Tibesti massif

Year of compilation: 2001

Site description
The Tibesti massif lies in northern Chad, adjacent to the border with Libya. The massif rises to over 3,000 m at several points, with peaks at Pic Tousside (3,315 m) and Emi Koussi (3,415 m). At a number of places in the massif there is conspicuous surface water, both in permanent pools (gueltas), found among the rocks and ravines, and also in the seasonal watercourses which flow following rain. Some of the wadis are bordered by Acacia spp. and elsewhere most areas are vegetated either with sparse scrub or annual grasses such as Cornulaca monacantha. The rainfall, such as it is, usually occurs between February and May, but is unpredictable both in timing and amount. The height of the Tibesti massif means that it receives rather more rainfall than neighbouring areas of the Sahara, but any reduction in rainfall will seriously affect the vegetation and water-bodies which are an important factor in maintaining the conservation value of the site.There is insufficient information available to be able to propose any definite IBA sites. However, given the importance of the area for its Saharan avifauna, and also other fauna and flora, a potential site is tentatively suggested. The site, towards the north-western extreme of the massif, incorporates the Pic Tousside. The proposed boundaries are formed by the Sherda to Zouar road between the road junction with a fork to Bardai and the point where the Tibesti-Borkou provincial boundary crosses the road, following the provincial boundary in a straight line to the point where it reaches the Falaise de l’Aguer-Tay, from there in a straight line northwards to the town of Aderke, from there along the road to Bardai, from Bardai in a straight line to the town of Wour, and from Wour following the road to the junction with a turning to Bardai. This site incorporates a 3,315 m peak, many ouadis running from the peak and a number of gueltas.

Key biodiversity
See Box and Table 2 for key species.

Non-bird biodiversity: Sixteen species of fish, the majority of them endemic to the area, occur in the wadis and gueltas of the Tibesti and Ennedi massifs. The Saharo-montane flora of Tibesti and Ennedi comprises some 350 known plant species, of which eight are near-endemic to the area.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The extent of human influence in the site is unknown but, given the fragility of the vegetation of the area, any significant amounts of wood-cutting or overgrazing are likely to have a serious impact on the habitat. Surveys of the whole of Tibesti are needed in order to identify areas offering greatest conservation potential. The improved security situation is enabling the development of tourism.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Tibesti massif. Downloaded from on 04/12/2021.