Kaya Waa

Country/territory: Kenya

IBA Criteria met: A1 (2001)
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Area: 20 ha

Most recent IBA monitoring assessment
Year of assessment Threat score (pressure) Condition score (state) Action score (response)
2021 very high very unfavourable negligible
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Site description
The Kayas are small, relict patches of forest that once sheltered the fortified villages of the Mijikenda people on the Kenyan coast. They have spiritual and ceremonial significance and are customarily protected by a Council of Elders. Kaya Waa (sacred to the Digo people) is Cynometra–Drypetes forest on coral rag that covers a level cliff-top just above the ocean, near Waa village. The forest is dense and low, practically a thicket in many places, and difficult to walk through. Under the coral cliffs there is reportedly a large cave, which is of religious significance to the local people. The site was gazetted as a National Monument under the care of the National Museums of Kenya in 1992.

Key biodiversity
See Box for key species. The habitat structure is very suitable for the threatened Zoothera guttata, which has been recorded here and is likely to occur at relatively high density. The remaining avifauna is impoverished, but Tauraco fischeri (Near Threatened and restricted-range) and Pogoniulus simplex (East African Coast biome) have been recorded.

Non-bird biodiversity: The threatened small mammal Rhynchocyon petersi (EN) probably occurs. There is a healthy population of the coastal forest tree Cynometra greenwayi, a rare Kenyan endemic known only from here and the Watamu area.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Kaya Waa. Downloaded from on 09/12/2022.