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Location Morocco, Kenitra
Central coordinates 6o 41.00' West  34o 14.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A3, A4i
Area 652 ha
Altitude 0 - 77m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

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



Site description The site consists of the shallow dayet, or lake, of Sidi Bou Ghaba. Six kilometres long, but only 400 m broad at its widest point, the lake is enclosed between two rows of fossil dunes inland from, but parallel to, the Atlantic coast, some 30 km north of Rabat. The dunes are covered by Juniperus phoenicea woodland, intermixed with other woody species such as Pistacia lentiscus, Olea europea and Retama monosperma. The lake is fresh water, fed by rainfall and run-off. There are extensive areas with well-developed reedbeds and marshy vegetation consisting of Phragmites communis, Juncus acutus, J. maritimus, Cyperus laevigatus, Scirpus lacustris, S. holoschoenus, and Typha angustifolia. The lake is fringed with Tamarix gallica, Populus alba and introduced Eucalyptus species. The site is accessible by a tarmac road and receives large numbers of local visitors each year (see Conservation issues).

Key Biodiversity See Box and Table 2 for key species. An important site on the Atlantic coastal flyway, the Réserve Biologique receives thousands of wintering and passage migrants every year, particularly waterfowl. Around 107 species are regularly recorded, of which 35 breed. Sidi Bou Ghaba is best known for its wintering population of Marmaronetta angustirostris, which can number several hundred. Around 10 pairs breed each year. Aythya nyroca is a passage migrant in small numbers (maximum four individuals). Of the seven species of the Mediterranean North Africa biome that occur, five breed, while two (Falco eleonorae and Caprimulgus ruficollis) are non-breeding visitors.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Barbary Partridge Alectoris barbara resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Marbled Teal Marmaronetta angustirostris winter  480 individuals  A1, A4i  Vulnerable 
Eleonora's Falcon Falco eleonorae breeding  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Red-knobbed Coot Fulica cristata resident  20 breeding pairs  A4i  Least Concern 
Red-knobbed Coot Fulica cristata winter  560 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Red-necked Nightjar Caprimulgus ruficollis breeding  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Sardinian Warbler Sylvia melanocephala resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Subalpine Warbler Sylvia cantillans breeding  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Spotless Starling Sturnus unicolor resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Black-eared Wheatear Oenanthe hispanica breeding  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

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

Human intrusions and disturbance recreational activities happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) slow but significant deterioration high
Natural system modifications dams & water management/use - abstraction of ground water (agricultural use) likely in short term (within 4 years) some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Pollution agricultural & forestry effluents - type unknown/unrecorded likely in short term (within 4 years) some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Merja Sidi Boughaba Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 650 protected area contained by site 650  
Sidi Boughaba Biological Reserve 650 protected area contained by site 650  

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
forestry -
nature conservation and research -
tourism/recreation -

References BCEOM-SECA (1995c), Thevenot (1976).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Canton Forestier de Sidi Bou Ghaba. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 29/12/2014

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