Bénoué National Park is situated between the towns of Garoua, to the north, and Ngaoundéré to the south. A long stretch of the Bénoué river (over 100 km) forms the eastern boundary of the park, the main road linking Garoua and Ngaoundéré makes up part of the western boundary while a public road, to Tcholliré, crosses the northern part of the park. The park is largely surrounded by Hunting Reserves in an area, except along the main road, of low population density. Some large rocky massifs (especially Hosséré Gorna in the north) rise to altitudes of 600–750 m above the undulating plain at 250–500 m. The vegetation includes several types of Sudanian woodland (from tall Isoberlinia-dominated and other woodland in the south-centre, to shorter, more open, mixed wooded grassland in the north), dry Anogeissus forest, semi-evergreen riparian forest and thickets along the Bénoué and its major affluents. The level of the sandy Bénoué river fluctuates much seasonally and exposed sandbars provide habitat for plovers and other waterbirds in the dry season.
See Box and Table 3 for key species. Recent surveys have identified 306 species. The Sudan–Guinea Savanna biome species include Streptopelia hypopyrrha (not uncommon along the Bénoué), Cisticola dorsti (throughout short woodland and wooded grassland), Drymocichla incana (numerous in riparian thickets and forest), Anthoscopus parvulus and Lanius gubernator (both in short woodland). Of five species of woodpecker Campethera abingoni is common in dense riparian forest, being ecologically separated from C. punctuligera, which is confined to woodland. The form umbrinodorsalis of Lagonostictarhodopareia, sometimes considered a separate species, is recorded from the park at one site; it is otherwise known only from one other locality, in southern Chad. There is one record of Neotis denhami (probably only a vagrant) and one of Circus macrourus. In addition, one species of the Guinea–Congo Forests biome (A05) has been recorded (Table 3).
Non-bird biodiversity: Mammals include Taurotragus derbianus (LR/nt), the second most important population in Cameroon, the main one being in Bouba Ndjida. There are small numbers of Loxodonta africana (EN). While Acinonyx jubatus (VU) and Damaliscus lunatus korrigum (VU) occur, the habitat is marginal for both.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The area was established as a Faunal Reserve in 1932, upgraded to a National Park in 1968 and became a Biosphere Reserve in 1981. Of the three parks on the Bénoué plain, this has suffered most from poaching pressure, but birds have been little affected. The fact that a public road crosses the park leads to some disturbance, including too frequent bush fires. Others threats include agricultural encroachment.
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Bénoué National Park. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 14/08/2020.