Canton Forestier de Sidi Bou Ghaba

Country/territory: Morocco

IBA criteria met: A1, A3, A4i (2001)
For more information about IBA criteria, please click here

Area: 652 ha

Groupe de Recherche pour la Protection des Oiseaux au Maroc
IBA conservation status
Year of assessment (most recent) State (condition) Pressure (threat) Response (action)
2001 not assessed high not assessed
For more information about IBA monitoring, please click here

Site description (2001 baseline)
The site consists of the shallow dayet, or lake, of Sidi Bou Ghaba. Six kilometres long, but only 400 m broad at its widest point, the lake is enclosed between two rows of fossil dunes inland from, but parallel to, the Atlantic coast, some 30 km north of Rabat. The dunes are covered by Juniperus phoenicea woodland, intermixed with other woody species such as Pistacia lentiscus, Olea europea and Retama monosperma. The lake is fresh water, fed by rainfall and run-off. There are extensive areas with well-developed reedbeds and marshy vegetation consisting of Phragmites communis, Juncus acutus, J. maritimus, Cyperus laevigatus, Scirpus lacustris, S. holoschoenus, and Typha angustifolia. The lake is fringed with Tamarix gallica, Populus alba and introduced Eucalyptus species. The site is accessible by a tarmac road and receives large numbers of local visitors each year (see Conservation issues).

Key biodiversity
See Box and Table 2 for key species. An important site on the Atlantic coastal flyway, the Réserve Biologique receives thousands of wintering and passage migrants every year, particularly waterfowl. Around 107 species are regularly recorded, of which 35 breed. Sidi Bou Ghaba is best known for its wintering population of Marmaronetta angustirostris, which can number several hundred. Around 10 pairs breed each year. Aythya nyroca is a passage migrant in small numbers (maximum four individuals). Of the seven species of the Mediterranean North Africa biome that occur, five breed, while two (Falco eleonorae and Caprimulgus ruficollis) are non-breeding visitors.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Canton Forestier de Sidi Bou Ghaba. Downloaded from on 05/12/2023.