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Location Algeria, El Tarf
Central coordinates 8o 23.00' East  36o 50.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i, A4iii
Area 3,160 ha
Altitude 25 m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

Site description Lac Oubeïra lies about 60 km east of the city of Annaba and 15 km west of the Tunisian border, in the north-east of the country. It forms part of the complex of wetlands included within the Parc National d’El Kala and lies c.10 km west of Lac Tonga (site DZ002). The site lies at 25 m altitude and consists of a shallow (maximum depth 3 m), permanent, eutrophic, freshwater lake surrounded on the three sides by cork oak woodland and maquis. The lake lies c.5 km from the Mediterranean Sea and it is bounded to the north by a major sand-dune system. The lake is replenished in winter when flood water from the Oued El Kebir flows across intervening marshland and in to the lake via a channel in the south-east corner. Sluices have been constructed on the channel to retain water in the lake when the flood levels drop. The lake can be slightly saline, especially in summer, as indicated by the presence of zooplankton typical of slightly saline conditions. There is a small area of Phragmites australis and Scirpus lacustris on the western shore and dense submerged aquatic vegetation dominated by Myriophyllum and Ceratophyllum spp. There are extensive beds of Potamogeton pectinatus, and Trapa natans (rare in Algeria) is present. The lake supports a commercial fishery based on the exploitation of indigenous species of Mugil, Anguilla and Alosa; these, together with Atherina sp. and Gambusia affinis gain entry to the lake during winter floods. The shallow edges and the shores of the lake are grazed, maintaining a grassland strip clear of trees around the water’s edge. There is some hunting, but this is less intensive than on Lac Tonga (site DZ002).

Key Biodiversity See Box for key species. Several thousand Aythya nyroca wintered here and in Lac Melah (site DZ003) in the 1960s, but only around 15 were recorded in 1992. The species is also considered a ‘potential breeder’ at this site. Winter counts of Oxyura leucocephala have declined from 220 in January 1984 to fewer than 50 in 1995. In addition Marmaronetta angustirostris was reported probably breeding ‘near El Kala’ in the 1980s (up to 50 pairs in wet years). The site regularly holds up to 50,000 wintering waterbirds (90,982 in 1992), mainly Anas penelope, A. clypeata, Aythya ferina and up to 35,900 Fulica atra, as well as up to 9,000 Aythya fuligula in the 1970s. This site, together with Lac Melah (site DZ003) in previous years, is one of very few sites of international importance for A. fuligula in Africa. Other wintering species include Podiceps nigricollis (up to 850), Anas acuta and A. strepera. Many waterfowl rest here by day and move to feed on Lac Tonga (site DZ002) at night. Other breeding species include Podiceps cristatus, Fulica atra, Porphyrio porphyrio and up to 100 pairs of Acrocephalus arundinaceus. Raptors reported include Milvus migrans, Buteo rufinus, Hieraaetus pennatus, Pandion haliaetus, Neophron percnopterus and Circus aeruginosus.

Non-bird biodiversity: None known to BirdLife International.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Gadwall Mareca strepera winter  1994  7,587-23,920 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Eurasian Wigeon Mareca penelope winter  1994  24,420 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Northern Shoveler Spatula clypeata winter  1982  10,000 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Common Pochard Aythya ferina winter  1979  27,000 individuals  A4i  Vulnerable 
Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca winter  1992  15 individuals  A1  Near Threatened 
White-headed Duck Oxyura leucocephala winter  1984  220 individuals  A1, A4i  Endangered 
Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis winter  1979  2,300 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds winter  1979-1994  50,000-99,999 individuals  unknown  A4iii   

IBA Monitoring

2001 very high not assessed not assessed
Medium - based upon reliable but incomplete / partially representative data

Agriculture and aquaculture annual & perennial non-timber crops - small-holder farming happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) slow but significant deterioration high
Agriculture and aquaculture livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - small-holder grazing, ranching or farming happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) slow but significant deterioration high
Invasive & other problematic species, genes & diseases invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - named species happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) slow but significant deterioration high
Natural system modifications dams & water management/use - abstraction of ground water (agricultural use) happening now whole area/population (>90%) moderate to rapid deterioration very high
Residential and commercial development housing and urban areas happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
El Kala National Park 80,000 protected area contains site 3,160  
El Kala UNESCO-MAB Biosphere Reserve 76,438 protected area contains site 3,160  
Lac Oubeïra Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 3,160 is identical to site 3,160  

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
fisheries/aquaculture -
nature conservation and research -
tourism/recreation -
water management -

References Chalabi et al. (1985), Chown and Linsley (1994), Jones (1993), Ledant et al. (1981), Morgan (1982), Ramsar (2000), Stevenson et al. (1988), van Dijk and Ledant (1983).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Lac Oubeïra. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016

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