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Gede lies some 94 km north of Mombasa on the Mombasa–Malindi road. A gazetted National Monument since 1927, now managed by the National Museums of Kenya, it protects the excavated ruins of an old Arab-African town, abandoned in the seventeenth century. Over the ruins, on the shallow coral rag soil, has grown a lowland semi-deciduous forest, maintained by a rainfall of around 1,100 mm/year. The 44 ha site, surrounded by farmland, is entirely fenced, and contains around 35 ha of coastal forest, traversed by narrow paths that wind between the excavated buildings. At least 50 indigenous tree species occur, including Gyrocarpus americanus and Sterculia appendiculata. The edge of Arabuko-Sokoke forest (IBA KE007) is c.3 km away to the west.
See Box for key species. Despite its small size, Gede is an important site for the globally threatened Zoothera guttata, a non-breeding visitor. As many as 110 birds may be present between March and October each year. The globally threatened and restricted-range Anthus sokokensis has also been recorded here (possibly as a visitor), though there are no recent records and the population, if still extant, must be tiny. Densities of most other birds are also low, although the listed avifauna is surprisingly diverse—42 forest-dependent species have been recorded, including 12 of Kenya’s 29 East African Coast biome species and the restricted-range Tauraco fischeri, which is resident. Gede is not listed under the biome category, since many of these species may only be occasional visitors. Gypohierax angolensis regularly nest in the tall trees within the main excavation. Regionally threatened species include Pitta angolensis, Turdoides squamulatus, and Erythrocercus holochlorus.
Non-bird biodiversity: The small mammal Rhynchocyon chrysopygus (EN), endemic to the northern East African coast, occurs here, formerly at high densities. The plant Phaulopsis gediensis has recently been described from this site.
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Gede Ruins National Monument. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 20/10/2020.