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Location Mauritania, Trarza
Central coordinates 16o 23.00' West  16o 13.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A3, A4i, A4iii
Area 15,600 ha
Altitude 0 - 6m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

Site description Situated in the extreme south-west of the country, Diawling National Park lies on the border with Senegal at the mouth of the Senegal river. A buffer zone and a peripheral zone cover a further 19,500 ha, which includes both Aftout es Saheli (site MR012) and Chout Boul (site MR017).

The park is contiguous with Djoudj National Park (IBA SN001) in Senegal, on the opposite bank of the river. The site includes a lagoon which is fed by brackish water from a tributary of the Senegal river, significant estuarine and intertidal areas, saline flats and a small area of mangroves, as well as dunes, alluvial plains and an interconnecting network of rivers lakes and ponds. The western border of the park is formed by dunes. Tree cover on the dunes includes Acacia tortilis, A. senegal, Euphorbia balsamifera and Balanites aegyptiaca, with a herbaceous cover of Cenchrus biflorus, Chloris prieurii and Schoenefeldia gracilis. Tree cover is more varied and abundant towards the inland edge of the dunes, with Borassus aethiopum, Acacia nilotica, A. seyal and Parkinsonia aculeata. There is little cover on the alluvial plains, but Tamarix senegalensis and Arthrocnemum glaucum occur on sandy knolls and Acacia nilotica beside creeks and pools. Herbaceous cover on the lower zones of the plain is dominated by halophytes, such as Salsola baryosma. The grass Sporobolus robustus is common in the most frequently flooded areas. Grasses are more important in less saline areas, with Echinochloa colona and Vetiveria nigritana in depressions and Schoenefeldia gracilis on higher ground. Average annual rainfall is 300 mm (although between 1970 and 1990 it fell to 150 mm).

Key Biodiversity See Box and Table 2 for key species. In January 1997, 8,000 Phoenicopterus minor were recorded (Measson 2000). The area, especially when considered in conjunction with Djoudj National Park (IBA SN001) in Senegal, is extremely important for a wide diversity of waterbirds. A single species of the Sahara–Sindian biome (A02) has been recorded (see Table 2).

Non-bird biodiversity: The mammal Trichechus senegalensis (VU) has been recorded.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Northern Pintail Anas acuta winter  1987  16,500 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Northern Shoveler Spatula clypeata winter  1994  6,200 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus winter  2000  3,760 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Lesser Flamingo Phoeniconaias minor winter  1997  8,000 individuals  A1  Near Threatened 
Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia winter  2000  481 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
African Spoonbill Platalea alba winter  1975  700 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Great White Egret Ardea alba winter  2000  509 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Great White Pelican Pelecanus onocrotalus winter  2000  24,613 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Arabian Bustard Ardeotis arabs resident  2001  present  A3  Near Threatened 
Pied Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta winter  1974  2,200 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Slender-billed Gull Larus genei winter  1976  200 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Caspian Tern Hydroprogne caspia winter  2000  595 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Chestnut-bellied Starling Lamprotornis pulcher resident  2001  present  A3  Least Concern 
Black Scrub-robin Cercotrichas podobe resident  2001  present  A3  Least Concern 
Sudan Golden Sparrow Passer luteus resident  2001  present  A3  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds winter  50,000-99,999 individuals  unknown  A4iii   

IBA Monitoring

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

Agriculture and aquaculture annual & perennial non-timber crops - small-holder farming happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Biological resource use fishing & harvesting aquatic resources - unintentional effects: large scale happening now some of area/population (10-49%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Natural system modifications dams & water management/use - large dams happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Diawling National Park 13,000 protected area contains site 15,600  
Parc National du Diawling Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 15,600 is identical to site 15,600  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Artificial - terrestrial   29%
Wetlands (inland)   5%
Shrubland   11%
Rocky areas   16%
Grassland   29%
Forest   8%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
fisheries/aquaculture -
nature conservation and research -
water management -
other -
Notes: Collection of grasses for mat making.

References Boubouth et al. (1999), De Naurois (1969), Hammerlynck et al. (1998, 1999), IUCN (1987), Kelleher et al. (1995), Messaoud et al. (1998), Parc National de Diawling (1996), Taylor (1993).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Diawling National Park. Downloaded from on 27/10/2016

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