Diffa-Kinzindi grassland and wetlands

Site description (2008 baseline):

Site location and context
It lies within the Sahel zone and corresponds to "Zone ecologique 4" of Giraudoux et al. (1988). This part of Niger has a single rainy season from late May to early October with an average annual precipitation of c. 340 mm. The Komadougou Yobe River forms the southern boundary and is the border with Nigeria. Maine-Soroa, Diffa and Nguigmi are the only towns and most villages are found along the river and the former shore of Lake Chad.

Key biodiversity
250 bird species were recorded in 2008. Otherwise very little had been published on the birds of southeast Niger.The observations summarized by Giraudoux et al. (1988) were mainly from the 1970s, with few from the 1920s by Buchannan (Harterrt 1921, Bates 1933) and from the 1940s by Rousseelot (1947).

Habitat and land use
The natural vegetation is mostly grassland with scattred trees, in particular Acaccia spp. and Balanites aegyptiaca. During the rainy season, many isolated wetlands form across the grassland, some of which hold water for a few months after the end of the rainy season. To the north and west, the grassland is borderd by huge tracts of sand dunes, including the Désert du Tal, with no or only a thin cover of desert grass and shrub-land. The eastern border follows the former shore of the now dry northern basin of Lake Chad, where the vegetation is at present mainly Mesquite Prosopsis juliflora, an introduced American tree. The vegetation is denser along the river and is often flooded during the height of the rainy season. Small-scale rice cultivation and irrigation fields with vegetables are found close to the river, in particular near Diffa. In a belt extending c. 5 km away from the river the grassland has been cultivated in many places to grow millet and sorghum. Fulani pastoralists with herds of cattle and goats utilise most of the grassland during the rainy season and some months after. During the dry season most herders move their livestock to areas close to the river or into Nigeria. While thick layers of wind-deposited sand cover most of the Sahel, the grassland in SE Niger is mainly on a clay plain, with extensive layers of sand only to the north and west. This provides particularly favourable breeding habitat for grasshoppers, most notably the Senegalese Grasshopper.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2024) Important Bird Area factsheet: Diffa-Kinzindi grassland and wetlands. Downloaded from https://datazone.birdlife.org/site/factsheet/diffa-kinzindi-grassland-and-wetlands-iba-niger on 20/02/2024.