Ethiopian Highlands | WWF

Ethiopian Highlands

About the Area

The Ethiopian Highlands are made up of these terrestrial ecoregions: Ethiopian montane moorlands; Ethiopian montane grasslands and woodlands.
Formed with the remains of volcanoes in northeastern Africa, these highlands comprise of tall peaks, rich valleys, and hot deserts. This diverse environment houses an impressive array of plant and animal species that are specially adapted to life in a very sunny, relatively dry climate.

Local Species
Endemic species include the rarest canid in the world - Ethiopian wolf (Canis simensis), Walia ibex (Capra walie), Mountain nyala (Tragelaphus buxtoni), and the Giant root rat (Tachyoryctes macrocephalus).

Among the species endemic to the ecoregion are amphibians such as Grassland forest treefrog (Leptopelis yaldeni), Bale Mountains frog (Ericabatrachus baleensis), and Osgood's Ethiopian toad (Spinophrynoides osgoodi).

Birds with limited distributions include Ankober serin (Serinus ankoberensis) and White-winged flufftail (Sarothrura ayresi).

Ethiopia's highlands are among the most densely populated agricultural areas in Africa. Expanding agriculture, shifting cultivation, fires, and overgrazing are major threats to the biological diversity of these ecosystems.


270,500 sq. km (104,000 sq. miles)

Habitat type:
Montane Grasslands and Shrublands

Geographic Location:
Northeastern Africa, covering sections of Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Sudan

Conservation Status:

Quiz Time!

How many endemic species are found in the Ethiopian Highlands?

There are at least 30 bird species, 20 mammals, 13 amphibians, and many plants that can be found only in this region. The highlands also contain a unique mixture of Palearctic and Afrotropical species.

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