Site description The site consists of woodland habitat on the Goda mountain massif c.30 km west of Tadjoura. Although the name Forêt de Day generally refers only to the high-altitude juniper forest in the area, the lower-altitude wooded areas to the north and east also contain important avifauna and have been included. At upper altitudes, the landscape is rugged, with high plateaus, cliffs and steep mountain slopes, intersected by many wadis. Above c.950 m, the vegetation is dominated by trees of Juniperus procera, with some Olea africana, and an understorey dominated by Buxus hildebranti and/or Tarchonanthus camphoratus. However, the junipers are in regression and B. hildebranti is becoming increasingly dominant, with Acacia seyal also invading. The woodland is interspersed with wooded Acacia grassland and grassland. Below c.950 m, the woodland is dominated by Buxus hildebranti or (particularly at lower altitudes or on better-watered slopes) Terminalia brownii, both mixed with Acacia spp. The wadis are more densely vegetated, with large Ficus spp. and, in a few areas, palm trees. There are several villages within the IBA. The area is used for grazing cattle, camels and goats, and supplies building poles, palm fronds for furniture, and, from the lower slopes, firewood; a number of small market gardens have been created. It is also popular with visitors from Djibouti-ville, and there are three tourist camps and one hotel within the IBA.
Key Biodiversity See Box and Table 2 for key species. The site is one of only two known sites for the endemic and little-known Francolinus ochropectus (Critically Endangered). While the population trend of this species is not clear, anecdotal evidence suggests that it has declined significantly in the past decades, and human pressure on the habitat is evident; the most recent estimate is 500–1,000 individuals (Welch and Welch 1999). Two Sahel (A03) biome species and Muscicapa gambagae, a species of the Sudan–Guinea Savanna (A04) biome, have been recorded. The site holds one breeding pair of Hieraaetus fasciatus and of Aquila verreauxii and there areseveral records of Accipiter badius. A distinctive yellow-tailed form of Pytilia melba, of uncertain taxonomic status, has been seen here (Welch and Welch 1998).
Non-bird biodiversity: The most important known site for Livistona carinensis (VU) in Djibouti is at Bankoualé, within the IBA. This palm, the sole Livistona species found in Africa and Arabia, is only known to occur in around a dozen sites in Yemen, Somalia and Djibouti. Scattered trees of Dracaena ombet (EN) occur on steep slopes, and Juniperus procera (LR/nt) is common, though declining. The mammals Papio hamadryas (LR/nt), Oreotragus oreotragus (LR/cd), Phacochoerus africanus aeliani (EN) and Otomops martiensseni (VU) also occur.