Sites - Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs)
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Burkina Faso, Sourou
3o 28.00' West 12o 50.00' North
Year of IBA assessment
Fondation des Amis de la Nature (NATURAMA)
Site description The site is situated in the north-west of country, close to the international frontier with Mali in the northern Sudan sector, to the west of the town of Tougan. The Sourou river formerly flowed due south from Mali to join the Mouhoun river, west of the town of Sourou, except at the height of the wet season when there was a reverse flow from the Mouhoun into the Sourou. Since the early 1980s, however, its 55-km-long passage through Burkina Faso to the Mouhoun has been permanently flooded by the construction of a dam close to the confluence of the two rivers. The artificial lake varies from several hundred metres to 4 km wide and provides a vast area of shallows covered with perennial grasses such as Echinocloa pyramidalis, E. stagnina and Vossia cuspidata. The western banks of the lake are lined with, in effect, one vast Acacia thicket which, with increasing distance from the lake, merges into northern Sudan savanna in the south and sub-Sahelian grassland in the north. These areas, stretching west and north into Mali, are one of few remaining tracts of wilderness left in Burkina.
Key Biodiversity See Box for key species. Although there are few data the site is known to hold what may be the largest concentration of wildfowl (Anatidae) in Burkina Faso, including large numbers of Plectropterus gambensis, Sarkidiornis melanotos, Alopochen aegyptiacus, Nettapus auritus, Dendrocygna bicolor and D. viduata. Palearctic species recorded include Anas acuta, A. querquedula and A. crecca. It is likely that at least some of these species will be found to exceed 1% threshold numbers.
Non-bird biodiversity: A few individuals of most native species of larger mammals are said to be present, including the occasional Loxodonta africana (EN), ranging up from protected areas along the Mouhoun river to the south. In addition, Panthera leo (VU) and most of Burkina’s wild ungulates still have relict populations in the area. There is a large population of Hippopotamus amphibius in the lake.