The site, variously known as Ebok-Kabaken, Ebbaken or Ebok-Boje, is a hilly locality in the Boki Local Area of Cross River State, between Afi River Forest Reserve (NG005) and Cross River National Park—Okwangwo Division (NG010). The hill-slopes are covered with tall grasses which reach heights of over 3 m. Forests grow in the valleys between the hills. The Ebbaken community, near which the site is located, comprises nine villages surrounded by the hills. Parts of the forest-edges and grassy hills are cleared and planted with cash-crops (e.g. cocoa, bananas and plantains) or subsistence crops (e.g. cassava, yam and coco-yam).
See Box and Table 3 for key species. Over 1 million migrant swallows (mostly Hirundo rustica) are estimated to use the tall grasses of the hills of the area as a regular winter roost. The poorly known Phyllastrephus baumanni has been mist-netted here, one of only two IBAs from which it has been recorded. Picathartes oreas has been recorded in the nearby forests but its status locally is unclear. The locality is thought to be the southernmost in the country for Euschistospiza dybowskii (the one A04 species known).
Non-bird biodiversity: The surrounding community forests are believed to hold populations of primates including Mandrillus leucophaeus (EN) and Pan troglodytes (EN).
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Clearance of forest in the low-lying areas and of grasslands of the hill-slopes for farming is increasing. Local people used to hunt the swallows for food and between 100,000 to 200,000 birds were estimated to have been caught annually. However, a series of modest interventions, including a piggery project, started by the NGO ProNatura International, but now managed by the NCF, appears to be having some success in changing the attitudes of the local people in favour of preserving the swallows and their roost-sites for their tourism and research value.
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Ebok-Kabaken. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 20/04/2021.