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Location Ethiopia, Oromiya
Central coordinates 38o 30.96' East  7o 32.46' North
IBA criteria A1, A3, A4i, A4iii
Area 160,000 ha
Altitude 1,500 - 1,700m
Year of IBA assessment 1996

Ethiopian Wildlife and Natural History Society



Site description The National Park is a combination of Lakes Abijatta and Shalla, and the land between and around them, in East Shewa Zone. The park is 56 km south-west of Lake Ziway and to the west of the main Mojo–Moyale road. Both lakes are without outlets, and the water is alkaline. Lake Abijatta is very shallow (up to 14 m), while Lake Shalla, in the crater of an extinct volcano, is very deep (up to 266 m). Three rivers, the Gogessa, Bulbula and Hora Kelo, feed Lake Abijatta. The lake had an area of 19,600 ha, a shoreline of 60 km and was full of fish, but by 1995, it had shrunk dramatically and no fish-eating birds were seen. Water is being removed from the lake to feed a soda-ash extraction plant, and from the Bulbula river for irrigation. Fish and aquatic plants now regularly occur only around the mouth of the Bulbula and Hora Kelo rivers. The shoreline is gently sloping. The nearby Acacia woodland used to have a more or less continuous (25-m-high) canopy, but most of the trees have been felled and turned into charcoal or sold as fuelwood. Lake Shalla is south of Lake Abijatta and divided from it by a narrow strip of higher land, part of the old crater rim. Two rivers feed the lake. It has an area of c.33,000 ha and a shoreline of 118 km. It has several hot, somewhat sulphurous springs around the shore, and nine islands of which at least four are important breeding sites for birds. Bulrushes grow where the hot springs and rivers enter the lake, but most of the shore comprises steep cliffs, thus there is little place for wading birds and there are no fish. The vegetation to the east and south of the lake is AcaciaEuphorbia savanna, the most common trees being the woodland Acacia spp. (A. etbaica and A. tortilis) and Euphorbia abyssinica, and bushes of Maytenus senegalensis. The woodland around the lakes is important in keeping the highly fragile soil structure intact. In undisturbed/ungrazed areas there is a rich grass and herb flora.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Northern Shoveler Spatula clypeata winter  1994  43,736 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis winter  1995  700 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus winter  1993  59,000 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Lesser Flamingo Phoeniconaias minor winter  1993-1995  100,000-230,000 individuals  A1, A4i  Near Threatened 
Pallid Harrier Circus macrourus passage  1996  5 individuals  poor  A1  Near Threatened 
Eastern Chanting-goshawk Melierax poliopterus resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
Wattled Crane Bugeranus carunculatus winter  1992  5 individuals  A1  Vulnerable 
Himantopus himantopus winter  1996  4,000 individuals  A4i  Not Recognised 
Pied Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta winter  1992-1993  12,000-17,200 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Kittlitz's Plover Charadrius pecuarius winter  1996  10,968 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Little Stint Calidris minuta winter  1994  36,272 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Ruff Calidris pugnax winter  1995  35,819 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Sterna nilotica winter  1994  650 individuals  A4i  Not Recognised 
White-winged Tern Chlidonias leucopterus winter  1995  2,500 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Black-faced Sandgrouse Pterocles decoratus resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
Red-bellied Parrot Poicephalus rufiventris resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-bellied Go-away-bird Criniferoides leucogaster resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
Star-spotted Nightjar Caprimulgus stellatus resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
Black-billed Woodhoopoe Phoeniculus somaliensis resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
Eastern Yellow-billed Hornbill Tockus flavirostris resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
Von der Decken's Hornbill Tockus deckeni resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
Hemprich's Hornbill Lophoceros hemprichii resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
Chestnut-headed Sparrow-lark Eremopterix signatus resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
Boran Cisticola Cisticola bodessa resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
Yellow-vented Eremomela Eremomela flavicrissalis resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
Scaly Chatterer Turdoides aylmeri resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-rumped Babbler Turdoides leucopygia resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
Bare-eyed Thrush Turdus tephronotus resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-headed Buffalo-weaver Dinemellia dinemelli resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
Rueppell's Weaver Ploceus galbula resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
Speke's Weaver Ploceus spekei resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
Red-rumped Waxbill Estrilda charmosyna resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
Steel-blue Whydah Vidua hypocherina resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds winter  100,000-499,999 individuals  unknown  A4iii   

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Abijatta-Shalla Lakes National Park 88,700 is identical to site 88,700  

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Artificial - terrestrial   59%
Wetlands (inland)   23%
Rocky areas   1%
Grassland   15%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
nature conservation and research -
tourism/recreation -
urban/industrial/transport -
other -
Notes: Charcoal production.

Other biodiversity None known to BirdLife International.

References Hillman (1988, 1993), Shibru Tedla (1995), Stephenson (1978), Syvertsen (1995a), Urban (1984), Zerihun Woldu and Mesfin Tadesse (1990).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Abijatta - Shalla Lakes National Park. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 21/10/2014

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