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Location Tunisia, Kairouan
Central coordinates 9o 54.00' East  35o 35.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i
Area 1,200 ha
Altitude 242 m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

Association "Les Amis des Oiseaux"

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.

Populations of IBA trigger species

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 

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

Name Year formed
AAO/ Kairouan Regional Branch 2000

Land use

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

Other biodiversity None known to BirdLife International.

References Gaultier (1988a), Green (1993), Hughes et al. (1997), Meininger et al. (1994).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: El Houareb reservoir. Downloaded from on 02/09/2014

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