Léconi grasslands

Year of compilation: 2001

Site description
The site is located in south-east of the country, east of the town of Franceville, near the border with the Republic of Congo and represents the northern part of the vast Batéké Plateau, which extends south through both Congos into northern Angola. It consists of Loudetia simplex-dominated short-grass savannas, either as tree-less prairies or as wooded grasslands, characterized by Hymenocardia acida, Maprounea africana, Dialium sp. and Annona senegalensis shrubs. Other common grass species include Ctenium newtoni and Trachypogon thollonii. Patches of dense woodland occur on the tops of some hills. Associated with the rivers and lakes in the area are a number of erosion cirques. Swamp-forests, often with Raphia palms, grow on the banks of these lakes and rivers, with associated permanent herbaceous swamps.

Key biodiversity
See Box and Table 3 for key species. A preliminary inventory of the avifauna totals 249 species, of which 208 are considered breeding residents. One species of global conservation concern occurs, Ploceus nigrimentum, and Léconi is the only locality in the country from which it is known. Five species restricted to the Zambezian biome also occur: Lybius minor, Hirundo rufigula, Lanius souzae, Cisticola dambo and Sylvietta ruficapilla. A number of Central African species of limited distribution are found, in particular Francolinus finschi, Myrmecocichla tholloni and Batis minulla, while many southern African species reach the northern limit of their distribution in Central Africa in the area. Examples include Streptopelia capicola, Caprimulgus pectoralis, Halcyon albiventris, Coracias caudata, Anthus brachyurus, Cisticola chiniana and Petronia superciliaris. Other species of wide distribution in Africa occur, but are unknown elsewhere in Gabon, such as Neotis denhami, Francolinus coqui, Circaetus pectoralis, Terathopius ecaudatus, Apus horus, Halcyon chelicuti, Anthus leucophrys and Estrilda paludicola. The patches of dense woodland hold some forest species such as Cercococcyx olivinus, Smithornis capensis, Malaconotus multicolor, Telophorus bocagei, T. viridis and Ploceus bicolor.

Non-bird biodiversity: None known to BirdLife International.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The area has been proposed as a Nature Reserve. Subsistence hunting has significantly reduced mammal populations, but birds have been little affected. In April–May, however, migrating Ciconia abdimii are shot. Except around the town of Léconi, there is little demand for land for agriculture.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Léconi grasslands. Downloaded from on 23/04/2021.