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Location Burkina Faso, Sourou
Central coordinates 3o 28.00' West  12o 50.00' North
IBA criteria A4iii
Area 22,000 ha
Altitude 252 m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

Fondation des Amis de la Nature (NATURAMA)

Site description The site is situated in the north-west of country, close to the international frontier with Mali in the northern Sudan sector, to the west of the town of Tougan. The Sourou river formerly flowed due south from Mali to join the Mouhoun river, west of the town of Sourou, except at the height of the wet season when there was a reverse flow from the Mouhoun into the Sourou. Since the early 1980s, however, its 55-km-long passage through Burkina Faso to the Mouhoun has been permanently flooded by the construction of a dam close to the confluence of the two rivers. The artificial lake varies from several hundred metres to 4 km wide and provides a vast area of shallows covered with perennial grasses such as Echinocloa pyramidalis, E. stagnina and Vossia cuspidata. The western banks of the lake are lined with, in effect, one vast Acacia thicket which, with increasing distance from the lake, merges into northern Sudan savanna in the south and sub-Sahelian grassland in the north. These areas, stretching west and north into Mali, are one of few remaining tracts of wilderness left in Burkina.

Key Biodiversity See Box for key species. Although there are few data the site is known to hold what may be the largest concentration of wildfowl (Anatidae) in Burkina Faso, including large numbers of Plectropterus gambensis, Sarkidiornis melanotos, Alopochen aegyptiacus, Nettapus auritus, Dendrocygna bicolor and D. viduata. Palearctic species recorded include Anas acuta, A. querquedula and A. crecca. It is likely that at least some of these species will be found to exceed 1% threshold numbers.

Non-bird biodiversity: A few individuals of most native species of larger mammals are said to be present, including the occasional Loxodonta africana (EN), ranging up from protected areas along the Mouhoun river to the south. In addition, Panthera leo (VU) and most of Burkina’s wild ungulates still have relict populations in the area. There is a large population of Hippopotamus amphibius in the lake.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
A4iii Species group - waterbirds unknown  20,000 individuals  unknown  A4iii   

IBA Monitoring

2001 low favourable low
Good - based on reliable and complete / representative data

Agriculture and aquaculture annual & perennial non-timber crops - small-holder farming happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low

Artificial - aquatic Other artificial wetlands  0 0 good (> 90%) good (> 90%) favourable

Some of site covered (10-49%)  No management plan exists but the management planning process has begun  Very little or no conservation action taking place  low 

Local conservation groups The local conservation group below is working to support conservation at this IBA.

Name Year formed
Sourou Valley Site Support Group 2000


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Artificial - terrestrial   86%
Shrubland   13%
Artificial - aquatic Other artificial wetlands  major

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
hunting -

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Lake Sourou. Downloaded from on 22/10/2016

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