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Location Ghana, Volta
Central coordinates 0o 59.00' East  5o 55.00' North
IBA criteria A4i, A4iii
Area 53,000 ha
Altitude 0 - 10m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

Ghana Wildlife Society

Site description Keta Lagoon lies in the far south-east of the country, near the international frontier with Togo. The lagoon is an extensive, brackish water-body situated to the east of the Volta river estuary. The site comprises the open water of the lagoon and the surrounding flood-plains and mangrove swamps. Although considered to be an open lagoon, it is effectively closed for most of the year. The area of open water varies with the season, but is estimated to be c.30,000 ha, stretching for c.40 km along the coast and separated from the sea by a narrow ridge. Inflow into the lagoon is from three main sources: from the Todzie river (which enters and fills the neighbouring Avu lagoon in wet years and overflows into Keta lagoon via several small tributaries), from the Aka and Belikpa streams (which enter Keta lagoon directly from the north) and, to a limited extent, from the Volta river itself. The construction of the Akosombo Dam, upstream on the Volta river, has been blamed for a number of ecological changes which have occurred within the wetland in the recent past, including silting and blockage of the channels that interconnect the numerous lagoons. This is believed to have affected the natural drainage pattern such that large areas of the lagoon and marshlands dry up in the dry season and serious flooding now occurs in the wet season. The lagoon is bordered by numerous settlements and the surrounding flood-plain consists of marsh, scrub, farmland and substantial mangrove stands, which are heavily exploited for fuelwood. Occupational activities include lagoon fishing, salt extraction and crop farming.

Key Biodiversity See Box for key species. Keta lagoon is the most important wetland on the Ghanaian coast for waterbirds and, together with neighbouring Songor (GH036), constitutes the fourth most important waterbird site on the Gulf of Guinea coast. Some 76 waterbird species, with estimated maximum numbers well over 100,000 birds, have been recorded. Other species which occur in large numbers include Dendrocygna viduata, Himantopus himantopus, Calidris ferruginea and C. minuta as well as several heron and egret species. The most important parts of the lagoon for waterbirds are the Fiahor, Woe, Tegbi, Adina and Afiadenyigba sections.

Non-bird biodiversity: Small numbers of three species of marine turtles, Lepidochelys olivacea, Chelonia mydas and Dermochelys coriacea (all EN), nest along the beach.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Fulvous Whistling-duck Dendrocygna bicolor winter  7,200 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
White-faced Whistling-duck Dendrocygna viduata winter  53,050 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Egretta gularis winter  1,400 individuals  A4i  Not Recognised 
Great White Egret Ardea alba winter  1,650 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Egretta garzetta winter  7,200 individuals  A4i  Not Recognised 
Himantopus himantopus winter  12,100 individuals  A4i  Not Recognised 
Pied Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta winter  1,560 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Common Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula winter  5,950 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Kittlitz's Plover Charadrius pecuarius winter  1,800 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus winter  12,600 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Marsh Sandpiper Tringa stagnatilis winter  1,750 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia winter  6,900 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Little Stint Calidris minuta winter  18,400 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea winter  28,800 individuals  A4i  Near Threatened 
Sterna nilotica winter  450 individuals  A4i  Not Recognised 
Caspian Tern Hydroprogne caspia winter  440 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Royal Tern Thalasseus maximus winter  1,270 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Sandwich Tern Thalasseus sandvicensis winter  1,900 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Little Tern Sternula albifrons winter  1,000 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybrida winter  1,000 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Black Tern Chlidonias niger winter  3,350 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds winter  100,000-499,999 individuals  unknown  A4iii   

IBA Monitoring

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

Climate change and severe weather habitat shifting and alteration happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) slow but significant deterioration high
Human intrusions and disturbance work and other activities likely in short term (within 4 years) small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Pollution domestic & urban waste water - sewage 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)  
Anlo-Keta lagoon complex Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 127,780 protected area contains site 53,000  

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
fisheries/aquaculture -
nature conservation and research -
urban/industrial/transport -
other -
Notes: Exploitation of mangroves for fuelwood.

References Ntiamoa-Baidu and Gordon (1991), Ntiamoa-Baidu et al. (1998), Piersma and Ntiamoa-Baidu (1995).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Keta Lagoon Ramsar Site. Downloaded from on 24/10/2016

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