Masinga reservoir

Country/territory: Kenya

IBA Criteria met: A4i, A4iii (2001)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 100,000 ha

Most recent IBA monitoring assessment
Year of assessment Threat score (pressure) Condition score (state) Action score (response)
2007 not assessed not assessed not assessed
For more information about IBA monitoring please click here

Site description
This is by far the largest reservoir of the five impoundments along the upper Tana river, and abuts on the eastern side with Mwea National Reserve (IBA KE032). Masinga dam, which is managed by the Tana and Athi Rivers Development Authority, was completed in 1981. The valley that it drowned has a highly convoluted shoreline and contains a number of sizeable islands. The maximum depth is c.50 m, near the dam wall. Because of periodic draw-down and flooding, the shoreline is bare ground with a mosaic of deposited silt, pebbles and mud. Further from the water, a narrow strip of grass gives way to open Acacia–Commiphora bushland. The area is semi-arid with an annual rainfall of between 250 and 500 mm.

Key biodiversity
See Box for key species. Masinga is notable mainly for its waterbirds, with breeding colonies of cormorants and Anhinga rufa. The terrestrial avifauna is not particularly diverse, but the threatened and restricted-range Turdoides hindei has been recorded in Acacia thickets 100–200 m from the eastern shores of the reservoir (and see Mwea National Reserve, IBA KE032). Regionally threatened species include Anhinga rufa (Masinga is one of the few known Kenyan nesting sites; 94 birds were counted in February 1999, with 228 altogether on the five Upper Tana dams); Casmerodius albus (260 in March 1995); and Polemaetus bellicosus (status unknown).

Non-bird biodiversity: The dam supports substantial populations of Hippopotamus amphibius and Crocodylus niloticus. There is no information on other fauna or flora.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Masinga reservoir. Downloaded from on 12/08/2022.