Makalondi district is the name used here for an area with a radius of approximately 25 km, centred on the border village of Makalondi, 100 km south-east of Niamey on the road to Burkina Faso. The area, which lies in the transition between the Sahel and Sudan zones, is relatively flat, but there are a number of lateritic plateaus and flat-topped hills which rise 40–60 m above the surrounding land. The plateaus support a (degraded) tiger-bush vegetation, while wooded savanna with dry thorn-scrub as well as some large trees occurs in the lower-lying areas. There are a number of temporary watercourses which, during the dry season, are reduced to a number of isolated wetlands that hold water for periods ranging from a few months to almost the whole year. These include the wetlands of the Goroubi river to the north and west, Balla Foulbé wetland 25 km to the north-east along the road to Tamou, and Koulbou wetlands, 10 km south-east of Makalondi. The latter are heavily vegetated with water-lilies, rushes and wild rice, as well as clumps of Mytragyna trees. A number of small villages occur throughout the site, mostly near the drainage lines. Subsistence farming is widespread with sorghum and millet the main crops. There are also numerous herds of cattle, sheep and goats. Average annual rainfall for the period 1961–1990 was approximately 600 mm.
See Box and Table 2 for key species. In total, some 310 bird species were recorded in Makalondi district by Pierre Souvairan, who lived and worked in the area between 1968–1998. The avifauna includes a number of species not known from nearby ‘W’ National Park (site NE001). Of the Sahel biome species, this is the only site at which Anthoscopus punctifrons has been reported. The site is also important for Cercotrichas podobe (probably breeds) and Lamprotornis pulcher (definitely breeds) and, with Dallol Boboye (site NE007), for Eupodotis savilei. The latter is resident, at a density of approximately 1 pair/km2 in good quality shrubland and tiger bush. For the other Sahel biome species that show seasonal movements, Makalondi district is mainly a wintering area. The only observations in Niger of the Sudan–Guinea Savanna biome species Turdoides reinwardtii and Lamprotornis chalcurus, together with two of the three known records of Galerida modesta, are from this IBA. Except for Falco alopex, Lagonosticta larvata and Ptilostomus afer (single records only), the other Sudan–Guinea Savanna biome species are present all year and are presumed to breed. In addition, there is one observation of a male Aythya nyroca in March 1987 and several records of Circus macrourus during the dry season.
Non-bird biodiversity: Until the 1970s, large mammals, including Loxodonta africana (EN), Panthera leo (VU) and Syncerus caffer (LR/cd) were common, particularly in the western part of the area. Most disappeared following extensive clearance of land for agriculture during the 1980s.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Main threats are the increasing pressure on natural resources through agricultural expansion, due to demographic and, possibly, climatic changes. The Koulbou–Kpennyua wetlands, 10 km south-east of Makalondi, are said to have been classified an ‘Ornithological Reserve’, but this could not be confirmed.
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Makalondi district. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 27/11/2020.