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Location Senegal, St Louis
Central coordinates 15o 46.00' West  16o 29.00' North
IBA criteria A3, A4i, A4iii
Area 8,000 ha
Altitude 0 - 20m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

Site description The site consists of a length of about 21 km of the Senegal river and its immediate riparian habitat. It lies upstream of Djoudj wetlands (site SN001) and north of both Ndiaël basin (SN002) and Lac de Guiers (SN003). The habitat consists of highly modified and cultivated areas of land, with extensive rice-fields and market gardens and associated irrigation and drainage canals and ditches, adjacent to areas of fairly dense human habitation. The site is very closely linked to Lac de Guiers, which receives water from the river through sluices and a canal located at Richard-Toll. Between this site and Lac de Guiers lie extensive sugar-cane plantations. The site lies in the Sahel zone and the original habitat would have been thorn-bush savanna, dominated by Acacia spp. and Balanites aegyptiaca, shrubs of Boscia senegalensis and Salvadora persica, and larger trees adjacent to the river itself, including Combretum aculeatum, Grewia bicolor, Bombax costatum and Borassus aethiopicum. There were once extensive forests of Acacia nilotica along the banks of the Senegal river that were regularly inundated by floods and formed important refuges for Palearctic migrants. These forests have largely disappeared as a result of drought and exploitation for fuelwood.

Key Biodiversity See Box and Table 2 for key species. This site is unique in Senegal due to the presence (for more than 35 years) of ornithologists Gérard and Marie-Yvonne Morel at the ‘Station d’Ecologie’ in Richard-Toll, funded by the French overseas research organization IRD (formerly ‘ORSTOM’). As a result of their work and that of other visiting research staff using the station, the intensity of bird observations for Richard-Toll and the immediate area far exceeds that for almost any other area of the country. The site is important for many waterbirds and some raptors. There are past records of the globally threatened Marmaronetta angustirostris (but none recorded since the 1970s), and more recent records in the general area of the site for Circus macrourus and Falco naumanni, both of which are recorded on passage in “the lower Senegal valley”. There is also a record of ‘thousands’ of F. naumanni from Richard-Toll in 1958. Observer effort is reflected particularly in the biome-restricted species lists. Seven species of the Sudan–Guinea Savanna biome (A04) have been recorded from the site (Table 2). In addition to the count of 26,000 Philomachus pugnax in 1994, there are several other recent records of significant totals of this species as well as suspected roosts or pre-roosts in rice-fields in the general area of the site (e.g. at Boundoum), suggesting that the species is “regularly occurring”. Other records of waterbirds at Richard-Toll include breeding Casmerodius albus, Threskiornis aethiopicus and Platalea alba, and wintering Nycticorax nycticorax (though several of the breeding records in particular are from earlier decades).

Non-bird biodiversity: The mammal Trichechus senegalensis (VU) probably still occurs in the river, although sightings are infrequent (a stranded individual was rescued from the river at Matam in 1997, several hundred kilometres upstream of Richard-Toll).

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Arabian Bustard Ardeotis arabs resident  1998  present  A3  Near Threatened 
Savile's Bustard Lophotis savilei resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Ruff Calidris pugnax winter  1994  26,000 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
African Collared-dove Streptopelia roseogrisea resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Golden Nightjar Caprimulgus eximius resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Sahelian Woodpecker Dendropicos elachus resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Sennar Penduline-tit Anthoscopus punctifrons resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Kordofan Lark Mirafra cordofanica resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
River Prinia Prinia fluviatilis resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Cricket Longtail Spiloptila clamans resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Chestnut-bellied Starling Lamprotornis pulcher resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Black Scrub-robin Cercotrichas podobe resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Sudan Golden Sparrow Passer luteus resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds winter  1994  20,000-49,999 individuals  unknown  A4iii   


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Artificial - terrestrial   56%
Wetlands (inland)   42%
Grassland   1%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
water management -
other -
Notes: Collection of fuelwood.

References Hughes and Hughes (1992), Morel and Morel (1990), Triplet and Yesou (1998).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: River Sénégal (Ntiagar to Richard-Toll). Downloaded from on 28/11/2014

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