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Location Tunisia, Sfax
Central coordinates 11o 10.00' East  34o 45.00' North
IBA criteria A3, A4i
Area 15,000 ha
Altitude 0 - 13m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

Association "Les Amis des Oiseaux"

Site description The Kerkennah islands form an archipelago, 20 km east of the town of Sfax, in the tidal Gulf of Gabès. The archipelago is composed of two main islands, Chergui and Gharbi, and 12 smaller ones. Relief is low; the highest point is only 13 m above sea-level. Common plant species include Phoenix dactylifera, Nitraria nitraria, Salicornia radicans, Imperata cylindrica and Zygophyllum album.

Key Biodiversity See Box and Table 2 for key species. See under Kneiss (site TN032) for a general presentation of the ornithological importance of the Gulf of Gabès. The Kerkennah archipelago is an important wintering area for Phalacrocorax carbo and gulls and terns, including Larus genei, L. fuscus, L. cachinnans, Sterna caspia and S. sandvicensis. Species that breed on the islands include Falco tinnunculus, Cursorius cursor, Merops apiaster and Lanius excubitor. In addition, the islands are an important stop-over site each spring and autumn for hundreds of thousands of migrant passerines.

Non-bird biodiversity: The gerbil Gerbillus simoni zakariai is endemic to Kerkennah.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Barbary Partridge Alectoris barbara resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus winter  400-1,500 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia winter  400-800 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo winter  1,000-10,000 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Spectacled Warbler Sylvia conspicillata resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Sardinian Warbler Sylvia melanocephala resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Spotless Starling Sturnus unicolor resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Moussier's Redstart Phoenicurus moussieri resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Black-eared Wheatear Oenanthe hispanica breeding  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

2009 high very unfavourable medium
Good - based on reliable and complete / representative data

Agriculture and aquaculture marine and freshwater aquaculture - scale unknown/unrecorded likely in short term (within 4 years) some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Biological resource use hunting & collecting terrestrial animals - intentional use (species being assessed is the target) happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) slow but significant deterioration high
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
Energy production and mining oil and gas drilling likely in short term (within 4 years) some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Residential and commercial development tourism and recreation areas likely in short term (within 4 years) some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium

Phoenicopterus roseus Greater Flamingo 1325 52 individuals 4 very unfavourable
Platalea leucorodia Eurasian Spoonbill 120 176 individuals 100 favourable
Phalacrocorax carbo Great Cormorant 4000 2402 individuals 61 unfavourable
Larus genei Slender-billed Gull 1700 1981 individuals 100 favourable

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

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Kerkennah Island Hunting Reserve Other Area 15,000 is identical to site 15,000  

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

Name Year formed
AAO/ Sfax Regional Branch 2000


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Sea Rock stacks & coastal islets  major

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
hunting -

References Association Les Amis des Oiseaux and Medmaravis (1995), Association Les Amis des Oiseaux (2000), Azafzaf (1999b , 2000), Gaultier (1981, 1986, 1988b), Hughes et al. (1997), Maamouri and Hugues (1991), Ministère de l’Agriculture, Direction Générale des Forêts (2000), Nouira (1986, 1992), Oueslati (1995), Thomsen and Jacobsen (1979), Waechter (1980).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Kerkennah islands. Downloaded from on 27/10/2016

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