|Central coordinates||37o 12.90' East 9o 28.92' North|
|IBA criteria||A1, A3|
|Year of IBA assessment||1996|
Site description Finchaa and Chomen swamps are on the eastern border of East Welega Zone. The Zonal capital is Nekemte, 331 km west of Addis Ababa. The road to Finchaa leaves the Addis–Nekemte road at Gedo, 80 km west of Ambo town. This freshwater wetland complex is made up of two shallow swamps, Finchaa to the north and Chomen to the south, on a flat plateau. A low ridge separates them, with water flowing from Chomen into Finchaa through the ridge. Finchaa covers c.28,000 ha and Chomen an even larger area. North of Finchaa a series of small ridges separates the swamp from the Aleltu river and its tributaries, which run parallel from west to east before dropping over the basalt shelf into the Abbay gorge. The western edge of the plateau is delimited by a ridge of highland that runs north-west–south-east and divides the watershed of the Didessa river to the east from the Finchaa and Chomen swamps. A lower ridge on the east separates the swamps from the Guder river basin. The encircling highlands limit the extent of the swamps during the rainy season. The only outlet is at the north-east corner of Finchaa, where the Finchaa river falls in a long drop of nearly 500 m into the Abbay gorge. The streams flowing into Finchaa and Chomen swamps are all short, thus direct rainfall is a vital source of their water. In the dry season the water-level in the swamps is less than 1 m, but in the rainy season the level rises to 2–3 m. Water is released from the swamps at a rate controlled by the Finchaa channel between the swamp outlet and the falls. Floating vegetation covers both swamps. The most important species is the perennial stoloniferous grass Panicum hygrocharis, which forms floating islands. There are beds of short sedges and rushes around the swamp edges and aquatic plants such as Nymphaea coerulea and Persicaria spp. in patches of open water. The surrounding land is quite heavily cultivated, but there are extensive areas of grassland where clumps of Phoenix reclinata are a conspicuous feature on the ridges. Higher areas have remnant forest patches (some now reduced to lone trees) with Podocarpus falcatus, Cordia africana and large Ficus vasta. In the gorge, the vegetation changes into woodland of Combretum spp., Terminalia spp. and other small trees, with large stands of Oxytenanthera abyssinica. Immediately below Finchaa this vegetation has been cleared for large-scale sugar-cane agriculture. The local Oromo farmers keep large numbers of cattle. No use of the swamps by the local people has been reported. Finchaa has developed into a small town associated with one of the country’s most important hydroelectric power plants. The dam and power-station were built in the early 1970s.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Blue-winged Goose Cyanochen cyanoptera||resident||1996||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Vulnerable|
|Rouget's Rail Rougetius rougetii||resident||1996||present [units unknown]||-||A1, A3||Near Threatened|
|Wattled Crane Bugeranus carunculatus||resident||1996||present [units unknown]||-||A1||Vulnerable|
|White-collared Pigeon Columba albitorques||resident||1996||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Dusky Turtle-dove Streptopelia lugens||resident||1996||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Black-winged Lovebird Agapornis taranta||resident||1996||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|White-cheeked Turaco Tauraco leucotis||resident||1996||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Banded Barbet Lybius undatus||resident||1996||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Dark-headed Oriole Oriolus monacha||resident||1996||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Thick-billed Raven Corvus crassirostris||resident||1996||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Slender-billed Starling Onychognathus tenuirostris||resident||1996||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Rueppell's Robin-chat Cossypha semirufa||resident||1996||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|White-winged Cliff-chat Monticola semirufus||resident||1996||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Little Rock-thrush Monticola rufocinereus||resident||1996||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Abyssinian Slaty Flycatcher Dioptrornis chocolatinus||resident||1996||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Swainson's Sparrow Passer swainsonii||resident||1996||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Baglafecht Weaver Ploceus baglafecht||resident||1996||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Abyssinian Citril Serinus citrinelloides||resident||1996||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Serinus striolatus||resident||1996||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Not Recognised|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Artificial - terrestrial||84%|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
Other biodiversity None known to BirdLife International.
References Ethiopian Wildlife and Natural History Society Survey Team (1996), Harza Engineering Company (1966).
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Finchaa and Chomen swamps. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 16/03/2014
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