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Location Morocco, Errachidia,Khénifra
Central coordinates 5o 25.00' West  32o 15.00' North
IBA criteria A3
Area 55,252 ha
Altitude 1,645 - 3,102m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

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



Site description A proposed National Park, this site covers 55,252 ha of the High Atlas between Midelt and Er Rachidia. The base rock consists of limestone with some igneous intrusions. The site ranges in altitude from 1,645 m in the bed of the Oued Arheddou to 3,102 m at the summit of Jbel Tanrhourt. At its western end it includes the twin lakes of Isli and Tislite, near Imilchil. The northern slopes enjoy an annual precipitation of 400–600 mm, and are consequently well-wooded, while the southern slopes are drier, receiving only 200–300 mm, and are more open. Winter snows are abundant and long-lasting at the higher elevations. On the northern side, woody vegetation consists of dense cedar Cedrus atlantica and pine Pinus pinaster maghrebiana forests, oak Quercus rotundifolia woodland, open Juniperus thurifera woodland and, at lower altitudes, some pine Pinus halepensis. The mountain summits and high plateaus support xerophytic steppe vegetation, and there is some grassland in wetter areas. On the southern slopes cedar woodland is disappearing, but sparse oak and pine woodland persists. Steppe vegetation is predominant, dominated by alfa Stipa tenacissima at lower altitudes.

Key Biodiversity See Box and Table 2 for key species. Ninety-five breeding species have been reported, including two Sahara–Sindian biome species (Table 2), as well as many raptor species. However, three vultures, Gyps fulvus, Neophron percnopterus and Gypaetus barbatus, have recently disappeared, and populations of Aquila chrysaetos and Buteo rufinus have also crashed.

Non-bird biodiversity: The last confirmed Moroccan report of the carnivore Panthera pardus panthera (CR) came from the site in 1993, but it is feared locally extinct. Three other globally threatened mammals are present: an important and increasing population of Ammotragus lervia (VU), estimated at 200 animals in 1996; small numbers of Macaca sylvanus (VU); and Gazella cuvieri (EN), which is fairly regularly seen in a proposed eastern extension to the park. Two endemic reptiles, Quedenfeldtia moerens and Lacerta andreanskyi, are present, and a third, Ophisaurus koellikeri, is suspected to occur. A total of 52 species, subspecies or varieties of plant endemic to Morocco or considered nationally rare are also known from this site.

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 
Maghreb Green Woodpecker Picus vaillantii resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Spectacled Warbler Sylvia conspicillata resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Subalpine Warbler Sylvia cantillans breeding  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Tristram's Warbler Sylvia deserticola resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Moussier's Redstart Phoenicurus moussieri resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Black Wheatear Oenanthe leucura resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Black-eared Wheatear Oenanthe hispanica breeding  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Parc de Haut Atlas Oriental National Park 40,000 unknown 0  

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
tourism/recreation -
other -
Notes: Firewood collection.

References BCEOM-SECA (1995b, m, n), Ou Tahar (1994)

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Parc National du Haut Atlas Oriental. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 26/12/2014

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