The site comprises a stretch of the middle Niger river and associated flood-plains, together with the lower reaches of the Kaduna river below the Wuya bridge near Bida. The rivers are characterized by broad channels with numerous sandbanks which become small islands during the dry season when the river levels drop. Extensive low-lying areas of fadama beside the rivers become flooded during the wet season. These and the adjoining savanna woodlands are intensively farmed, resulting in fragmentation and degradation of both the Mitragyna swamp-forests along the banks of the rivers and the surrounding savanna woodlands. Trees found in remnant forest patches include Uapaca togoensis, Berlinia, Pterocarpus and Terminalia spp. Elaeis guineensis, Diospyros mespiliformis and Napoleona sp. also grow in these riparian forests. Where undisturbed by farming, the woodlands are typical of the southern Guinea Savanna, with characteristic trees such as Vitellaria paradoxa, Daniellia oliveri and Parkia biglobosa.
See Box and Table 3 for key species. The site is an important breeding area for Merops malimbicus with colonies of over 15,000 birds, seen in 1989 and 1996, near Tamaworo on the lower Kaduna river. Other nationally uncommon birds include Ciconia episcopus, Pteronetta hartlaubii and Nettapus auritus. Over 100 Pluvianus aegyptius and more than 150 Glareola cinerea have been counted. Glareola cinerea breeds, as does Sterna albifrons, while several Merops nubicus colonies occur in the eroded riverbanks. Indicator indicator, brood-parasites of the bee-eaters, are common visitors to the M. malimbicus colonies. In addition, four species of the Guinea–Congo Forests biome (A05) have also been recorded; see Table 3.
Non-bird biodiversity: None known to BirdLife International.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The area is entirely unprotected. Unseasonal flooding of the sandbanks, caused by the release of water from the Shiroro Dam upstream, is reported to have destroyed the M. malimbicus colonies on several occasions. Children also sometimes swim across arms of the river to play on the sandbanks where the bee-eaters breed. Farming activities and the associated bush-burning, especially in riparian areas, are serious threats to these habitats. Most of the fadama lands are used for rice cultivation.
BirdLife International (2019) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Lower Kaduna - Middle Niger flood-plain. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 13/12/2019.