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Location Morocco, Larache
Central coordinates 6o 3.00' West  35o 10.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i
Area 3,600 ha
Altitude 0 - 10m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

Groupe de Recherche pour la Protection des Oiseaux au Maroc (Affiliate)

Site description Marais Larache is situated on the outskirts of the Atlantic coastal town of Larache. It extends 15 km inland, as the crow flies, from the mouth of the Oued Loukkos, including the estuary and associated saltpans and various freshwater marshes along its course. The two principal marshes are Bedaoua Sejra, on the right bank of the Oued Loukkos and Ain Chouk-Boucharène on the left bank. The whole site comprises part of the Plaine de Ksar El Kbir and is traversed by the Larache–Tanger (Tangiers) road. The marshes are one of the most important wetlands in the country, with a luxuriant and diverse assemblage of aquatic and semi-aquatic vegetation, including Typha, Juncus, Scirpus and Phragmites spp. and fringing stands of Tamarix and Salix spp.

Key Biodiversity See Box for key species. This wetland site is one of the 5–10 most important wintering sites for Palearctic migrants in Morocco, situated as it is on the Atlantic coastal flyway. More than 4,000 duck regularly winter, including up to 100 Marmaronetta angustirostris. Numenius tenuirostris was formerly recorded, while Larus audouinii regularly occurs in small numbers. Over 50 species breed, including Fulica cristata. The Marais Larache is the only known Moroccan breeding site for small numbers of Aythya nyroca, and the most important Moroccan site for Porphyrio porphyrio (>600 wintering); Asio capensis also breeds.

Non-bird biodiversity: Six endemic lizards—Acanthodactylus lineomaculatus, Chalcides colosii, C. mionecton, C. pseudostriatus, C. polylepis and Blanus tingitanus—occur, as does the endemic Moroccan amphibian Pelobates varaldii.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Marbled Teal Marmaronetta angustirostris winter  100 individuals  A1, A4i  Vulnerable 
Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus winter  800 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia winter  160 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Red-knobbed Coot Fulica cristata winter  3,000 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Pied Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta winter  1,000 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

2014 high not assessed low
Medium - based upon reliable but incomplete / partially representative data

Agriculture and aquaculture livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - scale unknown/unrecorded happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Natural system modifications dams & water management/use - abstraction of ground water (commercial use) happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Residential and commercial development housing and urban areas happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Transportation and service corridors roads and railroads happening now some of area/population (10-49%) very rapid to severe deterioration high

Whole area of site (>90%) covered by appropriate conservation designation  A management plan exists but it is out of date or not comprehensive  Very little or no conservation action taking place  low 

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
hunting -
tourism/recreation -
urban/industrial/transport -
other -
Notes: Reed-cutting.

References BCEOM-SECA (1995c), El Agbani (1997).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Marais Larache. Downloaded from on 21/10/2016

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