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Location Tanzania, Arusha,Shinyanga
Central coordinates 35o 23.22' East  3o 2.82' South
IBA criteria A1, A2, A3, A4i, A4ii, A4iii
Area 810,000 ha
Altitude 1,030 - 3,648m
Year of IBA assessment 2001





Site description The Crater Highlands were created from a series of eight volcanoes that dominated the landscape between 3.6 and 2.5 million years ago when the caldera of Ngorongoro itself was formed. To the north-east, Mount Kerimasi developed and, as it died, Mount Lengai was created. Today, after many centuries of weathering, these mountains sit above the Eastern Rift. There are four peaks above 3,000 m, dominated by open moorland habitat at high altitude. The eastern flanks of the highland block are cloaked in montane forest with Croton spp. dominating the lower areas, Acacia lahai and Albizia gummifera the higher ridges and Cassipourea malosana in the steep valleys. At lower elevations there are dry acacia woodlands and open grass plains in the rain-shadow of the mountains. Several important wetlands lie within the site, including Lake Makat on the floor of Ngorongoro Crater, at an altitude of 1,700 m. It is shallow and saline and only dries out occasionally.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Yellow-necked Spurfowl Francolinus leucoscepus resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Grey-breasted Spurfowl Francolinus rufopictus resident  2000  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Lesser Flamingo Phoeniconaias minor non-breeding  1994  400,000-1,200,000 individuals  A1, A4i  Near Threatened 
White Stork Ciconia ciconia winter  1995  6,541 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni passage  2000  present  A1  Least Concern 
Taita Falcon Falco fasciinucha resident  present  A1  Near Threatened 
Pallid Harrier Circus macrourus passage  present  A1  Near Threatened 
Rueppell's Vulture Gyps rueppellii breeding  1982  110 breeding pairs  A4ii  Endangered 
Eastern Chanting-goshawk Melierax poliopterus resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Mountain Buzzard Buteo oreophilus resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Buff-crested Bustard Eupodotis gindiana resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Striped Flufftail Sarothrura affinis resident  2000  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus non-breeding  1995  2,613 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Caspian Plover Charadrius asiaticus winter  1998  500 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Black-faced Sandgrouse Pterocles decoratus resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Dusky Turtle-dove Streptopelia lugens resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Fischer's Lovebird Agapornis fischeri resident  2000  present  A1, A2, A3  Near Threatened 
Donaldson-Smith's Nightjar Caprimulgus donaldsoni resident  2000  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Scarce Swift Schoutedenapus myoptilus resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Nyanza Swift Apus niansae resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater Merops oreobates resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Abyssinian Scimitarbill Rhinopomastus minor resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Von der Decken's Hornbill Tockus deckeni resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
D'Arnaud's Barbet Trachyphonus darnaudii resident  2000  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Red-and-yellow Barbet Trachyphonus erythrocephalus resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Usambiro Barbet Trachyphonus usambiro resident  2000  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Grey-crested Helmet-shrike Prionops poliolophus resident  2000  unknown  A2, A3  Near Threatened 
Grey Cuckooshrike Coracina caesia resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Taita Fiscal Lanius dorsalis resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-tailed Crested-flycatcher Elminia albonotata resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Red-throated Tit Parus fringillinus resident  2000  present  A1, A3  Least Concern 
Red-winged Lark Mirafra hypermetra resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Rufous Short-toed Lark Calandrella somalica resident  2000  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Short-tailed Lark Pseudalaemon fremantlii resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Hunter's Cisticola Cisticola hunteri resident  2000  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Karamoja Apalis Apalis karamojae resident  2000  present  A1, A2, A3  Vulnerable 
Eastern Mountain Greenbul Andropadus nigriceps resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Stripe-cheeked Greenbul Andropadus milanjensis resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Mountain Flycatcher-warbler Chloropeta similis resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Brown Woodland-warbler Phylloscopus umbrovirens resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Brown Warbler Sylvia lugens resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Banded Warbler Sylvia boehmi resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
