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Location Sierra Leone, Southern Province
Central coordinates 12o 55.00' West  8o 12.00' North
IBA criteria A4i, A4iii
Area 33,605 ha
Altitude 0 - 10m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

Conservation Society of Sierra Leone

Site description This site is located on the southern side of the Western Area Peninsula, about 60 km south-east of Freetown. It is a shallow coastal wetland, with a 9,100 ha expanse of intertidal mudflats, that extends along 60 km of foreshore and is backed primarily by mangrove swamps covering 24,505 ha (14% of the total area of mangrove swamp in Sierra Leone), interlaced with a network of creeks. The bay’s topography and location mean that its waters are sheltered. It is therefore an important spawning ground for fish. This has led to the development of fishing communities and the establishment of commercial fisheries along its shores.

Key Biodiversity See Box for key species. Forty-six species have been recorded in the bay. The globally near-threatened Sterna balaenarum was recorded from Sierra Leone for the first time in 1994 from this site, when 40 were seen. This constituted a significant westward extension of its global range; whether the species occurs here regularly is unknown. The African Waterfowl Census in January 1995 covered 30% of the bay and recorded 13,168 waterbirds. Other areas of the bay were not accessible at that time because of poor security, but it is thought that waterbird numbers regularly exceed 20,000 in the bay as a whole.

Non-bird biodiversity: Among mammals, there are records of Trichechus senegalensis (VU) from the bay, and the duiker Cephalophus maxwelli (LR/nt) inhabits the coastal forest.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
African Spoonbill Platalea alba winter  150 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Great White Egret Ardea alba winter  686 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola winter  3,500 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Common Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula winter  6,000 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Common Redshank Tringa totanus winter  14,000 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia winter  2,500 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Red Knot Calidris canutus winter  5,000 individuals  A4i  Near Threatened 
Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea winter  16,600 individuals  A4i  Near Threatened 
Royal Tern Thalasseus maximus winter  1,100 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds winter  20,000-49,999 individuals  unknown  A4iii   

IBA Monitoring

2013 very high not assessed low

Agriculture and aquaculture annual & perennial non-timber crops - small-holder farming happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Agriculture and aquaculture marine and freshwater aquaculture - subsistence/artisinal aquaculture happening now some of area/population (10-49%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Energy production and mining mining and quarrying happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) very rapid to severe deterioration very high
Human intrusions and disturbance work and other activities happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Transportation and service corridors roads and railroads happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium

Some of site covered (10-49%)  No management plan exists but the management planning process has begun  Some limited conservation initiatives are in place  low 


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Wetlands (inland) Intertidal mud, sand or salt flats; Mangroves; Rivers & streams  14%
Artificial - terrestrial   6%
Forest   80%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
fisheries/aquaculture -
urban/industrial/transport -
not utilised -

References Schwarz (1992), Taylor and Rose (1994), Thompson (1997b), Tye and Tye (1987).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Yawri Bay. Downloaded from on 21/10/2016

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