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Location Ethiopia, Southern Peoples' Region
Central coordinates 36o 9.00' East  5o 38.00' North
IBA criteria A3
Area 216,200 ha
Altitude 400 m
Year of IBA assessment 1996

Ethiopian Wildlife and Natural History Society



Site description Mago National Park is in South Omo Zone, 35 km south-west of Jinka, the administrative centre of the Zone. The park lies to the north of a large 90° bend in the Omo river. To the west is the Tama Wildlife Reserve, with the Tama river forming the boundary. South of the Omo river is the Murle Controlled Hunting Area, with an important wetland—Lake Dipa—beside the river. The Mago river flows through the centre of the park and joins the Neri river at Mago swamp, before continuing southwards as the Usno to join the Omo river. The river, which is 760 km long, originates in the central, south-western highlands of Ethiopia, where it is known as the Gibe. Its final destination is Lake Turkana, close to the Kenyan border. The altitude at the edge of the park is c.400 m. To the east are the Mursi Hills, rising to over 1,600 m. North of the Neri river are the Mago mountains with the highest point, Mt Mago, at 2,528 m. The south-eastern quarter of the park is crossed by many small streams and rivers. The headquarters for the park are by the Neri river, near the entrance from Jinka. The main habitats of the park and surrounding area are the rivers and riverine forest, the wetlands of Mago swamp and Lake Dipa, the bushland, savanna grassland and open grassland on the more level areas, and bushland and scrub on the sides of the hills. Open grassland comprises just c.9% of the area, the rest of the area being described as ‘very dense’. The largest trees are found in the riverine forest beside the Omo, Mago and Neri. Areas along the lower Omo (within the park) are populated with a rich diversity of ethnic groups including the Ari, Banna, Bongoso, Hamer, Karo, Kwegu, Male and Mursi peoples. A number of these groups live beside the river and make extensive use of its natural resources and its levees to grow crops.

Key Biodiversity See Box and Table 3 for key species. The park list currently stands at 301 species, including Somali–Masai biome species such as Acryllium vulturinum, Trachyphonus darnaudii, T. erythrocephalus, Mirafra hypermetra, M. poecilosterna, Tchagra jamesi, Lanius dorsalis, Prinia somalica, Nectarinia nectarinioides, Plocepasser donaldsoni and Speculipastor bicolor. Sudan–Guinea Savanna biome species are represented by the extremely uncommon Turdoides tenebrosus in dense riparian thicket at Lake Dipa and elsewhere, and Estrilda troglodytes in rank grass along streams and swamp edges. Other species of interest include Phoeniculus damarensis, which has a very limited distribution in the south of the country, Porphyrio alleni (at least 50) and Butorides striatus (80+) at Lake Dipa, Pluvianus aegypticus and Scotopelia peli along the Omo river and Cossypha niveicapilla in the undergrowth of riverine forest.

Non-bird biodiversity: The park was established to conserve large animals of the open plain, particularly Damaliscus lunatus korrigum (VU) and Alcelaphus buselaphus lelwel (LR/cd). A total of 56 species of mammal have been recorded.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Trachyphonus darnaudii resident  1996  present  A3  Not Recognised 
Black-throated Barbet Tricholaema melanocephala resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
Red-and-yellow Barbet Trachyphonus erythrocephalus resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
Vulturine Guineafowl Acryllium vulturinum resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
Yellow-necked Francolin Pternistis leucoscepus resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
Eastern Chanting-goshawk Melierax poliopterus resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
Buff-crested Bustard Lophotis gindiana resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
Little Brown Bustard Heterotetrax humilis resident  1996  present  A3  Near Threatened 
Red-bellied Parrot Poicephalus rufiventris resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-bellied Go-away-bird Criniferoides leucogaster resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
Red-throated Bee-eater Merops bulocki resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
Abyssinian Scimitarbill Rhinopomastus minor 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 
Pygmy Batis Batis perkeo resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
Three-streaked Tchagra Tchagra jamesi resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
Taita Fiscal Lanius dorsalis resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
Red-winged Lark Mirafra hypermetra resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
Pink-breasted Lark Mirafra poecilosterna resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
Boran Cisticola Cisticola bodessa resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
Pale Prinia Prinia somalica resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
Rufous Chatterer Turdoides rubiginosa resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
Dusky Babbler Turdoides tenebrosa resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
Magpie Starling Speculipastor bicolor resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-crowned Robin-chat Cossypha albicapilla resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
Kenya Violet-backed Sunbird Anthreptes orientalis resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
Hunter's Sunbird Nectarinia hunteri resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
Black-bellied Sunbird Nectarinia nectarinioides resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
Donaldson-Smith's Sparrow-weaver Plocepasser donaldsoni resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-headed Buffalo-weaver Dinemellia dinemelli resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
Black-rumped Waxbill Estrilda troglodytes resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
Steel-blue Whydah Vidua hypocherina resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

1996 low favourable low
  Habitat
Poor - based on little, or potentially unreliable/unrepresentative, data

Agricultural expansion and intensification annual & perennial non-timber crops - agro-industry farming happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Agricultural expansion and intensification annual & perennial non-timber crops - shifting agriculture happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Agricultural expansion and intensification annual & perennial non-timber crops - small-holder farming happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Agricultural expansion and intensification livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - nomadic grazing happening now some of area/population (10-49%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Human intrusions and disturbance recreational activities happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low

Grassland   0 0 good (> 90%) good (> 90%) favourable
Shrubland   0 0 good (> 90%) good (> 90%) favourable

Whole area of site (>90%) covered by appropriate conservation designation  Unknown  Unknown  low 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Mago National Park 216,200 is identical to site 216,200  
Murle Controlled Hunting Area 417,200 protected area is adjacent to site 0  
Tama Wildlife Reserve 326,900 protected area is adjacent to site 0  

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest Lowland forest - riparian; Woodland - monodominant; Woodland - riparian  major
Wetlands (inland) Freshwater lakes and pools; Permanent herbaceous swamps and bogs; Riverine floodplains; Rivers & streams  major
Grassland   8%
Shrubland Bushland & thicket - deciduous; Bushland & thicket - evergreen  major

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
nature conservation and research 100%
tourism/recreation -

References Atkins (1996a), Demeke (1996), Erickson (1982), Fetwi et al. (1986), Hillman (1993), Netsereab et al. (1996), Ono and Doi (1983), Shimelis and Sileshi (1998), Stephenson and Mizuno (1978), Turton (1995).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Mago National Park. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 22/12/2014

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