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Location Morocco, Figuig,Oujda
Central coordinates 2o 13.00' West  33o 20.00' North
IBA criteria A3
Area 490,000 ha
Altitude 1,060 - 1,310m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

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

Site description The site is a large triangular area of plateau, its northern apex situated at the village of Al Fouchal some 25 km south of Aïn Beni Mathar, its south-western corner at the village of Matarka, and its eastern boundary formed by the Oujda–Figuig road. Vegetation consists mainly of arid tussock-grass Stipa tenacissimaArtemisia inculta steppe. There are several gueltas/temporary ponds (e.g. Guelta El Beida, Dayet Oum Slimane). The principal economic activity is extensive livestock-rearing.

Key Biodiversity See Box and Table 2 for key species. Approximately 100 species have been recorded, including Chlamydotis undulata and large flocks of sandgrouse (an estimated 100,000 Pterocles alchata were observed in December 1993). Five species of the Sahara–Sindian biome also occur (see Table 2). In December 1993, 73 wintering Charadrius morinellus were recorded in a small part of this vast site, leading to the suspicion that numbers of this cryptic, hard-to-census species may exceed the threshold for qualification as an IBA under the A4i criterion.

Non-bird biodiversity: The mammal Gazella dorcas (LR/nt) occurs.

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 
Red-necked Nightjar Caprimulgus ruficollis breeding  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Thick-billed Lark Rhamphocoris clotbey resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Dupont's Lark Chersophilus duponti resident  1999  present  A3  Near Threatened 
Temminck's Lark Eremophila bilopha resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Spectacled Warbler Sylvia conspicillata resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Sardinian Warbler Sylvia melanocephala resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Red-rumped Wheatear Oenanthe moesta resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Black-eared Wheatear Oenanthe hispanica breeding  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Region Fouchal - Matarka. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016

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