Sites - Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs)
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NNR Aïr - Ténéré
9o 30.00' East 19o 12.00' North
400 - 1,988m
Year of IBA assessment
Site description The National Nature Reserve of the Aïr and the Teneré covers the eastern half of the Aïr massif and the western part of the Ténéré Desert. The Aïr massif reaches 2,022 m (1,988 m within the reserve). It was called the ‘Switzerland’ of Africa by the explorer Barth in 1850, and may be regarded as a Sahelian outpost in the Sahara. The Aïr–Ténéré forms a complex mosaic of arid and hyper-arid environments. Five principal habitats are recognized: mountains, plateaus, large wadis (dry watercourses), small-scale irrigated horticultural areas, and stony or sandy desert. Standing water may occur for longer or shorter periods in all five habitats.
Key Biodiversity See Box and Table 2 for key species. Information derives mainly from Newby etal. (1987) and Newby and Canney (1989?); the latter list 164 species for the reserve. Of these, 41% are resident, 12% are intra-Africa migrants (mostly present only during the rains) with the remaining 46% wintering or passage migrants from the Palearctic. Neotis nuba is known to breed and is present all year. Given the size of the reserve, the population is likely to be important (>10 pairs likely); in 1989 there were 38 observations of at least 47 birds. The (northern) Aïr appears to be on a migration route of Circus macrourus, with several observations from March and June. Other notable species include Struthio camelus. All 14 Sahara–Sindian biome species known from Niger have been reported. Of these, 12 are resident breeders, Pterocles coronatus is either resident or a breeding migrantwhile Falco concolor is probably merely vagrant. Of the eight Sahel biome species reported from the reserve, seven are breeding residents while Spiloptila clamans was only observed once. Ardeotis arabs, Caprimulgus eximius and Anthoscopus punctifrons may also occur, but have so far only been reported from nearby areas.
Non-bird biodiversity: Mammals of global conservation concern include Acinonyx jubatus 127>(VU), Gazella dorcas (VU), G. dama (EN) and Ammotragus lervia (VU). Oryx gazella dammah (EW) and Addax nasomaculatus (CR) used to occur, but are presumed to do so no longer. The reserve is one of the few places in the world where wild olive Olea laperrinei still occurs.