Shaba National Reserve

Country/territory: Kenya

IBA criteria met: A1, A2, A3 (1999)
For more information about IBA criteria, please click here

Area: 23,900 ha

IBA conservation status
Year of assessment (most recent) State (condition) Pressure (threat) Response (action)
2022 unfavourable very high low
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Site description (2001 baseline)
Shaba National Reserve consists of a low-lying, semi-arid plain on the southern bank of the Northern Ewaso Ngiro river. It lies 9 km east of Buffalo Springs National Reserve (IBA KE033), from which it is separated by the main Isiolo–Marsabit road. Shaba’s northern section includes a 34-km stretch of the Ewaso Ngiro river; here and elsewhere in the reserve are numerous springs and swampy areas, although some have bitter-tasting water. The starkly beautiful landscape is dominated to the south by Shaba Hill, at the foot of which is a rugged area with steep ravines. The sandy soils are volcanic in origin and rainfall is c.250–500 mm/year. Habitats in the reserve include riverine woodland and thicket with patches of Acacia elatior and doum palm Hyphaene compressa, Acacia tortilis woodland, Commiphora-dominated bushland, open areas of lava rock with scattered grass and shrubs, alkaline grasslands (dotted with springs) and swamps.

Key biodiversity
See Box and Tables 2 and 3 for key species. This is the only protected area from which the enigmatic Near Threatened, restricted-range Mirafra williamsi is known. It occurs locally in rocky lava semi-desert with low Barleria shrubs. The avifauna is generally similar to that of the nearby Samburu-Buffalo Springs National Reserves (IBA KE035). Small numbers of the globally threatened Falco naumanni pass through Shaba on migration each year from the Palearctic. Regionally threatened species include Anhinga rufa (sporadic visitor), Casmerodius albus (sporadic visitor), Trigonoceps occipitalis (resident in small numbers), Polemaetus bellicosus (resident in small numbers) and Buphagus africanus (fairly common resident).

Non-bird biodiversity: Some 17 large mammal species have been recorded, including the threatened Lycaon pictus (EN), Acinonyx jubatus (VU), Equus grevyi (EN) and Loxodonta africana (EN). Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata also occurs.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2024) Important Bird Area factsheet: Shaba National Reserve. Downloaded from on 04/03/2024.