Konso - Segen

Country/territory: Ethiopia

IBA criteria met: A1, A3 (1996)
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Area: 76,000 ha

Ethiopian Wildlife and Natural History Society
IBA conservation status
Year of assessment (most recent) State (condition) Pressure (threat) Response (action)
1996 favourable medium low
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Site description (2001 baseline)
Konso is a special Wereda in North Omo Zone. The main village of the Konso people is Karat, 90 km south of Arba Minch. The seasonal Segen river (which originates in Lake Chamo) flows through Konso (1,640 m) on its way to join the Weyto, and then terminating in Lake Chew Bahir. The Segen river circles the Konso hills. Segen village sits on top of a highland area c.40 km north of Konso. The Konso hills are an old volcanic area that contains large blocks of marble. The hills are highly dissected and covered with scrubby vegetation, largely comprising broadleaved species. The most common small trees and shrubs are Combretum spp. and Terminalia spp. There are also several species of Acacia. The most disturbed areas have only bushes and often get covered with aggressive climbers like Pterollobium stellatum. On exposed rocky areas there are clumps of Aloe spp. Bushland and thickets are found on the lower parts of the Konso hills and in patches in the Segen valley. Acacia and Commiphora spp. are common, along with some Grewia spp. Where they have not been cleared, the banks of the Segen have luxuriant riverine vegetation with tall trees of Ficus sycamorus, Tamarindus indica, Mimusops kummel and Garcinia buchananii, and many small trees and shrubs, all of which can be festooned with climbers, particularly cucurbits and the intriguing legume, Clitoria ternatea. The Konso people have a unique and sustainable agricultural system that involves the building and maintaining of stone terraces and careful fertilization (with manure) of the fields. A central feature of their fields is the endemic tree crop called Moringa stenopetala. The main annual crop is sorghum, along with some root crops and cotton. The women maintain the stone walls and care for the crops, while the men build and maintain the houses, spin and weave, and carve.

Key biodiversity
See Box and Table 3 for key species. The site supports at least 120 species, many of which are Somali–Masai biome species. The northern side of the Segen river is the type- and only locality for Mirafra pulpa in Ethiopia. The species has not been recorded since it was first collected in 1912. Other species of interest are Gypaetus barbatus, Melierax metabates, Lonchura griseicapilla, which has a distribution limited to the south of the country, and Serinus reichardi. In this area Pycnonotus barbatus schoanus of the western highlands and Great Rift Valley is replaced by P. barbatus dodsoni, which occurs across to Yabello and the east. There appears to be no hybrid zone, suggesting species-level status for each taxon. However, the situation regarding these two forms requires further study in the area. It is also possible that Melierax canorus and M. metabates occur more or less alongside each other in this area, with M. metabates occurring to the west and M. canorus to the south-east of the Konso hills.

Non-bird biodiversity: None known to BirdLife International.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2024) Important Bird Area factsheet: Konso - Segen. Downloaded from on 23/02/2024.