email a friend
printable version
Location Ethiopia, Amhara
Central coordinates 39o 2.64' East  10o 11.34' North
IBA criteria A1, A2, A3
Area 91,000 ha
Altitude 1,300 - 2,000m
Year of IBA assessment 1996

Ethiopian Wildlife and Natural History Society



Site description The Jemma and Jara are permanent rivers that flow through Northern Shewa Zone down from Were Illu, through Merhabete and then as the Jemma river into a large gorge beside Debre Libanos and Fiche. The Jemma joins the Wenchit before reaching the Abbay (Blue Nile) (site ET016). By road and track the area is c.180 km north of Addis Ababa. The Jemma and Jara rivers are mainly difficult of access, at the bottom of steep-sided gorges that have been cut through basalt to expose the underlying large blocks of limestone and sandstone. The bottoms the valleys comprise gently sloping land, and the rivers have created gravel flood-plains of varying width. The altitude at the Jemma river-crossing is 1,300 m, and 2,000 m at the top of the gorge. Habitats comprise: the rivers, which are fairly fast-flowing; Typha spp. beds beside the permanent rivers; blocks of limestone that support Sterculia africana trees, Tamarindus indica and Ficus thonningii; the endemic Aloe schelpii; and acacia woodland away from the rivers and on the sides of the gorge. The sides of the gorge support extensive areas of grassland. Acacia woodland, the dominant vegetation in this area, is both denser and more extensive in the Jara than in the Jemma valley. There are small to medium-sized trees of Acacia seyal, Commiphora spp., Ziziphus spina-christi, Combretum spp., Terminalia brownii, Grewia bicolor and other Grewia spp., Balanites aegyptica and Maytenus spp. There are some large figs and larger trees of Cordia africana and Syzygium guineense by the river as well as on the sloping areas at the base of the cliffs. There is no well-developed riverine forest. Much of the valley bottom and sloping sides are cultivated with sorghum and sesame. Tef Eragrostis tef becomes increasingly common with altitude. The extent of cultivation is relatively smaller in Afer Bayene and Jara than in Jemma valley, where 80% of the area surveyed was cultivated. After the rainy season, when the water-level has dropped, farmers burn off the bulrushes and plant additional sorghum and some cotton in the moist black soil.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Harwood's Francolin Pternistis harwoodi resident  1996  unknown  A1, A2, A3  Vulnerable 
Erckel's Francolin Pternistis erckelii resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
Fox Kestrel Falco alopex resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
Dusky Turtle-dove Streptopelia lugens resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
Nyanza Swift Apus niansae resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-backed Tit Parus leuconotus resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
Foxy Cisticola Cisticola troglodytes resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
Montane White-eye Zosterops poliogastrus resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-billed Starling Onychognathus albirostris resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
Rueppell's Robin-chat Cossypha semirufa resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
Rueppell's Chat Myrmecocichla melaena resident  1996  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
White-winged Cliff-chat Monticola semirufus resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
Little Rock-thrush Monticola rufocinereus resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
Chestnut-crowned Sparrow-weaver Plocepasser superciliosus resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
Swainson's Sparrow Passer swainsonii resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
Bush Petronia Petronia dentata resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
Baglafecht Weaver Ploceus baglafecht resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
Red-winged Pytilia Pytilia phoenicoptera resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
Black-throated Firefinch Lagonosticta larvata resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
Yellow-rumped Seedeater Serinus xanthopygius resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Artificial - terrestrial   100%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
forestry -
hunting -
other -
Notes: Cutting trees for fuel and construction; cutting rushes for thatching and fencing.

Other biodiversity None known to BirdLife International.

References Ash (1978), Ash and Gullick (1989), Atkins and Edwards (1995), Cheesman and Sclater (1935), Robertson et al. (1997).

Contribute  Please click here to help BirdLife conserve the world's birds - your data for this IBA and others are vital for helping protect the environment.

Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Jemma and Jara valleys. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 26/07/2014

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