Odzala National Park complex

Country/territory: Congo

IBA criteria met: A3 (2001)
For more information about IBA criteria, please click here

Area: 1,360,000 ha

IBA conservation status
Year of assessment (most recent) State (condition) Pressure (threat) Response (action)
2001 not assessed low low
For more information about IBA monitoring, please click here

Site description (2001 baseline)
Odzala National Park was created in 1935 (gazetted 1940), covering then 1,266 km². The Odzala complex also included the Lékoli–Pandaka Faunal Reserve (682 km²) and Mboko Hunting Reserve (900 km²), both to the south of the park. These and an enormous area of forest to the north, west and east of the original complex have been included in an enlarged National Park in June 2001. Odzala is on the southern fringes of the block of Guineo–Congolian forest extending from Gabon to DR Congo. The southern section of the site consists of a forest-savanna mosaic on a plateau at 500–600 m, while the north is continuous forest. Over 90% of the forest is semi-evergreen, with a fairly open canopy and a dense Marantaceae understorey; most of the rest is taken up by swamp-forest (with a closed canopy and more open understorey, Raphia is dominant very locally). Savannas occupy c.420 km² in the south, most of which is wooded grassland (with Hymenocardia acida, 2–4 m tall, as the main tree). There are also some thickets while many dambos (seasonally wet grassland) line the galleries of swamp-forest. Wetlands are small, but include rivers, small pools, Cyperaceae marsh and saltpans.

Key biodiversity
See Box and Table 2 for key species. Some 440 bird species have been recorded, of which c.330 are proven or thought to breed. Species of interest include Phoeniculus castaneiceps (previously unknown from the southern fringe of the Guineo–Congolian forest block), Smithornis sharpei, Lobotos oriolinus, Phylloscopus budongoensis and Apalis jacksoni (the latter two are mainly montane elsewhere), Cisticola eximius (previously unknown from south of the Guineo–Congolian forest block) and Ploceus dorsomaculatus. The yellow-bellied form of Stiphrornis erythrothorax (described as a new species S. sanghensis) is locally common (see site CG001). Falco naumanni and Glareola nordmanni are recorded as vagrants while Gallinago media is also known to occur and may prove to be regular on both passages. In addition, two species of the Zambezian biome (A10), Hirundo rufigula and Sylvietta ruficapilla, occur (the first as a seasonal migrant, the second is resident in wooded savanna).

Non-bird biodiversity: The park is an important refuge for large mammals, including Loxodonta africana (EN), Syncerus caffer nanus (LR/cd), Tragelaphus euryceros (LR/nt) (local), many primates, including Gorilla gorilla (EN) and Pan troglodytes (EN), and a small, isolated population of Panthera leo (VU). The forest vegetation is varied and has recently yielded a new species of Diospyros (D. whitei).

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Odzala National Park complex. Downloaded from on 01/12/2023.