Country/territory: Eritrea

IBA criteria met: A3 (2001)
For more information about IBA criteria, please click here

Area: 82,000 ha

Site description (2001 baseline)
The site lies on the slopes of the Eastern Escarpment running down from the Central Plateau eastwards to the Red Sea. Only a general area of habitat can be identified without more detailed survey work, but there is an area of about 78,000 ha of wet woodland north of the town of Ghinda, the lower slopes of which appear to qualify as an IBA. Further survey work within this general area will be needed to define the boundaries. The area lies about 13 km north-east of Arboroba escarpment (ER008) and about 30 km south-east of Semenawi Bahri (ER003), of which it can be considered an extension in terms of habitat. The habitat is Combretum sp. woodland, but due to higher rainfall in the area (possible in every month other than June and September), the flora is generally richer than in other areas along the Eastern Escarpment. Dominant trees and bushes include Capparis tomentosa, Cordia abyssinica, Rhus abyssinica and Ficus sp. and dense undergrowth includes ferns, Adiantum spp. Coffee was cultivated extensively on terraces in the regions by the Italians and citrus fruits and bananas are grown in the valleys, especially around the town of Ghinda. At the base of the slopes lies Gahtelay Lake (behind Sabarguma Dam), which is important as one of the few areas of open water between the coast and the Central Plateau.

Key biodiversity
See Box and Table 2 for key species. Species restricted to the Somali–Masai biome include Tockus flavirostris, recorded from only two other IBAs in Eritrea. The site also has records of one Sahara–Sindian biome species, three Sahel biome species and four Afrotropical Highland biome species (Table 2). It is also reported as being ‘outstanding’ for Palearctic migrants, including Falco concolor, Anthus cervinus, Monticola saxatilis, Acrocephalus arundinaceus and Emberiza hortulana. Other records (Palearctic migrants and residents) include Ciconia nigra, C. ciconia, Plegadis falcinellus, Anas clypeata, A. acuta, Burhinus oedicnemus, Milvus migrans, Coturnix coturnix, Jynx torquilla, Motacilla cinerea and Phoenicurus phoenicurus.

Non-bird biodiversity: None known to BirdLife International.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Ghinda. Downloaded from on 30/09/2023.