Chiya wetland

Country/territory: Niger

IBA Criteria met: A4i, A4iii (2001)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 250 ha

Site description
Chiya or Chia wetland lies 2 km north-east of the village of Chia-ta Inga, 10 km due north of the town of Miria or Mirriah and 15 km east of Zinder, in southern Niger. It is a rain-fed, semi-permanent, shallow lake of up to 2 m in depth. Average annual rainfall in the Mirriah area for the period 1961–1990 was approximately 380 mm. However, there is enormous variation in rainfall between years which results in large annual differences in the size of the wetland; during surveys it ranged from zero to 250 ha. The water of the wetland is somewhat brackish and alkaline, with average levels of nitrogen and low levels of phosphorus in the quite sandy sediment. Chiya supports an abundant vegetation of water-lilies Nymphaea lotus and wild rice Oryza longistaminata. Echinochloa spp., Neptunia oleracea and Ipomoea aquatica are also common. There are patches of water lettuce Pistia stratiotes. The woody vegetation surrounding the wetland consists of Acacia seyal, A. nilotica, A. albida, Adansonia digitata, Celtis diversifolia, Anogeissus leiocarpus, Piliostigma reticulatum, Hyphaene thebaica, Borassus aethiopum and Phoenix dactylifera.

Key biodiversity
See Box for key species. Surveys have been undertaken at Chiya in January–February 1994–1998 and a total of 36 species of waterbird recorded. The number of waterbirds counted in January 1995, when only 50% of the wetland was surveyed, was 15,461. Counts, in addition to those listed below, include up to 4,100 Anas querquedula and 502 Anas clypeata in January 1994, five Aythya ferina and three A. fuligula in January 1995 and a single Porzana pusilla in March 1998. Giraudoux et al. (1988) mention up to 600 Ciconia ciconia being seen at Chiya during the dry seasons of 1977/78 and 1978/79, when many were trapped by local hunters. Of the rings so recovered, four were storks from Spain, one from Morocco, and one from Estonia. Giraudoux et al. make no mention of large numbers of Palearctic duck at Chiya, while no storks were seen during the more recent surveys. This may point to a change in character of the wetland, or of migration patterns. Of species of global conservation concern, five Aythya nyroca were seen in January 1995, one Circus macrourus in January 1996 and one Falco naumanni in February 1997.

Non-bird biodiversity: None known to BirdLife International.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Chiya wetland. Downloaded from on 09/08/2022.