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Location Tunisia, Nabeul
Central coordinates 10o 48.00' East  37o 6.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A4ii, A4iii
Area 391 ha
Altitude 120 - 435m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

Association "Les Amis des Oiseaux"

Site description Located in the eastern part of the Gulf of Tunis, to the west of Cap Bon, Zembra island is situated about 15 km west-north-west of the town of El Haouaria. It is a mountainous island rising to 435 m, and is a seaward extension of the Dorsale. The vegetation is Mediterranean maquis and a total of 230 plant species have been recorded, with Olea europaea, Pistacia lentiscus, Arbutus unedo and Erica multiflora as dominants. The vegetation of the small, neighbouring island of Zembretta is halophytic.

Key Biodiversity See Box for key species. Zembra holds the largest known breeding colony of Calonectris diomedea in the Mediterranean Sea. The 9 km of cliffs of the island also hold 10 breeding pairs of Falco peregrinus, one of the highest densities known for this species. Other breeding birds include Larus audouinii (10 pairs), Phalacrocorax aristotelis and Larus cachinnans (100 pairs).

Non-bird biodiversity: The seal Monachus monachus (CR) was last recorded in 1975.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Calonectris diomedea breeding  20,000 breeding pairs  A4ii  Not Recognised 
Audouin's Gull Larus audouinii breeding  10 breeding pairs  A1  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - seabirds breeding  50,000-99,999 individuals  unknown  A4iii   

IBA Monitoring

2001 low favourable low
Good - based on reliable and complete / representative data

No known threats no known threats happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low

Coastline Sea cliffs & rocky shores  0 0 good (> 90%) good (> 90%) favourable
Shrubland Bushland & thicket - Mediterranean  0 0 good (> 90%) good (> 90%) favourable

Whole area of site (>90%) covered by appropriate conservation designation  Unknown  Unknown  low 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Iles Zembra et Zembretta UNESCO-MAB Biosphere Reserve 791 protected area contains site 391  
Zembra and Zembretta Barcelona Convention 5,095 protected area contains site 391  
Zembra and Zembretta National Park 5,095 protected area contains site 391  

Local conservation groups The local conservation group below is working to support conservation at this IBA.

Name Year formed
AAO/ Tunisian Ornithology Group (GTO) 2000


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Shrubland Bushland & thicket - Mediterranean  major
Coastline Sea cliffs & rocky shores; Shallow marine waters  major

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research -
tourism/recreation -

References Association Les Amis des Oiseaux (2000), Association Les Amis des Oiseaux and Medmaravis (1995), Azafzaf (2000), Ben Maïz and Boudouresque (1984), Ben Saad (1984), Centre d’Activites Regionales pour les Aires Spécialement Protégées (1986), Gaultier (1978, 1982, 1980), Hollis (1986), Ministère de l’Environnement et de l’Aménagement du Territoire (1999), Oueslati (1995), Smart (1975).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Zembra and Zembretta Islands. Downloaded from on 20/10/2016

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