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Location Mauritania, Hodh Ech Chargui
Central coordinates 7o 38.00' West  16o 25.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i, A4iii
Area 16,200 ha
Altitude 185 - 205m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

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.

Key Biodiversity 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.

Non-bird biodiversity: The fox Vulpes rueppelli (DD) and the tortoise Geochelone sulcata (VU) occur, and there are reports that Gazella dorcas (VU) is also present.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Sarkidiornis melanotos winter  2001  10,100 individuals  medium  A4i  Not Recognised 
White-faced Whistling-duck Dendrocygna viduata winter  2000  21,280 individuals  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Garganey Spatula 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 
Himantopus himantopus winter  2001  13,200 individuals  medium  A4i  Not Recognised 
Ruff Calidris 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  100,000-499,999 individuals  unknown  A4iii   


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Artificial - terrestrial   7%
Wetlands (inland)   3%
Rocky areas   57%
Grassland   31%
Desert   1%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
other -
Notes: Collection of wild foods and medicinal plants.

References van Wetten et al. (1990).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Gâat Mahmoûdé. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife