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Federal Republic of Somalia

Great Spotted Cuckoo Clamator glandarius ©Nigel Blake Website

Somalia, officially the Republic of Somalia and formerly known as the Somali Democratic Republic, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is bordered by Djibouti to the northwest, Kenya on its southwest, the Gulf of Aden with Yemen on its north, the Indian Ocean at its east, and Ethiopia to the west.

Somalia has the longest coastline on the continent.Somalia's terrain consists mainly of plateaus, plains, and highlands. In the far north, however, the rugged east-west ranges of the Karkaar Mountains lie at varying distances from the Gulf of Aden coast.

Major climatic factors are a year-round hot climate, seasonal monsoon winds, and irregular rainfall with recurring droughts. Mean daily maximum temperatures range from 30 °C to 40 °C (85–105 °F), except at higher elevations and along the east coast. Mean daily minimums usually vary from about 15 °C to 30 °C (60–85 °F). The southwest monsoon, a sea breeze, makes the period from about May to October the mildest season at Mogadishu. The December-February period of the northeast monsoon is also relatively mild, although prevailing climatic conditions in Mogadishu are rarely pleasant. The "tangambili" periods that intervene between the two monsoons (October–November and March–May) are hot and humid.

Somalia is a semi-arid country with about 2% arable land. The civil war had a huge impact on the country’s tropical forests by facilitating the production of charcoal with ever present, recurring, but damaging droughts. Somali environmentalist and Goldman Environmental Prize winner, Fatima Jibrell, became the first Somali to step in and do a much-needed effort to save the rest of the environment through local initiatives that organised local communities to protect the rural and coastal habitat. Jibrell trained a team of young people to organise awareness campaigns about the irreversible damage of unrestricted charcoal production. Jibrell also joined the Buran rural institute that formed and organised the Camel Caravan program in which young people loaded tents and equipment on camels to walk for three weeks through a nomadic locale and educate the people about the careful use of fragile resources, health care, livestock management and peace.



GNU Free Documentation License


Number of Species

Number of bird species: 744


Number of endemics: 10

Somali Pigeon Columba oliviae Archer's Buzzard Buteo archeri Bulo Burti Boubou Laniarius liberatus Somali Long-billed Lark Mirafra somalica Ash's Lark Mirafra ashi Somali Lark Mirafra sharpii Archer's Lark Heteromirafra archeri Lesser Hoopoe-Lark Alaemon hamertoni Obbia Lark Spizocorys obbiensis Warsangli Linnet Carduelis johannis


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Useful Reading

Birds of the Horn of Africa

by Nigel Redman, Terry Stevenson & John Fanshawe - A&C Black 2009 - Paperback 496p

ISBN: 9781408157350

Buy this book from NHBS.com


African Bird Club


With a list of 660 or so species including a good number of endemics and near endemics, birds with wonderfully evocative names such as Bulo Burti Bush-Shrike Laniarius liberatus (see notes in the section on species) and Warsangli Linnet Carduelis johannis and an incredible selection of at least 24 lark species, this could be a birdwatcher’s paradise. Sadly, the long-running political instability puts the country off limits to most birders at the present time…


Abbreviations Key



Three endemic bird areas fall entirely within Somalia: the Central Somali coast; the North Somali mountains; the north-west Somalia secondary area. In addition, parts of the East African coastal forests, the Jubba and Shabeelle valleys and the Northern Ethiopia secondary area lie within Somalia…

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2010 [09 September] - Nik Borrow - Djibouti & Somalia

Report PDF

…Warlords, pirates, chaos and lawlessness are all associated with Somalia. What isn’t always appreciated is that what was once British Somaliland has, since 1991, been the Republic of Somaliland, and this peaceful enclave doesn’t take kindly to being associated with the eastern half of the country’s descent into anarchy. The tiny country of Djibouti is also quite stable forming as it does an important port to the Horn of Africa at the narrowest part of the Red Sea and at the mouth of the Rift Valley…

2012 [06 June] - Charles Davies


… This is an area of pink, rocky ground on low hills, with some Acacia scrub, including some funny disk-like Acacias growing flat on the ground. Our best sightings at this spot were a Somali Wheatear and a couple of Little Brown Bustard. Abdi was slightly worried about whether we would find the wheatear—his groups normally see many much further west towards the border with Djibouti and stop focusing on this species further east, but in the end we saw about 15 during the trip in rocky semi-desert areas from this site all the way east to Erigavo town….