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Location Algeria, Oran
Central coordinates 1o 7.00' West  35o 44.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A3
Area 40 ha
Altitude 0 - 103m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

Site description The site consists of two rocky islands lying 12 km west of the Algerian coastline just below the headland known as ‘Les Andalouses’ (which itself lies 45 km west of Oran). The larger island is called ‘Gharbia’ and reaches 103 m. The smaller and more easterly island is ‘Charguia’ and reaches no more than 25 m in height. Scrub vegetation includes Ephedra fragilis, Wthania frutescens and Frankenia corymbosa.

Key Biodiversity See Box for key species. The colony of Larus audouinii on the eastern side of Île Gharbia consisted of 350 individuals (including 130–150 young and at least 100 nests) in July 1989. An earlier record of 200 individuals on the islands in July 1986 was thought to comprise birds that had moved (probably due to human disturbance) from previously known colonies. Two previous colonies on Cap Falcon and l’île Plane, totalling 400 individuals, have now disappeared. Wintering numbers for the whole Algerian coastline were estimated at 824 individuals in 1978, but the key wintering sites have not been identified and it is possible that many Algerian breeding birds winter further east, from Morocco to Mauritania.

Other seabirds recorded from the site include breeding Calonectris diomedea (27 nests), Phalacrocorax aristotelis, Pandion haliaetus (seven nests) and Larus cachinnans (a colony of several hundred individuals). This latter species nests on Île Charguia and thus appears not to nest alongside L. audouinii on the Habibas islands. This is the only IBA from which the biome-restricted Falco eleonorae is recorded as breeding, with at least five pairs seen on the Îles Habibas and four further individuals on the coast in July 1989, and four seen along the same section of coast in June 1987.

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
Eleonora's Falcon Falco eleonorae breeding  2000  present  A3  Least Concern 
Audouin's Gull Larus audouinii breeding  1989  100 breeding pairs  good  A1  Near Threatened 

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
other -
Notes: Collection of seabird eggs.

References Boukhalfa (1990, 1992, 1995), Heredia et al. (1996).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2015) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Îles Habibas. Downloaded from on 10/10/2015

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife