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+254 735 204 519 info@conquestadventures.co.ke

Dakatcha Woodlands

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Dakatcha Woodlands is a superb birding hotspot outside the Arabuko-Sokoke forest where the endangered Clarke’s Weaver or Kilifi Weaver is known to reside. The woodlands also hold substantial populations of Sokoke Pipit, and both species may breed in the woodlands.

Dakatcha Woodlands Birdwatching

Dakatcha Woodlands is one of the few remaining biding remnants of Kenya’s coastal forest. Dakatcha covers nearly 2,000 square kilometers in the rolling hills of the Magarini Sub-county of Kilifi County. Dakatcha landscape consists of a range of dry forests and dense thickets with open woodlands. To the south, the place is bordered by the wide Galana-Sabaki River. It comprises open forest or woodland dominated by Brachystegia trees on infertile soils, patches of dense forest and thickets, and patches of dry scrub and grasslands

Dakatcha Woodlands is the only site outside the Arabuko-Sokoke forest where the endangered Kilifi Weaver is known to inhabit. It also holds substantial populations of Sokoke Pipit, and Sokoke Scops Owl both species mainly found in coastal Kenya and threatened with extinction. The forest of Dakatcha Woodlands stores water protects the soil, shelters unique animals and plants, and provides environmental services and direct benefits to the local people. Dakatcha Woodlands has also been identified as a Key Biodiversity Area (KBA) and a Global Biodiversity Hotspot critical for globally threatened plants and animals found only in a few East African coastal forests.

All the same its importance for water catchment, neighboring communities, and plant and animal diversity, Dakatcha Woodlands has no formal protection status. Several local organizations recently came together to form the Dakatcha Woodland Conservation Group, and a Checklist of the Birds of Dakatcha Woodlands has already been published. Nature Kenya has been working with local community groups to develop livelihood options that bring in money without destroying the forest, through various initiatives that link biodiversity conservation and livelihoods. These options include, among others, beekeeping to produce honey for a ready market, growing trees as crops in woodlots, and guiding visitors to see the special birds of Dakatcha Woodlands and the strangely eroded land-forms of Hell’s Kitchen and Bore-Singwaya depression
The wooded hills are vital to water catchments for the surrounding farmland. Clarke’s Weaver recently renamed Kilifi Weaver is found in only two places on Earth: Dakatcha Woodlands and Arabuko-Sokoke Forest to the south. It was thought that Kilifi Weaver probably nests in Dakatcha Woodlands and in the year 2013 this was confirmed. This site is therefore of critical conservation value to Kenya and the world. Without Dakatcha Woodlands, Clarke’s weaver would become extinct.

Recently a community guide recorded and photographed a flock of Lesser Blue-eared Starlings (Miombo) in Dakatcha woodlands,  known from the coast by mostly old records, with specimens from Malindi, Gedi, Mongeya, and inland in Yatta plateau east of Ol Doinyo Sabuk. There is also an audio recording from Arabuko Sokoke Forest. The records are from April-September so far and there are probably fewer than 10 known occurrences in Kenya.

Mascarene Martin a rare and uncommon visitor from Madagascar was recently seen in the Dakatcha forest

Common Birds of Dakatcha Woodlands; Superb Starling, Fischer’s Starling, Shelly’s Starling, Black-bellied Starling, Greater Blue-eared Starling, Golden-breasted Starling, Magpie Starling, White-winged Widowbird, Pied Avocet, Thick-billed Cuckoo, Allen’s Gallinule, Mombasa Woodpecker, Mouse-colored Sunbird, African Barred Owlet, Plain Nightjar, Zanzibar Boubou, Bearded Scrub-Robin, Black-collared Barbet, Coastal Cisticola, Four-colored Bushshrike.

eBird Link