Busia grasslands

Country/territory: Kenya

IBA criteria met: A1, A3 (1999)
For more information about IBA criteria, please click here

Area: 250 ha

IBA conservation status
Year of assessment (most recent) Threat (pressure) Condition (state) Action (response)
2019 high very unfavourable negligible
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Site description (baseline)
This area comprises a chain of small grassland patches (some seasonally flooded) in western Kenya, including Mungatsi (36 ha, 0°27’67”N 34°19’69”E), Matayo (210 ha, 0°23’01”N 34°08’73”E), Sikoma (1 ha, 0°24’03”N 34°11’03”E), and Malanga (3 ha, 0°25’96”N 34°18’44”E). All the patches are surrounded by intensive agriculture, mainly maize and sugarcane, and are grazed by livestock. The most important of them is Mungatsi, located 2 km from Mungatsi market along the Mungatsi–Munami road. This privately-owned site lies on either side of a small stream (a tributary of the River Sio), which is fringed by riverine forest and scrub.

Key biodiversity
See Box and Table 3 for key species. Hirundo atrocaerulea, a globally threatened intra-African migrant, is a non-breeding visitor to this area from April to September. It feeds over grassland and over 100 have been recorded roosting at the flooded grassland patch near Mungatsi. Gallinago media is an uncommon Palearctic migrant, likely to occur here regularly but its current status is uncertain. The riverine forest and scrub at Mungatsi also holds several Sudan–Guinea Savanna biome species that are not found in other IBAs. This is also the only Kenyan IBA in which Caprimulgus (pectoralis) nigriscapularis and Sylvietta virens, two Guinea–Congo Forests biome species, are recorded. Regionally threatened species include Circaetus cinerascens, Alcedo quadribrachys (recorded at Mungatsi) and Euplectes hartlaubi (nests in flooded grassland).

Non-bird biodiversity: These vanishing grasslands have been little studied. On biogeographic grounds, they are likely to have close links with Ugandan grasslands and to contain species that are found nowhere else in Kenya.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Busia grasslands. Downloaded from on 03/06/2023.