Bagamoyo District Coastal Forests

Site description (2001 baseline):

Site location and context
Zaraninge forest, at almost 20,000 ha, is the only forested area, among 10 actual or proposed Forest Reserves in Bagamoyo District, which has been investigated for birds. Within Zaraninge, a proposed reserve, the main area of interest is a relatively small (1,200 ha) patch of evergreen forest on the Kiono plateau in the western half of the proposed reserve within which six tree assemblages have been identified. The bulk of the site is rather open woodland with Terminalia, Diospyros, Albizia, Sterculia and Grewia. There is a seasonal marsh within Zaraninge. The eastern boundary of the forest is the Central Railway that runs due north along the edge of the coastal plain. Immediately to the east of the railway is the Sadaani Game Reserve that extends to the Indian Ocean, 15 km away.

Key biodiversity
See Box and Tables 2 and 3 for key species. The avifauna of Zaraninge was unknown until 1985. Hole-nesting species such as Campethera cailliautii, Apaloderma narina, Tockus alboterminatus and Poicephalus robustus are far more common than in similar forests elsewhere, perhaps because of the large number of dead trees. Anthreptes reichenowi yokanae is especially common as is Telophorus quadricolor, a thicket and forest-edge species, which indicates the openness of the habitat. Circaetus fasciolatus is a low-density resident. However, by far the most exciting discovery at this site has been records of Anthus sokokensis, perhaps the most enigmatic of the coastal forest birds in Tanzania. Because of logistical difficulties virtually no fieldwork has been undertaken during the long rains when species such as Pitta angolensis and the globally threatened Zoothera guttata could be expected to occur on passage. Ringing studies have indicated that nominally montane populations of Pogonocichla stellata winter in Zaraninge, where they undergo their annual moult.

Non-bird biodiversity: Mammals of global conservation concern include Loxodonta africana (EN), Rhynchocyon petersi (EN), Galago zanzibaricus (LR/nt) and Beamys hindei (VU) as well as rare bats. A shrew species is possibly endemic to the area. There are 17 forest-dependent reptiles, 10 amphibians and two possibly endemic plants.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The wide firebreaks and lack of commercial timber are a clear indication of extensive logging in the recent past. However, the amount of dead standing timber indicates that pressure on the forest in the early 1980s was rather limited. The area was proposed as a Forest Reserve in 1958, but this was never followed through. The World Wide Fund for Nature have followed up an earlier initiative by the Wildlife Conservation Society of Tanzania and manage a conservation and development project in the area. The Tanzania Government is now actively pursuing proposals for a new National Park in the area, which would include Zaraninge Forest, along with Saadani Game Reserve and Mkwaja Ranch.The creation of commercial plantations of mvule Chlorophora excelsa on the western and northern borders of the proposed Forest Reserve offers long-term enrichment of the forest ecosystem and the prospects of participation in a viable rural economy to the villagers of Bagamoyo District. There are nine other designated or proposed Forest Reserves in the district, the avifaunas of which are unknown.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2024) Important Bird Area factsheet: Bagamoyo District Coastal Forests. Downloaded from on 28/02/2024.