|Location||Mauritania, Hodh Ech Chargui|
|Central coordinates||7o 38.00' West 16o 25.00' North|
|IBA criteria||A1, A4i, A4iii|
|Altitude||185 - 205m|
|Year of IBA assessment||2001|
Ornithological information See Box for key species. Twenty-four Aythya nyroca were recorded in 2000. In addition, Acrocephalus paludicola has been recorded at this site, but its status is unclear. Although there are few records of terrestrial species, the habitat suggests that the site might hold a significant number of species representative of the Sahel biome.
Site description Gâat Mahmoûdé is a large, seasonally flooded plain that lies 40 km south-west of the town of Néma in the south-east of the country. The lake is fed by rainwater, which flows into it from a number of oueds to the east that carry run-off from Dahr Néma, the extensive scarp system that lies immediately east of Néma town. The western part of the site, known as the Amzingui and covering c. 2,500 ha, is a depression 0.75–1.00 m deeper than the rest of the wetland. The gâat has in the past contained water continuously for several years. Increased precipitation since 1999 has seen the lake become semi-permanent once again. Aquatic plants include Ipomea aquatica, Nymphaea, Cyperus and Typha spp. Rocky outcrops sloping towards the depression border the silty-clay soils of the gâat. Around the gâat are large continental dunes of low elevation, vegetated with species such as Acacia raddiana, A. ehrenbergiana, Balanites aegyptiaca and Leptadenia pyrotechnica. Parts of the seasonally inundated area, east of Amzingui, support stands of Acacia nilotica woodland (1,200 ha) while the wadis are well-wooded in places. Average annual rainfall in the area is 100–200 mm.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|White-faced Whistling-duck Dendrocygna viduata||winter||2000||21,280 individuals||medium||A4i||Least Concern|
|Comb Duck Sarkidiornis melanotos||winter||2001||10,100 individuals||medium||A4i||Least Concern|
|Garganey Anas querquedula||winter||2001||21,600 individuals||medium||A4i||Least Concern|
|Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis||winter||2000||573 individuals||medium||A4i||Least Concern|
|Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus||winter||2001||4,800 individuals||medium||A4i||Least Concern|
|Purple Swamphen Porphyrio porphyrio||winter||2001||340 individuals||medium||A4i||Least Concern|
|Black Crowned-crane Balearica pavonina||winter||2000||860 individuals||medium||A1, A4i||Vulnerable|
|Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus||winter||2001||13,200 individuals||medium||A4i||Least Concern|
|Ruff Philomachus pugnax||winter||2001||22,000 individuals||medium||A4i||Least Concern|
|Collared Pratincole Glareola pratincola||winter||2000||2,457 individuals||medium||A4i||Least Concern|
|White-winged Tern Chlidonias leucopterus||winter||2001||4,000 individuals||medium||A4i||Least Concern|
|A4iii Species group - waterbirds||winter||2000-2001||-||unknown||A4iii|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Artificial landscapes (terrestrial)||7%|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
|Notes: Collection of wild foods and medicinal plants.|
Other biodiversity The fox Vulpes rueppelli (DD) and the tortoise Geochelone sulcata (VU) occur, and there are reports that Gazella dorcas (VU) is also present.
Management considerations Gâat Mahmoûdé has been proposed as a Ramsar Site. Mahmoûdé plays a vital role in the local economy. Mobile animal herds from all over eastern Mauritania visit the wetland to drink. Grazing pressure increased in the 1970s and 1980s as the area of inundation and regeneration of vegetation decreased as a result of declining rainfall. But improved rainfall during 1998–2000 has seen the wetland regenerate and pressures on resources reduced. There is some limited traditional flood-recession agriculture to the north of the wetland. Local populations also exploit the forestry products and wild foods (wild rice, tubers, medicinal plants) associated with the wetland. There is, however, little permanent human habitation in the area. The level of poaching in the area is unknown, but may pose a potential risk to the avifauna.
References van Wetten et al. (1990).
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2013) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Gâat Mahmoûdé. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 22/05/2013
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