Year of compilation: 2001

Site description
The site consists of an extensive area of arid bushland merging into coastal saltmarsh and swamp. It lies immediately south of the northern coastal town of Saylac or Zeila, close to the Djibouti border, and extends along the coast as far as Lughaye and inland almost as far as the town of Cabdikaadir near the Ethiopian frontier. Numerous seasonal watercourses flow through the area carrying run-off to the fringing coastal swamps and mangroves. There are also areas of reedbed and patches of willows around pools. Near Saylac there are also large saltings and exposed mudflats at low tide.

Key biodiversity
See Box and Table 3 for key species. Of the Somali–Masai biome species, Tockus hemprichii, Mirafra gilletti, Cercomela scotocerca, Ploceus galbula and Estrilda charmosyna have been recorded nationally from few other IBAs. It is possible that, were data available, this site would also qualify under the A4 criterion, since large numbers of Palearctic waders and waterfowl are known to occur on the coastal wetlands; Charadrius alexandrinus, C. leschenaultii and C. mongolus are particularly numerous among these. In addition, Egretta gularis is known to breed in the mangroves.

Non-bird biodiversity: None known to BirdLife International.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The area was originally proposed as a Game Reserve in colonial times, but the site remains unprotected. Mangroves are cleared for fuelwood and timber.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Saylac. Downloaded from on 04/02/2023.