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Location Eritrea, Central,Northern Red Sea Zone
Central coordinates 38o 53.34' East  15o 23.10' North
IBA criteria A1, A2, A3
Area 26,000 ha
Altitude 2,100 - 2,400m
Year of IBA assessment 2001





Site description A number of records from the Durfo and Adi Nefas escarpments, which lie respectively 5–6 km and 10 km north-east of Asmara city, show that this general area qualifies as an IBA. Records from Asmara itself are also included on the basis that species recorded in parks and gardens in the city are likely to occur elsewhere in the adjacent area at the same altitude. There are also records (including a number of globally threatened species) from various plateau dams near Asmara, which suggest that these might qualify as a separate IBA, or help to define the boundaries of an IBA including both the escarpment and the dams. Records from Acria Dam (3 km north-east of Asmara city) are included in this site account and relevant tables. Records from plateau dams generally or other named wetlands (e.g. Lakes Madrezien and Delia, which are further distant from Asmara) are noted by named location under ‘Birds’ below. Further work will be required to identify the boundaries of one or more IBAs adjacent to Asmara. The habitat consists of rough, stony moorland and rocky hillsides, scrubby tussock-grassland (Rumex nervosa and Argemone mexicana) and Juniperus procera woodland. To the east of the site, the escarpment drops away rapidly towards the Eastern Plain. Exotic Eucalyptus is widely grown in the parks and gardens in Asmara. There are a number of small reservoirs (with Rumex sp. swamps at the margins), near to and supplying Asmara. These, together with scattered small lakes and marshes (most, if not all, temporary and seasonal) provide the only wetland areas on the plateau.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Banded Barbet Lybius undatus resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Erckel's Francolin Pternistis erckelii resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Wattled Ibis Bostrychia carunculata resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni passage  1996  present  A1  Least Concern 
Rouget's Rail Rougetius rougetii resident  2000  present  A3  Near Threatened 
Dusky Turtle-dove Streptopelia lugens resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Black-winged Lovebird Agapornis taranta resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Sombre Nightjar Caprimulgus fraenatus resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Hemprich's Hornbill Lophoceros hemprichii resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Abyssinian Woodpecker Dendropicos abyssinicus resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-rumped Babbler Turdoides leucopygia resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Montane White-eye Zosterops poliogastrus resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-breasted White-eye Zosterops abyssinicus resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Somali Starling Onychognathus blythii resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Rueppell's Robin-chat Cossypha semirufa resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Rueppell's Chat Myrmecocichla melaena resident  1996  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Tacazze Sunbird Nectarinia tacazze resident  2000  1 unknown  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Swainson's Sparrow Passer swainsonii resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Baglafecht Weaver Ploceus baglafecht resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Rueppell's Weaver Ploceus galbula resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Swee Waxbill Estrilda melanotis resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Abyssinian Citril Serinus citrinelloides resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Yellow-rumped Seedeater Serinus xanthopygius resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Brown-rumped Seedeater Serinus tristriatus resident  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Serinus striolatus resident  2000  present  A3  Not Recognised 

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Artificial - terrestrial   96%
Grassland   3%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
water management -
not utilised -

Other biodiversity Baboons Papio hamadryas (LR/nt) are common along the road between Massawa and Asmara.

References Butynski (1995), Cramp and Simmons (1977), Smith (1951b, 1957), Zinner (in press), Zinner et al. (1999).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Asmara escarpment. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 31/10/2014

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