The status of flora and fauna in the Nzoia River drainage basin in western Kenya

  • Oliver Nasirwa
  • Beryl A. Bwong
  • Patrick K. Malonza
  • Vincent Muchai
  • Domnick V. Wasonga
  • Jacob M. Ngwava
  • John Musina
  • Sikenykeny Kipkorir
  • Ednah Kulola
  • Timothy Mwinami
  • Wanja Kinuthia
  • Morris Mutua
  • Augustine Luanga
  • Laban Njoroge
  • Gilbert K. Kosgey
  • Tom Akelo
  • Simon Musila
  • Immaculate Muthoni
  • Ogeto Mwebi
  • Ben Nyakundi
  • Judith W. Nyamai
  • Mathias Mbale
  • Kennedy Matheka
  • Thomas Mwadime
  • Paul M. Musili
Keywords: biodiversity, species, ecosystem, drainage basin, catchment, landscape, socio-economics, IUCN Red List of endangered species


The species richness of flora and fauna in the Nzoia River drainage basin is documented through a study of museum specimens,  catalogues and databases. The catchment area and basin covers 2.2% (12900/580367 km2) of Kenya’s total land area with an altitudinal range of 1140 to 4300 m and varied ecosystem and land uses. We recorded approximately 9.3% (3239/34677) of Kenya’s current known species of vascular plants, invertebrates (insects and spiders), fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. Bird species made up the highest proportion 58.3% (650/1114) of the national total followed by amphibians 37.3% (41/110), reptiles 45.0% (86/191), mammals 31.3% (122/390), vascular plants 17.9% (1251/7000), fish 6.7% (58/872) (32.2% (58/180) for freshwater fish only) and invertebrates (insects and spiders) 4.1% (1031/25000). Ninety-five species recorded in this area are endemic to Kenya and 42 globally threatened. The species recorded contribute to several ecosystem services including pest control, pollination, bio-indicators, medicine and cosmetics, building materials, ecotourism, research and education. Data available differed substantially across counties and taxon groups with gaps apparent in five counties (Bungoma, Busia, Elgeyo Marakwet, Siaya and Usain Gishu) and four taxa plants, invertebrates, fungi and bacteria where a dearth of information exists. To fill these gaps we recommend prioritisng future survey effort on taxa and counties with fewer than 10% of the total numbers of records.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1026-1613
print ISSN: 0012-8317