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Location Chad, Batha
Central coordinates 17o 30.00' East  12o 50.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i, A4iii
Area 195,000 ha
Altitude 290 m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

Site description Lake Fitri is located in the centre of the country, about 300 km east of N’Djamena. The normal maximum extent of the lake is about 50,000 ha, although it can double or triple in size in wet years; the area of the designated Ramsar Site is 195,000 ha. In addition, there are a number of permanent swamps around its normal margin of 150 km. The freshwater lake is normally shallow (several metres) and is fed by seasonal rainfall and run-off from a catchment area estimated at 70,000 km². The principal affluent is the seasonal Batha river which carries water from the Ouaddai massif to the east. The normally permanent lake may dry out during severe drought periods, such as occurred at the beginning of the twentieth century and again in 1984–1985 and (almost) in 1991. The lake supports vegetation characteristic of Sahelian wetlands which includes Echinochloa stagnina, Vossia cuspidata and Nymphaea aquatica, while seasonally flooded areas support woodland consisting of Acacia nilotica and Mitragyna inermis with a ground-cover of annual grasses and sedges.

Key Biodiversity See Box for key species. Waterbird counts have been made at Lake Fitri annually since 1984 and irregularly before that. As well as being important for Palearctic migrants, the lake also provides a drought refuge for Afrotropical species. A total of 3,800 Aythya nyroca were counted in 1999. It is thought that the population of Balearica pavonina may exceed 2,500.

Non-bird biodiversity: Among mammals, the site is important for Loxodonta africana (EN) in the dry season, and Gazella rufifrons (VU) occurs, especially west of the lake.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Northern Pintail Anas acuta winter  1986  56,000 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Fulvous Whistling-duck Dendrocygna bicolor winter  1984  21,000 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
White-faced Whistling-duck Dendrocygna viduata winter  1987  24,800 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Garganey Spatula querquedula winter  1986  83,000 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca winter  1999  3,800 individuals  A1, A4i  Near Threatened 
African Spoonbill Platalea alba winter  1998  900 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides winter  1998  3,060 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Black Crowned-crane Balearica pavonina winter  1991  1,500 individuals  A1, A4i  Vulnerable 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds winter  1984-1987  100,000-499,999 individuals  unknown  A4iii   

IBA Monitoring

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

Natural system modifications dams & water management/use - small dams happening now whole area/population (>90%) moderate to rapid deterioration very high

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Lac Fitri Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 195,000 is identical to site 195,000  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Artificial - terrestrial   73%
Wetlands (inland)   18%
Shrubland   1%
Grassland   7%

Land use

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

References Jones (1993), Keith and Plowes (1993), Laboratoire de Farcha/DHV Consultants (1994), Scholte (1996, 2001), Trolliet and Thal (1999–2000).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Lake Fitri. Downloaded from on 23/10/2016

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