|Central coordinates||9o 54.00' East 35o 35.00' North|
|IBA criteria||A1, A4i|
|Year of IBA assessment||2001|
Site description El Houareb reservoir is a man-made water-body built about 20 years ago on the Oued Merguellil, 35 km east of Kairouan, for flood-control and water-supply purposes. Where the river emerges from the Dorsale the reservoir is bordered by higher land, but also has extensive flat shores. It retains the waters which once flowed into Sebkha Kelbia (site TN020). It has an average depth of nearly 20 m, but in periods of poor rainfall, it can remain completely dry for several years on end. The surrounding vegetation is composed mainly of Tamarix africana, Typha angustifolia and Juncus species. The waterplant Potamogeton pectinatus grows commonly in the reservoir and provides the main food-source for wildfowl.
Key Biodiversity See Box for key species. The reservoir has become one of the most important sites in Tunisia for breeding M. angustirostris and O. leucocephala (whose numbers appear to be augmented in winter)—although it is not clear where these species go in dry years. Other species, including Podiceps cristatus and Tachybaptus ruficollis, also breed. The site is a wintering site for a broad array of species, including Phalacrocorax carbo, Casmerodius albus, Anas penelope, A. acuta, A. clypeata, Aythya ferina, A. fuligula and Fulica atra. In addition, eight species of the Mediterranean North Africa biome (A01) have been recorded (see Table 2).
Non-bird biodiversity: None known to BirdLife International.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Marbled Teal Marmaronetta angustirostris||breeding||1999||150-620 adults only||unknown||A1, A4i||Vulnerable|
|Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca||winter||1993||1,400 individuals||unknown||A1, A4i||Near Threatened|
|White-headed Duck Oxyura leucocephala||winter||-||334 individuals||-||A1, A4i||Endangered|
|2009||very high||not assessed||low|
|Good - based on reliable and complete / representative data|
|Climate change and severe weather||drought||likely in long term (beyond 4 years)||majority/most of area/population (50-90%)||slow but significant deterioration||medium|
|Geological events||earthquakes/tsunamis||happening now||whole area/population (>90%)||moderate to rapid deterioration||very high|
|Little/none of site covered (<10%)||No management plan exists but the management planning process has begun||Substantive conservation measures are being implemented but these are not comprehensive and are limited by resources and capacity||low|
Local conservation groups The local conservation group below is working to support conservation at this IBA.
|AAO/ Kairouan Regional Branch||2000|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
References Gaultier (1988a), Green (1993), Hughes et al. (1997), Meininger et al. (1994).
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2015) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: El Houareb reservoir. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 29/11/2015
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