|Location||Algeria, El Tarf|
|Central coordinates||8o 30.00' East 36o 51.00' North|
|IBA criteria||A1, A4i, A4iii|
|Altitude||0 - 5m|
|Year of IBA assessment||2001|
Site description The site lies about 70 km to the east of the northern city of Annaba, c.5 km west of the Tunisian border and 10 km east of Lac Oubeïra (site DZ001). It forms part of the complex of wetlands included within the Parc National d’El Kala. The site consists of a marshy basin and a shallow (maximum depth 6 m), seasonal freshwater to brackish, eutrophic lake, bounded on the north by an extensive sand-dune system, through which the lake connects to the Mediterranean Sea via an artificial channel, the Oued Messida. The basin is surrounded by wooded hills, maquis and grazing land, with woodland including Taxodium distichum, Alnus glutinosa, Salix pedicilata, Populus alba and Fraxinus oxyphyla. There is a species-rich alder carr along the northern shore of the lake, which is regarded as one of the most important in North Africa. Most of the lake is covered in dense emergent vegetation, with a band of open water and dense submerged vegetation around the edge. Part of the marsh area dries out for a period of up to three months between August and November. There are isolated clumps of Tamaris sp. and emergent vegetation includes extensive beds of Scirpus lacustris, S. maritimus, Phragmites australis, Sparganium erectum, Iris pseudoacoras and Typha angustifolia. Submerged or floating aquatic plants include beds of Ceratophyllum sp., Ranunculus aquaticus and an invasive exotic, Eichhornia crassipes. Open water and drainage channels also contain Ceratophyllum, Myriophyllum, Sparganium, Potamogeton, Nymphaea (including an Algerian rarity, N. alba, discovered in 1984) and Trapa natans (also nationally rare).Attempts to drain the marsh, starting in the late nineteenth century, appear to have been largely unsuccessful, due in part to the fact that the bottom of the marsh is slightly below sea-level. The lake is one of the most important in the region due to its productivity. Cattle are grazed all around the edges of the lake and marsh, helping to maintain open water at the edges. Other human activities include eel (Anguilla anguilla) fishing and wildfowling, the latter very intensive at times.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Gadwall Mareca strepera||breeding||1998||3,220 breeding pairs||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|Northern Shoveler Spatula clypeata||breeding||1995||8,865 breeding pairs||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca||winter||1997||717 individuals||-||A1, A4i||Near Threatened|
|Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca||breeding||1976-1984||600 breeding pairs||-||A1, A4i||Near Threatened|
|White-headed Duck Oxyura leucocephala||resident||1976-1984||30 breeding pairs||medium||A1||Endangered|
|White-headed Duck Oxyura leucocephala||winter||1999||256 individuals||-||A1, A4i||Endangered|
|A4iii Species group - waterbirds||breeding||1991-1999||20,000-49,999 individuals||unknown||A4iii|
|Protected area||Designation||Area (ha)||Relationship with IBA||Overlap with IBA (ha)|
|El Kala||National Park||80,000||protected area contains site||2,700|
|El Kala||UNESCO-MAB Biosphere Reserve||76,438||protected area contains site||2,700|
|Réserve Intégrale du Lac Tonga||Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar)||2,700||is identical to site||2,700|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
|nature conservation and research||-|
Other biodiversity The mammal Lutra lutra (VU) is present in the lake.
References Boumezbeur (1992, 1993), Chalabi et al. (1985), Heredia et al. (1996), Green (1993), Jones (1993), Ledant and van Dijk (1977), Ledant et al. (1981), Morgan (1982), Stevenson et al. (1988), van Dijk and Ledant (1983).
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Lac Tonga. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 01/10/2014
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