Choke mountains

Country/territory: Ethiopia

IBA Criteria met: A1, A3 (1996)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 110,000 ha

Ethiopian Wildlife and Natural History Society

Site description
The Choke mountains are to the south of Lake Tana in the centre of Gojam. The nearest large towns are Bahir Dar to the north and Debre Markos to the south. The small towns of Bichena and Mota lie to the east. This large mountain block rises gradually from the surrounding plateau to around 2,800 m, with the highest peak, Mt Choke, at 4,070 m. The Abbay river has cut a deep valley that defines the eastern limits of the area. The area has an inactive volcanic centre composed of basalt with a very thin cover of pyroclastic materials (volcanic ashes). Erosion has resulted in numerous, deeply incised valleys, which were covered with glaciers during the last ice-age. Many small streams originate in the mountains. The most remarkable feature of these mountains is the virtual absence of forest. The major natural habitats are moist moorland with giant Lobelia spp., Alchemilla spp., sedges and tussocks of Festuca spp. and other grasses, montane grasslands and meadows, cliffs and rocky areas. Woody plants, Erica spp., Hypericum revolutum and Arundinaria alpina are only found in patches. Agricultural activity is extensive, with cultivation up to 3,000 m.

Key biodiversity
See Box and Table 3 for key species. A survey in October 1995 recorded 49 species. Species of particular note (and characteristic of open highland habitats) are Bostrychia carunculata, Vanellus melanocephalus, Columba albitorques, Macronyx flavicollis (uncommon), Corvus crassirostris and Serinus nigriceps.

Non-bird biodiversity: None known to BirdLife International.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Choke mountains. Downloaded from on 12/08/2022.