The Guassa area of Menz is in North Shewa Zone, east of the road that leads from Mezezo to Mehal Meda. The area forms part of the high-altitude plateau of the central Ethiopian highlands at the edge of the Rift Valley escarpment. The Guassa range is a water catchment area for many streams and rivers draining into the low-lying areas of North Shewa. It provides water to two major river systems, namely the Abbay (Blue Nile) to the west and the Awash to the east. The area comprises hills and valleys interspersed with swamps and open areas of montane and alpine grassland. The vegetation is Afro-montane with a diverse herb complement including tussock-grasses such as Festuca spp. (the Amharic name for which is Guassa). Other plants found in the area include Erica spp., Helichrysum spp., Lobelia rhynchopetalum, Thymus spp. and Alchemilla spp.
See Box and Table 3 for key species. This area is particularly important for Rougetius rougetii and Macronyx flavicollis, both of which occur commonly. A recent survey recorded 136 Vanellus melanocephalus foraging on the Afro-montane grasslands of Guassa; it was predicted that greater numbers were present. Four of the Afrotropical Highlands biome species known from the site are Ethiopian endemics, namely Vanellus melanocephalus, Macronyx flavicollis, Parophasma galinieri and Serinus nigriceps. Other species of interest include Bubo capensis and Cyanochen cyanopterus (for which there is a breeding record).
Non-bird biodiversity: This is one of the last refuges in Northern Shewa Zone for the mammal Canis simensis (CR).
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Guassa Plateau (Menz). Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 05/04/2020.