region

Animals of Horn of Africa

18 species

The Horn of Africa is a large peninsula in East Africa. Located on the easternmost part of the African mainland, it is the fourth largest peninsula in the world. It is composed of Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, and Djibouti; broader definitions also include parts or all of Kenya, Sudan, South Sudan, and Uganda. It lies along the southern boundary of the Red Sea and extends hundreds of kilometres into the Guardafui Channel, Gulf of Aden, and Indian Ocean and shares a maritime border with the Arabian Peninsula of Western Asia.

About 220 mammals are found in the Horn of Africa. Among threatened species of the region, there are several antelopes such as the beira, the dibatag, the silver dikdik and the Speke's gazelle. Other remarkable species include the Somali wild ass, the desert warthog, the hamadryas baboon, the Somali pygmy gerbil, the ammodile, and the Speke's pectinator. The Grevy's zebra is the unique wild equid of the region. There are predators such as spotted hyena, striped hyena and African leopard. The endangered painted hunting dog had populations in the Horn of Africa, but pressures from human exploitation of habitat along with warfare have reduced or extirpated this canid in this region.

Some important bird species of the Horn are the black boubou, the golden-winged grosbeak, the Warsangli linnet, and the Djibouti spurfowl.

The Horn of Africa holds more endemic reptiles than any other region in Africa, with over 285 species total and about 90 species which are found exclusively in the region. Among endemic reptile genera, there are Haackgreerius, Haemodracon, Ditypophis, Pachycalamus and Aeluroglena. Half of these genera are uniquely found on Socotra. Unlike reptiles, amphibians are poorly represented in the region.

There are about 100 species of freshwater fish in the Horn of Africa, about 10 of which are endemic. Among the endemic, the cave-dwelling Somali blind barb and the Somali cavefish can be found.

It is estimated that about 5,000 species of vascular plants are found in the Horn, about half of which are endemic. Endemism is most developed in Socotra and northern Somalia. The region has two endemic plant families: the Barbeyaceae and the Dirachmaceae. Among the other remarkable species, there are the cucumber tree found only on Socotra, the Bankoualé palm, the yeheb nut, and the Somali cyclamen.

Due to the Horn of Africa's semi-arid and arid climate, droughts are not uncommon. They are complicated by climate change and changes in agricultural practices. For centuries, the region's pastoral groups have observed careful rangeland management practices to mitigate the effects of drought, such as avoiding overgrazing or setting aside land only for young or ill animals. However, population growth has put pressure on limited land and led to these practices no longer being maintained. Droughts in 1983–85, 1991–92, 1998–99 and 2011 have disrupted periods of gradual growth in herd numbers, leading to a decrease of between 37% and 62% of the cattle population.

The Horn of Africa is a large peninsula in East Africa. Located on the easternmost part of the African mainland, it is the fourth largest peninsula in the world. It is composed of Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, and Djibouti; broader definitions also include parts or all of Kenya, Sudan, South Sudan, and Uganda. It lies along the southern boundary of the Red Sea and extends hundreds of kilometres into the Guardafui Channel, Gulf of Aden, and Indian Ocean and shares a maritime border with the Arabian Peninsula of Western Asia.

About 220 mammals are found in the Horn of Africa. Among threatened species of the region, there are several antelopes such as the beira, the dibatag, the silver dikdik and the Speke's gazelle. Other remarkable species include the Somali wild ass, the desert warthog, the hamadryas baboon, the Somali pygmy gerbil, the ammodile, and the Speke's pectinator. The Grevy's zebra is the unique wild equid of the region. There are predators such as spotted hyena, striped hyena and African leopard. The endangered painted hunting dog had populations in the Horn of Africa, but pressures from human exploitation of habitat along with warfare have reduced or extirpated this canid in this region.

Some important bird species of the Horn are the black boubou, the golden-winged grosbeak, the Warsangli linnet, and the Djibouti spurfowl.

The Horn of Africa holds more endemic reptiles than any other region in Africa, with over 285 species total and about 90 species which are found exclusively in the region. Among endemic reptile genera, there are Haackgreerius, Haemodracon, Ditypophis, Pachycalamus and Aeluroglena. Half of these genera are uniquely found on Socotra. Unlike reptiles, amphibians are poorly represented in the region.

There are about 100 species of freshwater fish in the Horn of Africa, about 10 of which are endemic. Among the endemic, the cave-dwelling Somali blind barb and the Somali cavefish can be found.

It is estimated that about 5,000 species of vascular plants are found in the Horn, about half of which are endemic. Endemism is most developed in Socotra and northern Somalia. The region has two endemic plant families: the Barbeyaceae and the Dirachmaceae. Among the other remarkable species, there are the cucumber tree found only on Socotra, the Bankoualé palm, the yeheb nut, and the Somali cyclamen.

Due to the Horn of Africa's semi-arid and arid climate, droughts are not uncommon. They are complicated by climate change and changes in agricultural practices. For centuries, the region's pastoral groups have observed careful rangeland management practices to mitigate the effects of drought, such as avoiding overgrazing or setting aside land only for young or ill animals. However, population growth has put pressure on limited land and led to these practices no longer being maintained. Droughts in 1983–85, 1991–92, 1998–99 and 2011 have disrupted periods of gradual growth in herd numbers, leading to a decrease of between 37% and 62% of the cattle population.