|Central coordinates||46o 55.00' East 15o 28.00' South|
|IBA criteria||A1, A2, A3, A4i|
|Altitude||0 - 40m|
|Year of IBA assessment||2001|
Ornithological information See Box and Tables 2 and 3 for key species. Thirteen species are known from the site, of which one is endemic to Madagascar. The site holds the largest congregation of Egretta dimorpha known.
Site description This large bay is located 95 km north of Mahajanga. The bay is shallow and is generally less than 5 m deep at low tide, although the main drainage channel at its mouth is 20–90 m deep at low tide. Five rivers flow into the bay: the Sofia and the Tsiribihina rivers in the north-east, the Mahajamba river in the centre, and the Andranoboka and Masokoenja rivers in the south-east. There are 47,500 ha of mangroves, located at the mouths of the five rivers and dominated by Rhizophora and Avicennia. Those located along the sea are well developed (8–10 m high) and show no signs of exploitation. Tongue-shaped mudflats, c.750 m long and 500 m wide, occur along the edge of the mangroves. Some small rocky islets are present in the channel. Parts of the bay shore are rocky, and inland there are more or less wooded hills.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Madagascar Heron Ardea humbloti||resident||1997||present [units unknown]||-||A1, A2, A3||Endangered|
|Little Egret Egretta garzetta||non-breeding||1997||447 individuals||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|Madagascar Fish-eagle Haliaeetus vociferoides||resident||1997||present [units unknown]||-||A1, A2, A3||Critically Endangered|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
|Notes: Collection of eggs and young of waterbirds.|
Other biodiversity Lemur: Propithecus verreauxi coquereli (EN).
Management considerations One of the rocky islets is a sacred site to which access is forbidden, and is this protected against human disturbance. Haliaeetus vociferoides and Propithecus verreauxi coquereli are also protected by ‘fady’ (taboos). The colonies of breeding waterbirds are exploited by local people, especially the employees of an industrial aquaculture installation.
References Langrand (1987), Rabarisoa (1994), Rabarisoa et al. (1995), Ségalen (1956), Watson et al. (1993).
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2013) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Mahajamba Bay wetlands. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 24/05/2013
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