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Location Benin, Atlantique,Mono
Central coordinates 1o 57.00' East  6o 30.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i
Area 45,000 ha
Altitude 0 - 10m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

Site description This triangular area, in the south-west of the country, comprises the marshes of the lower Kouffo river, Lake Ahémé, into which the river drains, and the ‘Aho complex’ consisting of marshes beside the Aho river, which carries water from the lake to the sea, and the coastal strip between the towns of Grand-Popo to the west and Ouidah to the east. The south of Lake Ahémé is fringed with Typha australis and the Aho supports mangroves (Rhizophora sp. and Avicennia sp.), maintained by seasonal influxes of brackish water.

Key Biodiversity See Box for key species. The records of Sterna balaenarum come from the Bouche du Roi, part of the Aho delta where there is a channel to the sea. Large flocks of Chlidonias niger forage on the lake. In addition, three species of the Sudan–Guinea Savanna biome (A04) have also been recorded; see Table 2.

Non-bird biodiversity: The fish Trichechus senegalensis (VU) was reported from Lake Ahémé in the mid-1970s.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Royal Tern Thalasseus maximus winter  1996  502 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Damara Tern Sternula balaenarum winter  200 individuals  A1, A4i  Near Threatened 

IBA Monitoring

2001 high not assessed not assessed
Good - based on reliable and complete / representative data

Biological resource use hunting & collecting terrestrial animals - intentional use (species being assessed is the target) happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Biological resource use logging & wood harvesting - unintentional effects: subsistence/small scale happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Pollution agricultural & forestry effluents - type unknown/unrecorded happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Basse Vallée du Couffo, Lagune Côtiere, Chenal Aho, Lac Ahémé Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 47,500 protected area contains site 45,000  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Artificial - terrestrial   2%
Unknown   1%
Wetlands (inland)   32%
Shrubland   19%
Forest   43%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
fisheries/aquaculture -
forestry -
nature conservation and research -

References Hagemeijer et al. (2000a,b), Wetlands International (1998).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Lake Ahémé and Aho complex. Downloaded from on 27/10/2016

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife