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Location Tanzania, Tanga
Central coordinates 39o 0.00' East  5o 0.00' South
IBA criteria A1, A2, A3
Area 5,000 ha
Altitude 30 - 648m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

Site description Muheza District is the most northerly coastal district in Tanzania, bordering Kenya and stretching from the coast into the East Usambara mountains. It contains a wide variety of natural habitats, including low-altitude and coastal forest, and some thicket. Much of the low coastal plain is covered in sisal and coconut plantations, on land cleared of closed-canopy forest. The Sigi river drains the central catchment of the East Usambara and enters the sea to the north of Tanga.There are 37 Forest Reserves listed for Muheza District, but most of these are associated with the East Usambara mountains (TZ070). There are a few isolated forests at lower altitudes between the Usambaras and the coast. These include Kilulu Hill (160 ha), Amboni Caves (350 ha), Pangani Falls (10 ha), Kwani (2,545 ha; only 600 ha of forest cover) and Tongwe-Muheza (1,202 ha; only 300 ha of forest cover). Other reserves such as Bassi (1,197 ha, but cleared for exotics), Gombero (2,399 ha, but cleared for agriculture) are excluded from the IBA.

Key Biodiversity See Box and Tables 2 and 3 for key species. Recent records from the Pangani river include Scotopelia peli and Podica senegalensis. Anthus sokokensis may also occur at this site but the only records are from the 1930s.

Non-bird biodiversity: There are several coastal forest endemic mammals, reptiles, amphibians and plants. The latter include populations of plants (African violets) Saintpaulia spp. on Tongwe Hill.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Southern Banded Snake-eagle Circaetus fasciolatus resident  2000  present  A1, A3  Near Threatened 
Brown-headed Parrot Poicephalus cryptoxanthus resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Fischer's Turaco Tauraco fischeri resident  2000  present  A1, A2, A3  Near Threatened 
Mombasa Woodpecker Campethera mombassica resident  2000  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Four-coloured Bush-shrike Telophorus quadricolor resident  2000  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Black-bellied Glossy-starling Lamprotornis corruscus resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Plain-backed Sunbird Anthreptes reichenowi resident  2000  present  A1, A3  Near Threatened 
Zanzibar Bishop Euplectes nigroventris resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Sokoke Pipit Anthus sokokensis resident  2000  unknown  A2, A3  Endangered 
Eastern Green Tinkerbird Pogoniulus simplex resident  2000  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Brown-breasted Barbet Pogonornis melanopterus resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Amboni Caves Forest Reserve 350 protected area contained by site 350  
Kilulu Hill Forest Reserve 160 protected area contained by site 160  
Kwani Forest Reserve 310,524 protected area contained by site 3,105  
Pangani Falls Forest Reserve 10 protected area contained by site 10  
Tongwe Forest Reserve 136,600 protected area overlaps with site 1,366  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest   100%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
forestry -
water management -

References Burgess and Clarke (2000), Clarke and Stubblefield (1995), Faldborg et al. (1991), Fottland (1996).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Muheza District Coastal Forests. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016

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