IBA criteria met: A3 (1996)
For more information about IBA criteria, please click here
Area: 430,000 ha
|IBA conservation status|
|Year of assessment (most recent)||Threat (pressure)||Condition (state)||Action (response)|
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Site description (baseline)
Omo National Park is on the west bank of the Omo river in the lower Omo valley. The park is c.140 km long, stretching from the Neruze river in the south to the Sharum plain in the north, and up to 60 km wide where the Park Headquarters are situated. Major land features include the Omo river on the east, the Maji mountains and the Sharum and Sai plains in the north and west, and the Lilibai plains and Dirga Hills to the south. There are three hot springs, and the park is crossed by a number of rivers, all of which drain into the Omo. The important Mui river crosses the middle of the park. Much of the park is at c.800 m but the southern part by the Neruze river drops to 450 m. The highest peak in the Maji mountains is 1,541 m. The edges of the Omo river, which borders the park along its length to the east, are covered by close stands of tall trees including Tamarindus indica, Ficus sycamorus and F. salicifolia, Kigelia aethiopium, Phoenix reclinata, Terminalia brownii, Acacia polyacantha and others. A well-developed shrub layer combined with woody and herbaceous climbers provides dense cover along the edge of the river which, however, is frequently broken by incoming streams and the activities of the local people and animals (particularly Hippopotamus amphibius). Away from the river edge, dense stands of Euphorbia tirucalli abound, the canopies shading standing water long after the rains have abated. The park also embraces extensive open grasslands interspersed with stands of woodland species, and bush vegetation.
See Box and Table 3 for key species. The current bird list for the park is 312 species. The riverine forest along the Omo river is important for several different bird groups, including herons and egrets, kingfishers, barbets, chats and thrushes, woodpeckers, pigeons, shrikes, warblers and flycatchers. Halcyon malimbica is a recent discovery in these forests. Somali–Masai biome species include Laniarius ruficeps, Turdus tephronotus, Cisticola bodessa, Lonchura griseicapilla and Plocepasser donaldsoni. Phoeniculus damarensis, Turdoides tenebrosus and T. plebejus are also present. Palearctic species, especially waders, are fond of the hot springs at Illibai. In the dry grassland around these springs Cercopsis egregia has been recorded, one of the few places known for the species in southern Ethiopia. In addition, two species of the Sudan–Guinea Savanna biome have been recorded at this site; see Table 3.
Non-bird biodiversity: None known to BirdLife International. The current mammal list for the park is 73 species, and the reptile diversity is reportedly high.
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Omo National Park. Downloaded from http://datazone.birdlife.org/site/factsheet/6289 on 28/05/2023.