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Location Mauritania, Dakhlet Nouâdhibou
Central coordinates 17o 1.00' West  20o 58.00' North
IBA criteria A4i, A4iii
Area 310,000 ha
Altitude 0 - 5m
Year of IBA assessment 2001





Site description The protected area is called the Réserve Intégrale de Cap Blanc and covers 310,000 ha. It is the largest of several bays north of the Banc d’Arguin and the reserve. The bay is bordered to the west by the long, southerly projecting peninsula which terminates in Râs Nouâdhibou or Cap Blanc and which is bisected lengthwise by the international frontier with Morocco. The southern tip of the peninsula and the surrounding seas form the reserve. The coastline is steep and rocky in places, sandy in others. The site is contiguous with the Banc d’Arguin (site MR004) to the south and close to part of the Moroccan IBA Dakhla National Park (site MA046). Cap Blanc (also called Aguerguer), is part of a peninsula, lying between the railway line (from the iron-ore mines in Zouérate to the coast at Nouâdibou) and the ocean. The geology of the Cap is predominantly sandstone and limestones. It is characterized by numerous bays, islands and rocky outcrops. The vegetation of the terrestrial areas includes Euphorbia balsamifera, Panicum turgidum, Frankenia corymbosa, Echiochilon chazaliei, Limonium tuberculatum, Spartina maratima, Traganum nudatum, Salsola baryosma and Zygophyllum waterlotii, while the aquatic and littoral flora includes Zostera noltii, Cymodocea nodosa, Suaeda arguinensis, Arthrocnemum macrostachyum and Sesuvium portulacastrum. The area receives very little rainfall, on average 24 mm per year; some years there is none.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres winter  1979  1,000 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus winter  15,000 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Slender-billed Gull Larus genei winter  1979  150 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Caspian Tern Hydroprogne caspia winter  10,000 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Sandwich Tern Thalasseus sandvicensis winter  1979  20,000 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds winter  20,000-49,999 individuals  unknown  A4iii   

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Cap Blanc Satellite Reserve 210 is identical to site 310,000  

Land use

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

Other biodiversity The reserve is home to the world’s largest population (a few hundred individuals) of monk seals Monachus monachus (CR). Four species of marine turtle have been recorded (all are globally threatened).

References Amadou Tidane et al. (1995), Diop (1995), Ens et al. (1989), Marchessaux and Mulher (1989), MDRE (1998), Nieri et al. (1996).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Cap Blanc. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 28/08/2014

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