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Location Ethiopia, Oromiya
Central coordinates 39o 42.06' East  5o 10.38' North
IBA criteria A1, A2, A3
Area 91,000 ha
Altitude 1,000 - 2,000m
Year of IBA assessment 1996

Ethiopian Wildlife and Natural History Society



Site description The Liben plains are an extensive area of flat land that stretches east and south of Negele, the capital of Borana Zone. Negele is over 310 km south-east of Awassa. The plains have formed over an area of bedrock (which includes limestone) between the Genale and Dawa rivers. Excepting some artificial ponds, there are no significant water-bodies in this area. Starting at 1,000 m at the edge of the Genale river gorge, the ground rises gently to over 2,000 m. The site is centred on a flat area at 1,500–1,550 m, 10–40 km south-east of Negele town. Woodlands (comprising small trees and shrubs) border the area, more than 95% of which is covered with long grass and scattered Acacia bushes. Little is known of the plant species involved. The plains have previously been used as a military training site and had a military airport.

Key Biodiversity See Box and Tables 2 and 3 for key species. Heteromirafra sidamoensis is known only from this area. It has been found 12 km south-east and 2 km south of Negele. Birds probably referring to this species have been seen at other locations nearby on the tracks to Arero and Filtu. A survey in June 1996 recorded 44 species, including Calandrella somalica, Cisticola nanus and Neotis heuglinii. Other Somali–Masai biome species known to occur include Nectarinia hunteri, Tmetothylacus tenellus, Batis perkeo and Laniarius ruficeps. Spreo albicapillus and Passer motitensis have been recorded breeding. The site is also a known location for the uncommon Francolinus coqui.

Non-bird biodiversity: None known to BirdLife International.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Heuglin's Bustard Neotis heuglinii resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
Buff-crested Bustard Lophotis gindiana resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
Black-faced Sandgrouse Pterocles decoratus resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
Pygmy Batis Batis perkeo resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
Red-naped Bush-shrike Laniarius ruficeps resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
Taita Fiscal Lanius dorsalis resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
Liben Lark Heteromirafra sidamoensis resident  1996  present  A1, A2, A3  Critically Endangered 
Gillett's Lark Mirafra gilletti resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
Rufous Short-toed Lark Calandrella somalica resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
Tiny Cisticola Cisticola nanus resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
Scaly Chatterer Turdoides aylmeri resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-crowned Starling Spreo albicapillus resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
Hunter's Sunbird Nectarinia hunteri resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
Shining Sunbird Nectarinia habessinica resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-headed Buffalo-weaver Dinemellia dinemelli resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
Steel-blue Whydah Vidua hypocherina resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
Golden Pipit Tmetothylacus tenellus resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 
Ethiopian Grosbeak-canary Serinus donaldsoni resident  1996  present  A3  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

2013 high not assessed low
unset
Unknown

Agricultural expansion and intensification annual & perennial non-timber crops - agro-industry farming happening now some of area/population (10-49%) very rapid to severe deterioration high
Agricultural expansion and intensification livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - small-holder grazing, ranching or farming happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Human intrusions and disturbance work and other activities happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) slow but significant deterioration high
Invasive and other problematic species and genes problematic native species/diseases - unspecified species happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium

Little/none of site covered (<10%)  No management planning has taken place  Substantive conservation measures are being implemented but these are not comprehensive and are limited by resources and capacity  low 

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
urban/industrial/transport -

References Ash and Gullick (1989), Ash and Olson (1985), Collar and Stuart (1985), Erard (1975b), Ethiopian Wildlife and Natural History Society Survey Team (1996), Friis (1992), Haugen and Torstein (1992), Robertson (1995).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Liben plains and Negele woodlands. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 21/12/2014

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