Yangudi-Rassa National Park

Year of compilation: 2001

Site description
Yangudi-Rassa National Park is in the centre of the Afar Region (in the northern section of the Rift Valley) between the towns of Gewani and Mille, and 500 km from Addis Ababa. Yangudi mountain lies on its south-eastern boundary, and is surrounded by the Rassa plains. Habitats include riverine forests along the Awash river, marshes and small lakes, dry riverbeds, rocky hills, sandy semi-desert and wooded grasslands. The sandy semi-desert and wooded grassland make up the largest portion of the park. The two main ethnic groups inhabiting this area are the Afars and the Issas. Ethnic feuds have been frequent between them, but most of the park happens to be in an area where they avoid each other.

Key biodiversity
See Box and Table 3 for key species. More than 230 species have been recorded in this area. Being situated on an important migration flyway, many migratory species have been found including Falco naumanni and Circus macrourus, both of which are recorded regularly on migration and during the winter. Other species of interest include Phoenicopterus minor, Petronia brachydactyla and Ardeotis arabs (more common here than A. kori).

Non-bird biodiversity: The park supports an important population of Equus africanus (CR), and at least 35 other species of mammal.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The park was proposed in 1977 specifically to protect Equus africanus. Besides the wildlife, the park is also important for safeguarding a 50-km strip of rich archaeological remains along the eroded hills near the Awash river. Active management of the park’s resources is minimal, with protection arising primarily as a result of the extremely harsh environment and its position as a no-man’s land between rival pastoralists/ethnic groups. The military has previously killed large numbers of herbivores within the park.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Yangudi-Rassa National Park. Downloaded from on 26/10/2021.