The site is a large triangular area of plateau, its northern apex situated at the village of Al Fouchal some 25 km south of Aïn Beni Mathar, its south-western corner at the village of Matarka, and its eastern boundary formed by the Oujda–Figuig road. Vegetation consists mainly of arid tussock-grass Stipa tenacissima–Artemisia inculta steppe. There are several gueltas/temporary ponds (e.g. Guelta El Beida, Dayet Oum Slimane). The principal economic activity is extensive livestock-rearing.
See Box and Table 2 for key species. Approximately 100 species have been recorded, including Chlamydotis undulata and large flocks of sandgrouse (an estimated 100,000 Pterocles alchata were observed in December 1993). Five species of the Sahara–Sindian biome also occur (see Table 2). In December 1993, 73 wintering Charadrius morinellus were recorded in a small part of this vast site, leading to the suspicion that numbers of this cryptic, hard-to-census species may exceed the threshold for qualification as an IBA under the A4i criterion.
Non-bird biodiversity: The mammal Gazella dorcas (LR/nt) occurs.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The site is unprotected. Threats include overgrazing and hunting.
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Région Fouchal - Matarka. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 19/09/2020.