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Location Ghana, Greater Accra
Central coordinates 0o 28.00' East  5o 49.00' North
IBA criteria A4i, A4iii
Area 23,200 ha
Altitude 0 - 10m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

Ghana Wildlife Society



Site description Songor Lagoon is, with Keta Lagoon (GH033), one of the two major lagoon systems associated with the Volta river estuary and is situated to the west of the estuary. The site comprises a brackish water lagoon with extensive mudflats and islands, saltpans, a broad sandy beach and flood-plains of a number of small streams, including the Sege and Zano, which drain directly into the lagoon. The open water area of the lagoon covers up to c.11,500 ha and extends c.20 km along the coast and c.8 km inland. It is separated from the sea by a narrow sand-dune on which small villages are situated. The lagoon is shallow, c.50 cm in the deepest parts, with most areas less than 10 cm. The land around the lagoon is low-lying, with the highest point less than 10 m above sea-level. Channels, which in the past provided direct connection with the Volta river, are effectively blocked. The lagoon has no direct access to the sea and seawater replenishment is from seepage through the sand-dunes.The main wetland vegetation-type is saline marsh, with degraded mangroves (mainly Avicennia sp.) and waterlogged grassland along the margins of the lagoon, and riverine woodland, scattered thickets of shrubs, climbers and small trees on higher ground. Terrestrial vegetation away from the lagoon is largely degraded coastal savanna, characterized by farmland, secondary vegetation on abandoned farms, wastelands and eroded lands invaded by neem tree Azadirachta indica, and isolated trees such as fan palm Borassus aethiopum, mango Mangifera indica, silk cotton tree Ceiba pentandra and baobab Adansonia digitata. Human activities in and around the lagoon comprise mainly farming, fishing and intensive salt extraction.

Key Biodiversity See Box for key species. The site is well known ornithologically; waterbirds have been monitored monthly by the Ghana Wildlife Society for more than 10 years. It is the second most important site, after Keta (GH033), for waterbirds on the Ghanaian coast, supporting estimated maximum numbers of over 100,000 birds. The site is particularly important as a roosting site for terns; roosts of over 50,000 may be seen regularly during the peak months of September and October. The site has the highest count of Sterna dougallii recorded at any site on the Ghanaian coast. The most important parts of the wetland for waterbirds are the Pute, Totope and Kablevu areas of the lagoon where spectacular flocks of terns, herons and egrets, Recurvirostra avosetta, stilts and several small wader species forage and roost together.

Non-bird biodiversity: Three species of threatened marine turtle Lepidochelys olivacea, Dermochelys coriacea and Chelonia mydas (all EN) nest along the Songor beach (the first two are the more common). There is one specimen from here of a fourth, Eretmochelys imbricata (CR), in the museum collections of the Zoology Department, University of Ghana, but no records of the species were found in recent surveys.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Egretta garzetta winter  4,500 individuals  A4i  Not Recognised 
Egretta gularis winter  1,000 individuals  A4i  Not Recognised 
Himantopus himantopus winter  4,400 individuals  A4i  Not Recognised 
Pied Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta winter  3,750 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Common Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula winter  3,000 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus winter  10,100 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia winter  5,100 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea winter  6,900 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Royal Tern Thalasseus maximus winter  2,600 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Sandwich Tern Thalasseus sandvicensis winter  5,100 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Roseate Tern Sterna dougallii winter  650 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Common Tern Sterna hirundo winter  11,900 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Little Tern Sternula albifrons winter  2,750 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Black Tern Chlidonias niger winter  18,100 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds winter  50,000-99,999 individuals  unknown  A4iii   

IBA Monitoring

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

Residential and commercial development commercial and industrial development likely in short term (within 4 years) majority/most of area/population (50-90%) slow but significant deterioration medium

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Songor Lagoon Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 28,740 protected area contains site 23,200  

Land use

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

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Songor Ramsar Site. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 23/12/2014

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