Machakos valleys

Country/territory: Kenya

IBA criteria met: A1, A2 (1999)
For more information about IBA criteria, please click here

Area: 5,000 ha

IBA conservation status
Year of assessment (most recent) State (condition) Pressure (threat) Response (action)
2009 very unfavourable high negligible
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Site description (2001 baseline)
This area comprises river and stream valleys in the catchment of the Ikiwe and Ngwani rivers, south of Machakos town, draining eastwards into the Athi river system. The land slopes gradually down from the Athi-Kapiti plains in the west, with an intricate system of river valleys draining between small hills. The area is semi-arid rangeland, with rainfall around 500–700 mm/year, and with low potential for agriculture. Most of the streams and rivers are seasonal, with shallow valleys. The riverbeds consist of sand and rock, with a dense band of bush and thicket (dominated by Grewia trichocarpa with Teclea and Aspilia species) for about 10 m on either side, grading into open Acacia hockii and A. xanthophloea woodland. The land is owned by a number of large ranches, including Potha, Kilima and Kimutwa, some of which have been divided up into small agricultural plots. The boundaries of the IBA are presently undefined, requiring further survey work; it includes sections of the Ikiwe, Kimutwa, Love, Makilu, Mwania, Potha, Syuuni, Wamua and Wamui rivers.

Key biodiversity
See Box and Table 2 for key species. The riverine thickets and woodland shelter the globally threatened Turdoides hindei, which has a very restricted range in central Kenya. This is one of the few sites where it is known to occur in natural habitat, although at relatively low densities (c.2 birds/km of watercourse; a total of around 60 birds in 14 groups estimated for the IBA during 2000). The babblers are commonest in the higher parts of the IBA, and are likely to occur in river valleys immediately to the south as well. The rest of the avifauna is characteristic of semi-arid areas in Kenya, with 18 species from the Somali–Masai biome, see Table 3.

Non-bird biodiversity: None known to BirdLife International.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Machakos valleys. Downloaded from on 22/09/2023.