|Central coordinates||38o 4.00' East 8o 52.00' North|
|IBA criteria||A1, A4i, A4iii|
|Year of IBA assessment||2001|
Ornithological information See Box for key species. Akaki is important for wintering waterbirds, over 20,000 occasionally being present, with high numbers noted for Philomachus pugnax (max. 3,671), Anas clypeata (max. 1,119) and Phoenicopterus minor (1,750). Resident waterbirds occurring in numbers include Pelecanus onocrotalus, Mycteria ibis, Phoenicopterus ruber, Alopochen aegyptiacus, Anas undulata, Himantopus himantopus and Vanellus spinosus. Balearica pavonina also occurs at Akaki, and Eupodotis melanogaster can occasionally be seen in the area, particularly from May to July. Globally threatened species include Crex crex (rare), Aquila clanga (rare), Falco naumanni (present in small numbers on passage, with a few possibly overwintering) and Grus carunculatus (present occasionally, in small numbers). At least seven Afrotropical Highlands biome species are known to occur at Akaki. However, the most important species is Grus grus, which has a wintering population that uses the area for roosting and feeding, especially from November to late February/March. Up to 8,600 individuals have been recorded at Akaki. The population of G. grus is not limited to the Akaki lakes: other substantial numbers occur in the Debre Zeit and Koka lake areas. These probably form part of the same population as is found at Akaki, with birds foraging on post-harvest crop stubble as far away as Melka Konture and Bu-i to the west, Koka lake in the south, and north/north-east of Debre Zeit.
Site description The Akaki–Aba-Samuel wetlands are part of the Awash river catchment, c.20 km south-east of Addis Ababa. The wetlands consist of Aba-Samuel reservoir and an adjacent area that is inundated most of the year. The Akaki river consists of two main branches, the confluence of which is at the Aba-Samuel reservoir. The western branch of the river rises north-west of Addis Ababa on the flanks of Wechacha mountain and flows for c.40 km before it reaches the reservoir. The eastern branch of the river rises north-east of Addis Ababa and flows into Aba-Samuel reservoir after c.53 km. The reservoir was created in 1939 to produce electricity for Addis Ababa, and production continued until 1970 when the machinery became too old to maintain and the plant stopped working. Aba-Samuel reservoir catchment area is 1,495 km², and includes the catchment of the Lege Dadi dam. The reservoir originally had an area of 12,068 km², but the catchment has suffered much erosion resulting in silt deposition in the reservoir that has also been invaded by Eichhornia crassipes. Both of these factors have severely reduced the area of open water. The area around Akaki–Aba-Samuel is permanently marshy with small ephemeral lakes. The fringe of the marsh has some tall sedges, grasses and reeds. The rest of the area is farmland and grassland with a few scattered trees, mostly Faidherbia albida and figs.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Lesser Flamingo Phoeniconaias minor||winter||-||1,750 individuals||-||A1||Near Threatened|
|Wattled Ibis Bostrychia carunculata||winter||-||100 individuals||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|Wattled Crane Bugeranus carunculatus||winter||-||uncommon [units unknown]||-||A1||Vulnerable|
|Common Crane Grus grus||winter||-||8,600 individuals||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|A4iii Species group - waterbirds||winter||-||20,000 individuals||unknown||A4iii|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Artificial landscapes (terrestrial)||100%|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
Other biodiversity None known to BirdLife International.
Management considerations This site is unprotected. Most of the vegetation cover has either been cleared for cultivation or is intensively grazed. This has resulted in high erosion rates and the consequent silting up of the reservoir. The areas closest to Akaki town are being used for irrigated agriculture, particularly vegetables for the growing urban market. This is a profitable use of land and is likely to expand at the expense of the wetlands. Local farmers dislike Grus grus as flocks arrive when cereal crops are close to being harvested. Cranes can decimate some crops, and are particularly fond of sorghum, to such an extent that farmers in areas where cranes are regular visitors have had to abandon sorghum cultivation and use other crops such as maize. Farmers also dislike ducks and geese, particularly Alopochen aegyptiacus, which feed on young cereal crops and leafy vegetables. Any conservation activity will have to help the farmers either protect their crops or obtain compensation for damage from waterfowl and cranes.
References ENEL CIE/TO-Italy (1987), Syvertsen (1995a, b, 1996).
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2013) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Akaki - Aba-Samuel wetlands. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 24/05/2013
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