycatcher Erythrocercus mccallii resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-necked Picathartes Picathartes gymnocephalus resident  1997  present  A1, A2, A3  Vulnerable 
Dusky Tit Parus funereus resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Forest Penduline-tit Anthoscopus flavifrons resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Tit-hylia Pholidornis rushiae resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Square-tailed Saw-wing Psalidoprocne nitens resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Fanti Saw-wing Psalidoprocne obscura resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-throated Blue Swallow Hirundo nigrita resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-eyed Prinia Prinia leontica resident  1997  present  A1, A2, A3  Vulnerable 
Black-capped Apalis Apalis nigriceps resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Sharpe's Apalis Apalis sharpii resident  1997  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Yellow-browed Camaroptera Camaroptera superciliaris resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Olive-green Camaroptera Camaroptera chloronota resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Grey Greenbul Andropadus gracilis resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Ansorge's Greenbul Andropadus ansorgei resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Plain Greenbul Andropadus curvirostris resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Golden Greenbul Calyptocichla serina resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Honeyguide Greenbul Baeopogon indicator resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Spotted Greenbul Ixonotus guttatus resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Simple Greenbul Chlorocichla simplex resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Swamp Greenbul Thescelocichla leucopleura resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Leaf-love Pyrrhurus scandens resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Baumann's Greenbul Phyllastrephus baumanni resident  1997  present  A1, A3  Least Concern 
White-throated Greenbul Phyllastrephus albigularis resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Icterine Greenbul Phyllastrephus icterinus resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Common Bristlebill Bleda syndactylus resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Green-tailed Bristlebill Bleda eximius resident  1997  present  A1, A2, A3  Near Threatened 
Grey-headed Bristlebill Bleda canicapillus resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Bearded Bulbul Criniger barbatus resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Red-tailed Bulbul Criniger calurus resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Yellow-bearded Greenbul Criniger olivaceus resident  1997  present  A1, A2, A3  Vulnerable 
Yellow-spotted Nicator Nicator chloris resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Black-headed Rufous Warbler Bathmocercus cerviniventris resident  1997  present  A1, A2, A3  Near Threatened 
Kemp's Longbill Macrosphenus kempi resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Grey Longbill Macrosphenus concolor resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Violet-backed Hyliota Hyliota violacea resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Green Hylia Hylia prasina resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Rufous-crowned Eremomela Eremomela badiceps resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Green Crombec Sylvietta virens resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Lemon-bellied Crombec Sylvietta denti resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Blackcap Illadopsis Illadopsis cleaveri resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Rufous-winged Illadopsis Illadopsis rufescens resident  1997  present  A1, A2, A3  Near Threatened 
Puvel's Illadopsis Illadopsis puveli resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Brown Illadopsis Illadopsis fulvescens resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Capuchin Babbler Phyllanthus atripennis resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Copper-tailed Glossy-starling Lamprotornis cupreocauda resident  1997  present  A1, A2, A3  Near Threatened 
Chestnut-winged Starling Onychognathus fulgidus resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Narrow-tailed Starling Poeoptera lugubris resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-tailed Ant-thrush Neocossyphus poensis resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Rufous Flycatcher-thrush Stizorhina fraseri resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Grey Ground-thrush Zoothera princei resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Alethe diademata resident  1997  present  A3  Not Recognised 
Forest Robin Stiphrornis erythrothorax resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Lowland Akalat Sheppardia cyornithopsis resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Blue-shouldered Robin-chat Cossypha cyanocampter resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Forest Scrub-robin Erythropygia leucosticta resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
African Forest Flycatcher Fraseria ocreata resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-browed Forest Flycatcher Fraseria cinerascens resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Nimba Flycatcher Melaenornis annamarulae resident  1997  present  A1, A2, A3  Vulnerable 
Ussher's Flycatcher Muscicapa ussheri resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Olivaceous Flycatcher Muscicapa olivascens resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Little Grey Flycatcher Muscicapa epulata resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Dusky-blue Flycatcher Muscicapa comitata resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Cassin's Grey Flycatcher Muscicapa cassini resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Grey-throated Tit-flycatcher Myioparus griseigularis resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Scarlet-tufted Sunbird Anthreptes fraseri resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Green Sunbird Anthreptes rectirostris resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Little Green Sunbird Nectarinia seimundi resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Blue-throated Brown Sunbird Nectarinia cyanolaema resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Carmelite Sunbird Nectarinia fuliginosa resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Buff-throated Sunbird Nectarinia adelberti resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Tiny Sunbird Nectarinia minulla resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Johanna's Sunbird Nectarinia johannae resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Superb Sunbird Nectarinia superba resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Vieillot's Black Weaver Ploceus nigerrimus resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Yellow-mantled Weaver Ploceus tricolor resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Maxwell's Black Weaver Ploceus albinucha resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Preuss's Weaver Ploceus preussi resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Red-vented Malimbe Malimbus scutatus resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Gray's Malimbe Malimbus nitens resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Crested Malimbe Malimbus malimbicus resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Red-headed Malimbe Malimbus rubricollis resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Red-fronted Antpecker Parmoptila rubrifrons resident  1997  present  A3  Near Threatened 
White-breasted Negrofinch Nigrita fusconotus resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Chestnut-breasted Negrofinch Nigrita bicolor resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Crimson Seedcracker Pyrenestes sanguineus resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Western Bluebill Spermophaga haematina resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Gymnobucco calvus resident  1997  present  A3  Not Recognised 
Trachyphonus purpuratus resident  1997  present  A3  Not Recognised 
Bristle-nosed Barbet Gymnobucco peli resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Speckled Tinkerbird Pogoniulus scolopaceus resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Red-rumped Tinkerbird Pogoniulus atroflavus resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Yellow-throated Tinkerbird Pogoniulus subsulphureus resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Yellow-spotted Barbet Buccanodon duchaillui resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 
Hairy-breasted Barbet Tricholaema hirsuta resident  1997  present  A3  Least Concern 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
East Nimba National Park 13,569 protected area contained by site 13,569  
Nimba West National Park 10,482 protected area contained by site 10,482  

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

Name Year formed
Eat Nimba Nature Reserve Site Support Group 2005

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Artificial - terrestrial   3%
Unknown   6%
Forest   90%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
hunting -
nature conservation and research -
urban/industrial/transport -
water management -

Other biodiversity The floristic and faunistic importance of the Nimba mountains is considerable. Endemic flora include the fern Asplenium schnelli and the flowering plants Blaeria nimbana, Osbeckia porteresii and Dolichos nimbaensis. More than 500 species of fauna new to science have been described from specimens collected in the Nimba mountains, mostly however from the Guinean and Ivoirian territory. Endemics include the amphibian Schoutedenella nimbaensis, known only from the type-locality in Guinea, the viviparous toad Nimbaphrynoides occidentalis (EN) and the small mammal Micropotamogale lamottei (EN). Other, non-endemic, mammals of conservation concern include Colobus polykomos (LR/nt), Procolobus badius (LR/nt), Cercopithecus diana (VU), Pan troglodytes (EN), Syncerus caffer (LR/cd), Hexaprotodon liberiensis (VU), Genetta johnstoni (DD) and Cephalophus jentincki (VU). The current status of these on the Liberian side of the border in unknown.

Further web sources of information 

Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE) species/site profile. This site has been identified as an AZE due to it containing a Critically Endangered or Endangered species with a limited range.

References Colston and Curry-Lindahl (1986), Gatter (1997), Lamotte (1998).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Nimba mountains. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 29/07/2014

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