Djibouti Francolin

The Djibouti Francolin is a shy and elusive endemic gamebird classified as Critically Endangered species only known from two small important bird and biodiversity areas (Forêt du Day and Mabla) in Djibouti, which is severely fragmented and declining in both extent and quality, and within which the population is undergoing continuing decline. This means, if nothing is done, the species faces an extremely high risk of extinction in the immediate future (50% chance in ten years/three generations).

he critical issues of its survival appear to be the deterioration rate of its natural habitats, as evidenced by high mortality of the main woodland where it occurs. The reasons why its natural habitat is degenerating is not well understood but hypotheses have been suggested over the last decades.

These generally consist of a combination of factors such as: timber extraction for construction and firewood; over-grazing; and/or an apparent change in climate towards hotter and drier conditions which has affected the productivity of the entire ecosystem.

Notes on Day forest

The Forêt du Day ecosystem is dry tropical Afromontane mixed woodland occupies an area of c. 15 esq. km (White, 1983) in the Goda Massif mountain ranges in the North of Djibouti (11° 46’ N, 42° 39’ E) with an altitudinal range between c. 1200 m to c. 1750 m and is an Important Bird Area (BirdLife International, 2000) and proposed protected area lies. It consists also one of the few forested areas still remaining in the country where, historically, the dominant forest tree was African pencil cedar Juniperus procera, which formed a closed canopy forest until a dramatic decline in the last 20-30 years which left a large proportion of the junipers dead or dying, and the canopy open and the nearby Mabla Mountains. Available habitat at Forêt du Day halved between 1977 and 1983 and by 2006, 95% of the remaining plateau juniper was either dead or dying (Bealey et al. 2006).

In terms of ecosystem of global and national significance, the Forêt Du Day is the most important key site as home of a variety of rare, extremely arid-adapted species of fauna such as Critically Endangered species i.e. Djibouti Francolin, Leopard, small breeding population of the Endangered Egyptian Vulture, isolated small populations of green monkey and klipspringer etc… and flora such as respectively Endangered and Vulnerable Dracaena ombet and Livistona carinensis etc… were survived for many centuries as biological diversity and genetic reservoir and important natural resources to feed and contribute the community livelihood in a highly desert landscape in areas of the Djiboutian dry highlands.

The reasons for the poor condition of the juniper woodlands of Forêt du Day is unclear, but overgrazing by cattle, camels and goats, is certainly a major factor, possibly exacerbated by acid rains, climate changes and fungal diseases with no scientifically study evidences. Other threats include firewood collection, hunting and human disturbance. Although the species’ ecology and biology are also poorly known and its persisting behaviour to occur in dead and extremely degraded juniper woodland remains unclear for its long-term survival.

Mabla Moutains

Mabla is the second largest area of relict montane forest and it was described as contiguous areas to Forêt du Day with junipers forest in Djibouti but today there are no longer alive juniper trees in the area and the dominant tree species are Acacia seyal, Buxus hildebrandtii with locally abundant Acacia etbaica and common Acacia mellifera.

The area is confirmed currently with the Goda massif “Forêt du Day” to support a viable population of the Critically Endangered Djibouti Francolin (Welch et al. 2009).

Goda Moutains / Day Forest

The Association Djibouti Nature – Djibouti Nature  is an independent, membership-based and not-for-profit grassroots organization, legally established in Djibouti. Djibouti Nature was set up in 1999 and thus the most and oldest experienced civil society organization working on nature conservation in the country.

It has an important but short history of nature conservation mainly from birds’ species and natural habitats perspective. Besides, it has been working tirelessly with local communities, private sectors and government bodies for many years to raise awareness for both Djibouti’s extraordinary wildlife and precious habitats protection for the benefit of present and future generations.

Djibouti Nature is registered under the provisions of Act of July 1st, 1901, relating to the contract of association in Djibouti and certificate has been delivered (certificate number 63/DAGR/18/03/2001) by the Ministry of Interior and Decentralisation. The other pages of our site will give you more details.

Last but not least, our website is having one more major upgrade. To allow access to our site to a wider audience, we have provided multilingual functions.

Unfortunately, because of our limited human and financial resources, we started with the following languages: English, French and Somali. In most cases, we translated the content using Google Translate. It usually gives a pretty clear idea. However, this is not enough. So we are working to do better.

Therefore, to translate our content into other national languages (Afar and Arabic) or to improve existing translations, we are looking for volunteers! If you want to contribute in anyway, please contact us.

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