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Location Ghana, Greater Accra
Central coordinates 0o 20.00' West  5o 31.00' North
IBA criteria A4i, A4iii
Area 9,350 ha
Altitude 0 - 10m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

Ghana Wildlife Society

Site description The Densu delta wetland lies c.11 km west of Accra in the river valley between the Aplaku-Takuse and Weija McCarthy hills. It comprises an open lagoon, saltpans, freshwater marsh and scrub and sand-dunes. The greater part of the land is owned by the Panbros Salt Company. The wetland is fed mainly by the Densu river, which is dammed upstream (Weija dam), to supply water to the city of Accra. The dam has had profound effects on the lagoon and general hydrology of the wetland, since freshwater inflow into the wetland is controlled by the management of Weija Water Works. The water depth in the wetland varies, and can be over 2 m in some parts, during the rainy season. There is no direct outlet channel to the sea, but the lagoon often overflows into the sea after heavy rains. In other years, the Salt Company has to create an opening through the dunes to let water out of the pans. There is little vegetation on the dunes and in the saltpans; some coconut-palms Cocos nucifera fringe the dunes, while the banks of some of the pans are colonized by Sesuvium portulacastrum. Scattered stands of mangrove are found in some areas around the lagoon, while the freshwater parts of the wetland support stands of mainly Imperata, Typha and Cyperus. Scrub vegetation grows on other parts of the wetland.

Key Biodiversity See Box for key species. Sixty species of waterbird have been recorded at this site, with estimated maximum numbers of c.35,000 birds. The site is particularly important for roosting terns and is the second most important site for the rare Sterna dougallii. In addition, the site supports large numbers of Egretta garzetta, Charadrius hiaticula, Calidris ferruginea and C. minuta. Three species, Glareola pratincola, Himantopus himantopus and Sterna albifrons breed regularly at the site. Its proximity to Accra and easy access around the site as result of the saltpan construction, make the site attractive for birdwatching.

Non-bird biodiversity: Three species of marine turtle Lepidochelys olivacea, Chelonia mydas and Dermochelys coriacea (all EN)have been recorded nesting on parts of the beach.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Egretta gularis winter  540 individuals  A4i  Not Recognised 
Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus winter  1,170 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Royal Tern Thalasseus maximus winter  6,650 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Sandwich Tern Thalasseus sandvicensis winter  6,570 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Roseate Tern Sterna dougallii winter  500 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Common Tern Sterna hirundo winter  9,240 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Little Tern Sternula albifrons winter  3,100 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Black Tern Chlidonias niger winter  12,700 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds winter  20,000-49,999 individuals  unknown  A4iii   

IBA Monitoring

2001 medium not assessed not assessed
Good - based on reliable and complete / representative data

Residential and commercial development housing and urban areas happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Densu delta Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 4,620 protected area contained by site 4,620  

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
fisheries/aquaculture -
nature conservation and research -
urban/industrial/transport -

References Ntiamoa-Baidu and Gordon (1991).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Densu Delta Ramsar Site and vicinity. Downloaded from on 22/10/2016

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