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Location Mauritania, Dakhlet Nouâdhibou,Inchiri
Central coordinates 16o 16.00' West  20o 7.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A3, A4i, A4iii
Area 1,173,000 ha
Altitude 0 - 15m
Year of IBA assessment 2001





Site description Banc d’Arguin National Park was established in 1976 and protects 40% of the Mauritanian coastline, between Nouakchott and Nouâdhibou, on the northern the Mauritanian coast. The National Park includes shallow open sea (less than 5 m) and seagrass beds, intertidal flats, channels and creeks, as well as coastal desert habitats. Within the park the maximum tidal range is 2.0 m, while the average is between 1.2 and 1.7 m. The total area of intertidal mudflats is some 55,000 ha and there are between 60,000–80,000 ha of seagrass beds. Coastal vegetation includes clumps of mangrove Avicennia africana as well as the grass Spartina maritima and species of Chenopodiaceae. The terrestrial part of the reserve includes areas of Saharan vegetation, principally the tree species Acacia tortilis, Balanites aegyptiaca, Maerua crassifolia and Capparis decidua, and the herbaceous species Panicum turgidum, Cassia italica, Pergularia tomentosa and Heliotropium bacciferum. The dunes on the southern fringe of the park are dominated by Stipagrostis pungens, Cornulaca monacantha, Euphorbia balsamifera and Calligonum comosum. A total of 190 plant species have been recorded in the park. Adjacent to the park lies one of the world’s richest fishing grounds, resulting from upwellings off Râs Nouâdhibou and Râs Timirist and the prevalence of seagrass beds and other productive shallow-water benthic habitats.

Key Biodiversity See Box and Table 2 for key species. The Banc d’Arguin holds the world’s largest concentrations of non-breeding waders. There are also substantial populations of breeding waterbirds. It is estimated that as many as 2,250,000 migrant waders winter at this site, which is more than 30% of the estimated total population of waders using the East Atlantic Flyway. In addition, Circus macrourus and Falco naumanni are occasionally recorded on passage, while small numbers of Larus audouinii (up to 15 individuals) are regularly recorded. Phoenicopterus minor is an occasional visitor in small numbers.

Non-bird biodiversity: The large and diverse marine fauna includes a number of taxa of conservation concern; four species of sea-turtle (Chelonia mydas (EN), Eretmochelys imbricata (CR), Dermochelys coriacea (EN), Caretta caretta (EN)); the monk seal Monachus monachus (CR); and numerous species of cetacean—Phocoena phocoena (VU), Sousa teuszii (DD), Tursiops truncatus (DD), Grampus griseus (DD), Steno bredanensis (DD), Orcinus orca (LR/cd) and Balaenoptera physalus (EN). The gazelle Gazella dorcas (VU) and the foxes Fennecus zerda (DD) and Vulpes rueppellii (DD) occur in terrestrial parts of the reserve.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus resident  12,940 breeding pairs  A4i  Least Concern 
Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus winter  1980  118,200 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia resident  1,610 breeding pairs  A4i  Least Concern 
Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia winter  1980  18,591 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Egretta garzetta winter  1997  4,418 individuals  A4i  Not Recognised 
Egretta gularis resident  745 breeding pairs  A4i  Not Recognised 
Egretta gularis winter  1980  2,899 individuals  A4i  Not Recognised 
Great White Pelican Pelecanus onocrotalus breeding  3,080 breeding pairs  A4i  Least Concern 
Great White Pelican Pelecanus onocrotalus winter  1980  3,763 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Long-tailed Cormorant Microcarbo africanus winter  1980  7,787 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo breeding  4,260 breeding pairs  A4i  Least Concern 
Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo winter  1980  9,395 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Nubian Bustard Neotis nuba resident  2001  present  A1, A3  Near Threatened 
Haematopus ostralegus winter  1980  9,176 individuals  A4i  Not Recognised 
Charadrius alexandrinus winter  1980  17,380 individuals  A4i  Not Recognised 
Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola winter  1980  23,425 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Common Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula winter  1979  133,055 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Common Redshank Tringa totanus winter  1997  102,266 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica winter  1980  542,965 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus winter  1972  25,000 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata winter  1972  25,000 individuals  A4i  Near Threatened 
Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia winter  1997  4,030 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres winter  1980  17,081 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Red Knot Calidris canutus winter  1980  365,880 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Sanderling Calidris alba winter  1997  20,556 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Little Stint Calidris minuta winter  1980  43,899 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Dunlin Calidris alpina winter  1997  919,895 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea winter  1997  226,023 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Sterna nilotica breeding  1,180 breeding pairs  A4i  Not Recognised 
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus winter  1980  14,936 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Slender-billed Gull Larus genei breeding  1,610 breeding pairs  A4i  Least Concern 
Slender-billed Gull Larus genei winter  1997  4,305 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Caspian Tern Hydroprogne caspia breeding  2,575 breeding pairs  A4i  Least Concern 
Caspian Tern Hydroprogne caspia winter  1997  5,069 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Royal Tern Thalasseus maximus breeding  5,630 breeding pairs  A4i  Least Concern 
Royal Tern Thalasseus maximus winter  1997  3,340 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Sandwich Tern Thalasseus sandvicensis winter  1979  9,180 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Common Tern Sterna hirundo breeding  40 breeding pairs  A4i  Least Concern 
Pharaoh Eagle-owl Bubo ascalaphus resident  2001  present  A3  Least Concern 
Pale Crag-martin Hirundo obsoleta resident  2001  present  A3  Least Concern 
Greater Hoopoe-lark Alaemon alaudipes resident  2001  present  A3  Least Concern 
Bar-tailed Lark Ammomanes cinctura resident  2001  present  A3  Least Concern 
Desert Lark Ammomanes deserti resident  2001  present  A3  Least Concern 
Dunn's Lark Eremalauda dunni resident  2001  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-tailed Wheatear Oenanthe leucopyga resident  2001  present  A3  Least Concern 
Passer simplex resident  2001  present  A3  Not Recognised 
Trumpeter Finch Bucanetes githagineus resident  2001  present  A3  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds winter  2,500,000-4,999,999 individuals  unknown  A4iii   
A4iii Species group - waterbirds breeding  50,000-99,999 individuals  unknown  A4iii   

IBA Monitoring

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

Over-exploitation, persecution and control of species fishing & harvesting aquatic resources - unintentional effects: large scale happening now some of area/population (10-49%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Pollution industrial & military effluents - type unknown/unrecorded happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low

Whole area of site (>90%) covered by appropriate conservation designation  Not assessed  Not assessed  low 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Banc d'Arguin National Park 1,207,500 is identical to site 1,173,000  
Banc d'Arguin National Park World Heritage Site 1,200,000 protected area contains site 1,173,000  
Parc National du Banc d'Arguin Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 1,173,000 protected area contains site 1,173,000  

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Rocky areas   1%
Desert   98%

Land use

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

References Altenburg et al. (1982), Campredon (1987), De Naurois (1969), De Wilde (1988), Ens et al. (1989), Gowthorpe et al. (1996), IUCN (1992), Mengin and Van Spanje (1989), Price et al. (1992), Wolff and Smit (1990), Zwarts et al. (1998).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Banc d'Arguin National Park. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 20/12/2014

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