|Location||Algeria, El Tarf|
|Central coordinates||8o 23.00' East 36o 50.00' North|
|IBA criteria||A1, A4i, A4iii|
|Year of IBA assessment||2001|
Ornithological information 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.
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).
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Gadwall Anas strepera||winter||1994||23,920 individuals||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope||winter||1994||24,420 individuals||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata||winter||1982||10,000 individuals||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|Common Pochard Aythya ferina||winter||1979||27,000 individuals||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|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||-||unknown||A4iii|
|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||Extent (% of site)|
|nature conservation and research||-|
Other biodiversity None known to BirdLife International.
Management considerations The whole site was designated as a Ramsar Site in 1983 and it lies within the Parc National d’El Kala, designated in the same year, and within the El Kala Biosphere Reserve. There is a history of proposals to introduce Cyprinus carpio and Tilapia sp. into the lake to support additional commercial fisheries and in 1985 and 1986 a total of 5–6 million Cyprinus carpio fry were introduced. There were fears that these might destroy the natural lake vegetation and upset the balance of invertebrate fauna, but in the summer of 1990 the lake became completely desiccated, killing all the introduced fry. However, in 1991 the lake was once again flooded and further introductions of carp have occurred, with unknown consequences.The Ramsar Monitoring Procedure was implemented in relation to Lac Oubeïra in 1990 (i.e. it was added to the ‘Montreux Record’). The Monitoring Procedure report concluded that the most serious long-term threat to the site is the extraction of ground and surface water in the region for the purposes of agriculture and domestic consumption (exacerbating the effects of drought in the region). Other threats include the construction of a dam on the Oued El Kebir at Mexanna to supply water to the town of El Kala (although this was considered to be more of a threat to other wetlands in the El Kala region), degradation of fringing vegetation, expansion of agriculture, grazing and urban areas and erosion leading to siltation. The report recommended that Lac Oubeïra should be made a zone of strict protection within the National Park, that extraction of ground and surface water should be strictly controlled, and that conservation management of the site should form part of a Regional Plan for wise use of land and water resources. The site was removed from the Montreux Record in 1997.
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).
Contribute Please click here to help BirdLife conserve the world's birds - your data for this IBA and others are vital for helping protect the environment.
Recommended citation BirdLife International (2013) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Lac Oubeïra. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 19/06/2013
To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife