Minkébé Forest Reserve

Country/territory: Gabon

IBA Criteria met: A1, A2, A3 (2001)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 600,000 ha

Protection status:

Site description
Located in north-east of the country, at the joint boundary with Cameroon and the Republic of Congo, Minkébé is a complex of semi-evergreen lowland rainforest and mixed swamp-forest, unique in Gabon. Two main tributaries of the Ivindo river flow north through the reserve, the Sing (or Nsye) and the Nouna, and are bordered by extensive swamp-forest, with some monodominant stands of Gilbertiodendron dewevrei. Dry-land forest is dominated by species such as Monopetalanthus sp., Tetraberlinia sp., Gilbertiodendron pierreanum, Cylicodiscus gabunensis, Pentaclethra eetveldeana. Semi-evergreen trees include Terminalia superba, Triplochiton scleroxylon, and Pteleopsis hylodendron. Species typical of the swamp-forest include Sterculia subviolacea, Macaranga sp. and Gilbertiodendron dewevrei. Small patches of aquatic grasses grow in open areas along the riverbanks but Minkébé is, otherwise, entirely forested. The ridges between the river basins reach 900 m and may support a third distinct type of forest.Minkébé is the name of an ancient village and colonial post, built on one of the ridges, that was abandoned in the 1930s. Patches of old secondary growth mark its presence.

Key biodiversity
See Box and Tables 2 and 3 for key species. The forest avifauna of the Minkébé area is one of the richest in Gabon and indeed Central Africa. Preliminary surveys, principally of the swamp-forests and adjacent dry forests, have recorded 226 species, of which 206 are forest residents. Batis minima is the only species of global conservation concern known to occur, but the presence of Picathartes oreas is virtually certain, as the species is known from the nearby Belinga area and geologically similar hills, providing suitable habitat, are known to occur in Minkébé. It is also likely that the restricted-range Hirundo fuliginosa, often associated with Picathartes oreas for nest-sites, will probably also be found in the future. Some species, such as Bostrychia olivacea, Bostrychia rara, Canirallus oculeus, Cercococcyx olivinus, Cercococcyx mechowi, Scotopelia bouvieri, Smithornis sharpei, Campephaga oriolina, Zoothera princei, and Zoothera camaronensis, appear to be commoner or, at least, easier to observe, here than elsewhere.

Non-bird biodiversity: Large forest mammals such as Loxodonta africana, (EN) Gorilla gorilla (EN) and Pan troglodytes (EN) are common. Local people report the presence of the ungulate Tragelaphus euryceros (LR/nt).

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Minkébé Forest Reserve. Downloaded from on 12/04/2021.