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Location Senegal, Louga,St Louis
Central coordinates 15o 50.00' West  16o 14.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i
Area 17,000 ha
Altitude 0 - 20m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

Site description Lac de Guiers, lying in the far north of the country, c.20 km south-west of Richard-Toll, is the only large freshwater lake in Senegal. It lies in the dry valley of the Ferlo river and is fed only by rainfall or by floodwaters coming down the Senegal river and allowed to flow south into the lake through sluices and a canal at Richard-Toll. The lake is 35 km long and 7.5 km wide at its widest point. At high-water it covers an area of nearly 17,000 ha. It is used as a water-supply for Dakar, as well as for local consumption and to supply water for the sugar refinery at Richard-Toll. It is surrounded by Sahel thorn-bush savanna, used for livestock-rearing and ‘walo’ (flood-recession agriculture) and areas of irrigated cultivation, including extensive sugar-cane plantations and rice-fields. There are permanent herb swamps dominated by Phragmites and Typha along parts of the lake shore and scattered acacias and other trees used for roosting and breeding by a wide variety of colonial nesting herons and egrets.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Lesser Flamingo Phoeniconaias minor winter  1991  1,170 individuals  A1  Near Threatened 
Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus winter  1984  2,600 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia winter  1986  170 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
African Spoonbill Platalea alba winter  1986  250 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
White-winged Tern Chlidonias leucopterus winter  1988  2,700 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
River Prinia Prinia fluviatilis resident  1998  present  A1  Least Concern 


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Artificial - terrestrial   23%
Wetlands (inland)   56%
Grassland   16%
Forest   1%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
water management -

Other biodiversity The lake contained a resident population of the mammal Trichechus senegalensis (VU) until the mid-1980s, but this population was isolated from animals in the main Senegal river and appeared to be declining. It is probably now extinct.

References Chappuis et al. (1988), Delaporte and Dubois (1990), Hughes and Hughes (1992), Trolliet et al. (1992).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Lac de Guiers. Downloaded from on 22/10/2014

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