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Location Tunisia, Ben Arous,Tunis
Central coordinates 10o 30.00' East  36o 45.00' North
IBA criteria A4i
Area 3,700 ha
Altitude 5 m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

Association "Les Amis des Oiseaux"



Site description Lake Tunis is a large, shallow lagoon, possibly a former mouth of the Medjerda river, once connected to the sea, but now separated from it on the eastern side by the coastal dunes on which Carthage and La Goulette stand. Tunis, the capital, is situated on higher ground to the west of the lake, and is gradually spreading all round it, joining up with Radès on the southern side. The lake is bisected by a ship canal and motorway. In the northern half of the lake is the island of Chikly which has a ruined Spanish fortress on it. The southern half of the lake includes the former salt-production pans at Radès/Mégrine. The lake formerly received most of the sewage effluent and rainwater run-off from Tunis, but in the 1960s and 1970s, a clean-up operation was carried out, with waste-water being piped to a treatment station at Ariana, and circulation of water in the shallow lake improved. In the 1980s, most of the northern shores of the lagoon were reclaimed for urban expansion, destroying all natural habitat. The same has occurred in the late 1990s in the southern half of the lagoon, and the saltpans have been closed and filled in. The current ornithological status of the lake is uncertain, as the reclamation work on the south of the lake is still in progress, but it is likely that it will retain very little of its former ornithological interest, although some birds originating from nearby Sebkhet Sedjoumi and Ariana may still occur.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis winter  500-3,000 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus breeding  1,000-5,000 breeding pairs  A4i  Least Concern 
Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia winter  80-220 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo winter  2,000-6,000 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Ile Chikly Natural Reserve 3 protected area contained by site 3  

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

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Wetlands (inland) Freshwater lakes and pools  major

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
hunting -
urban/industrial/transport -

Other biodiversity None known to BirdLife International.

References Arnoud and Lachaux (1974), Ben Maïz and Boudouresque (1984), Gaultier (1986, 1987b, 1988a), Hughes et al. (1997), Maamouri and Hughes (1991), Ministère de l’Agriculture, Direction Générale des Forêts (2000), Shili (1995).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Lake Tunis (Lake Radès). Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 22/09/2014

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