African Hill Babbler Pseudoalcippe abyssinica resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Rufous Chatterer Turdoides rubiginosa resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Montane White-eye Zosterops poliogastrus resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-breasted White-eye Zosterops abyssinicus resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Hildebrandt's Starling Lamprotornis hildebrandti resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Ashy Starling Cosmopsarus unicolor resident  2000  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Waller's Starling Onychognathus walleri resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Kenrick's Starling Poeoptera kenricki resident  2000  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Orange Ground-thrush Zoothera gurneyi resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-starred Robin Pogonocichla stellata resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Rueppell's Robin-chat Cossypha semirufa resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Moorland Chat Cercomela sordida resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Little Rock-thrush Monticola rufocinereus resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
African Grey Flycatcher Bradornis microrhynchus resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-eyed Slaty Flycatcher Dioptrornis fischeri resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Eastern Double-collared Sunbird Nectarinia mediocris resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Tacazze Sunbird Nectarinia tacazze resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Bronze Sunbird Nectarinia kilimensis resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Golden-winged Sunbird Nectarinia reichenowi resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Red-tufted Sunbird Nectarinia johnstoni resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Rufous-tailed Weaver Histurgops ruficaudus resident  2000  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Black-capped Social-weaver Pseudonigrita cabanisi resident  2000  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Swahili Sparrow Passer suahelicus resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-headed Buffalo-weaver Dinemellia dinemelli resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Baglafecht Weaver Ploceus baglafecht resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Speke's Weaver Ploceus spekei resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Jackson's Widowbird Euplectes jacksoni resident  2000  present  A1, A2, A3  Near Threatened 
Abyssinian Crimson-wing Cryptospiza salvadorii resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Blue-capped Cordonbleu Uraeginthus cyanocephalus resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Purple Grenadier Uraeginthus ianthinogaster resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Swee Waxbill Estrilda melanotis resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Red-rumped Waxbill Estrilda charmosyna resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Grey-headed Silverbill Lonchura griseicapilla resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Golden Pipit Tmetothylacus tenellus resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Pangani Longclaw Macronyx aurantiigula resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Grey-faced Citril Serinus hypostictus resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Kenya Grosbeak-canary Serinus buchanani resident  2000  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
White-bellied Canary Serinus dorsostriatus resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Serinus striolatus resident  2000  present  A3  Not Recognised 
Thick-billed Seedeater Serinus burtoni resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Oriole Finch Linurgus olivaceus resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds winter  1994  50,000-99,999 individuals  unknown  A4iii   

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Ngorongoro Conservation Area 82,880,000 protected area contained by site 828,800  
Ngorongoro Conservation Area World Heritage Site 809,440 protected area contained by site 828,800  
Serengeti-Ngorongoro Biosphere Reserve UNESCO-MAB Biosphere Reserve 2,305,100 protected area overlaps with site 828,800  

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Artificial - terrestrial   18%
Shrubland   4%
Grassland   60%
Forest   17%

Land use

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

Other biodiversity The only remaining viable population of Diceros bicornis (CR) in Tanzania is in the IBA. The crater floor is reputed to hold the highest density of mammalian predators in Africa. Panthera leo (VU) are numerous for such a small area and Acinonyx jubatus (VU) frequent visitors. There are few Loxodonta africana (EN), but considerable numbers of Syncerus caffer (LR/cd).

References Arhem (1985), Baker (1997), Elliott (1946), Elliott and Fuggles-Couchman (1948), Fosbrooke (1972), Geertsema (1977), Hanby and Bygott (undated), Homewood and Rodgers (1991), Houston (1990), Moreau (1937, 1938), Moyer (1995), Mundy et al. (1992), Pennycuick (1983), Sinclair and Arcese (1995), Stronach (1991), Woodworth (1995).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 23/07/2014

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