Birds of Lake Tana Sub-basin

  • Shimelis AynalemEmail author
Part of the AESS Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies and Sciences Series book series (AESS)


Birds play a vital role in keeping the balance of nature. Lake Tana is the largest lake in Ethiopia, with a surface area of 3200 km2 and a watershed of 15,100 km2 located at 1800 m a.s.l. Most of the wetlands situated along the rivers and Lake Tana shore support several thousands of birds. Taking previous work in the area into consideration, the Lake Tana sub-basin possesses six globally threatened species, 35 highland biome species and four Sudan–Guinea Savanna biome species. The sub-basin area is particularly important for wetland and water birds. The total population of birds counted during the winter season exceeds 150,000 seasonally, in Lake Tana area alone. Shesher-wallala area contributes the largest winter population. The Lake Tana sub-basin consists of 78 families of 437 birds; the most dominant is Accipitridae with 39 species. The distribution of birds in the area is changeable. However, the Lake Tana area and associated wetlands hold the largest bird populations compared with forest, farmland and bush land habitats. The Fogera and Dembia flood plain provides suitable feeding and roosting sites for winter birds, and is also known as a congregation site. Both Palearctic (112) and Afrotropical migrants (7) occur. In addition, the Lake Tana sub-basin holds 15 species of endemic birds, some of which are shared with Eritrea. Degradation of the wetlands is underway, with overgrazing, vegetation removal, cultivation, deforestation, occurrence of invasive weeds, wetland drainage, flooding, continuing sedimentation, major water resources development in the basin are the main threats.


Avifauna Endemic birds Migratory birds Lake Tana Sub-basin birds 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Blue Nile Water Institute and College of Agriculture and Environmental SciencesBahir Dar UniversityBahir DarEthiopia
  2. 2.College of Natural ScienceAddis Ababa UniversityAddis AbabaEthiopia
  3. 3.Research Associate of International Crane FoundationBarabooUSA

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