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Location Algeria, El Tarf,Skikda
Central coordinates 7o 16.00' East  36o 53.00' North
IBA criteria A1
Area 42,100 ha
Altitude 0 - 10m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

Site description The site lies about 45 km west of the coastal town of Annaba, between the hills which rise just to the east of the town of Skikda and those of the forested Massif de l’Edough near Chetaïbi. It consists of a large alluvial coastal plain, the valley and delta of the Oued El Kebir (this is a different river from the one of the same name which floods other sites: DZ001, DZ004, DZ005 and DZ006) in the El Kala complex to the east). The site lies about 30 km north-west of Lac Fetzara (DZ008). The site is open to the Mediterranean at its north-western end, but coastal dunes hold backwater on the flood-plain, resulting in a series of lakes and marshes, formed in depressions and valleys and extending from a few to several dozen hectares. The marshes overall can extend over 30 km inland and reach nearly 20 km wide, with maximum winter water depths of 2 m. Shallow lakes along the Oued El Kebir can reach 4 m deep. The marshes are brackish near the sea and there are dense stands of vegetation, with Salicornia sp. dominant in some areas. Further upstream dominant species include Phragmites australis, Typha capensis and Carex, Cladium, Juncus and Scirpus spp. There are also large stands of Alnus glutinosa, frequently inundated, with rich ferns in the undergrowth. Human uses of the site include cultivation (especially tomatoes and melons) and grazing.

Key Biodiversity See Box for key species. Both Aythya nyroca and Oxyura leucocephala were confirmed as breeding birds on the site (on Lac Ben Azzouz) in 1991. It is considered the second most important site for breeding A. nyroca in Algeria (after Lac Tonga, site DZ002), with more than seven pairs and one nest found in 1991. This species also winters on the site (35 birds in 1987). The site is considered the third most important breeding site in Algeria for O. leucocephala (after Lac Tonga and Lac des Oiseaux, site DZ005) with one nest found in 1991. Other species recorded wintering on the site included small numbers of Vanellus vanellus, Calidris minuta and Limosa limosa in 1992; older references state that the site was important for wintering Anser anser, Gallinago gallinago and Vanellus vanellus, but no numbers or years are given.

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
Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca winter  1987  35 individuals  A1  Near Threatened 
White-headed Duck Oxyura leucocephala resident  1991  1 breeding pairs  A1  Endangered 

IBA Monitoring

2001 medium not assessed not assessed
Good - based on reliable and complete / representative data

Agriculture and aquaculture annual & perennial non-timber crops - small-holder farming likely in short term (within 4 years) majority/most of area/population (50-90%) slow but significant deterioration medium

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Complexe de zones humides de la plaine de Guerbes-Sanhadja Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 42,100 is identical to site 42,100  

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
nature conservation and research -

References Boumezbeur (1992), Chown and Linsley (1994), Heredia et al. (1996), Hughes and Hughes (1992), Scott (1980).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Complexe de zones humides de la plaine de Guerbes-Sanhadja. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016

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