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Location Niger, Tillabéri
Central coordinates 2o 25.00' East  12o 20.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A3
Area 220,000 ha
Altitude 170 - 310m
Year of IBA assessment 2001





Site description The ‘W’ National Park lies 150 km south of Niamey, at the point where Niger, Burkina Faso and Benin meet. Together with the contiguous parks of the same name in Burkina Faso (part of IBA BF008) and Benin (BJ001), it forms the largest tract of protected savanna in West Africa. In the north-east the boundary of the park is formed by the Niger river. The river here makes several sharp turns, which together form the shape of the letter ‘W’ from which the park takes its name. In the south the boundary is formed by the Mékrou river (which also forms the international frontier with Benin), in the west by the international border with Burkina Faso and in the north by the Tapoa river. Large parts of the park are rocky, as a result of outcroppings of metamorphic Precambrian rocks (e.g. quartzites, schists and gneisses). In certain areas, these are overlain by Tertiary sediments, which give rise to widespread laterite-capped plateaus. Along the three rivers there are Quaternary alluvial flood-plains. The vegetation is predominantly wooded savanna and shrubland, transitional between the Sahelian and Sudanian savanna-types, together with a small amount of grassland. In addition to the flood-plains along the Niger river, there are gallery forests along its main tributaries and a number of ephemeral pools and wetlands in upland areas. Average annual rainfall in the park for the period 1961–1990 was c.700 mm.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Pallid Harrier Circus macrourus winter  present  A1  Near Threatened 
Arabian Bustard Ardeotis arabs resident  1999  present  A3  Near Threatened 
Savile's Bustard Lophotis savilei resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
African Collared-dove Streptopelia roseogrisea resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Senegal Parrot Poicephalus senegalus resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Violet Turaco Musophaga violacea resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Blue-bellied Roller Coracias cyanogaster resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Red-throated Bee-eater Merops bulocki resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Yellow-billed Shrike Corvinella corvina resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Piapiac Ptilostomus afer resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Pied-winged Swallow Hirundo leucosoma resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Sun Lark Galerida modesta resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
River Prinia Prinia fluviatilis resident  1999  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Oriole Warbler Hypergerus atriceps resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Senegal Eremomela Eremomela pusilla resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Purple Glossy-starling Lamprotornis purpureus resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Chestnut-bellied Starling Lamprotornis pulcher resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-crowned Robin-chat Cossypha albicapilla resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Black Scrub-robin Cercotrichas podobe resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-fronted Black-chat Myrmecocichla albifrons resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Chestnut-crowned Sparrow-weaver Plocepasser superciliosus resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Sudan Golden Sparrow Passer luteus resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Bush Petronia Petronia dentata resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Heuglin's Masked-weaver Ploceus heuglini resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Red-winged Pytilia Pytilia phoenicoptera resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Black-throated Firefinch Lagonosticta larvata resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Lavender Waxbill Estrilda caerulescens resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Black-rumped Waxbill Estrilda troglodytes resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Bearded Barbet Pogonornis dubius resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Parc national du W Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 220,000 is identical to site 220,000  
W du Niger National Park 220,000 is identical to site 220,000  
W National Park of Niger World Heritage Site 220,000 is identical to site 220,000  
W Region (Niger) UNESCO-MAB Biosphere Reserve 728,000 protected area contains site 220,000  

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Artificial - terrestrial   87%
Shrubland   12%

Land use

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

Other biodiversity A total of 82 species of mammal have been identified, including Loxodonta africana (EN), Panthera leo (VU), Acinonyx jubatus (VU), Syncerus caffer (LR/cd) and 11 species of antelope; Trichechus senegalensis (VU) also occurs.

References Brouwer (1993), Brouwer and Mullié (1993), Jameson and Crisler (1996), Koster and Grettenberger (1983), Newby et al. (1982), Shul et al. (1986).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: 'W' National Park. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 02/08/2014

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