Tamri and Imsouane

Year of compilation: 2001

Site description
The site is a 32-km stretch of Morocco’s Atlantic coast between Essaouira and Agadir. Varying between 1 and 4 km in width, the site comprises the coastal strip, starting from the forestry post at Idbene Sag in the north, and incorporating the seaward side of the minor road to Imsouane port. From Imsouane, the boundary follows the ridge Talaf Brahim ou Lahsene to just north of Tildi, where it cuts east along the northern cliffs of Oued Tannkourimt to the village of Assaka. From Assaka the boundary follows the main Agadir–Essaouira road (RP 8), until it cuts inland at Imzi, via the villages of Timassinine and Id er Rais to Tamri. From Tamri the boundary continues west along the main road to Ait Ali where it cuts south to the Iggui Ouferni ridge to Ouroumi and finally crosses the road to the sea at Cap Ghir. Habitats include coastal cliffs up to 50 m high, the permanent watercourse and estuary of the Oued Tamri, sandy beaches and dunes, and a band of coastal steppe/unintensively used agricultural land between the coast and the foothills of the High Atlas.

Key biodiversity
See Box and Table 2 for key species. Tamri is one of only four known Moroccan breeding colonies of Geronticus eremita. The other three colonies are located over 50 km south in the Parc National de Souss-Massa (site MA038). All the pairs in the Tamri colony nest on ledges on a single cliff. In 2000, Tamri contained 30 breeding pairs, or 48% of the country’s and world population. The ibis use the steppe and fallow fields between Tamri and Cap Ghir and the steppe at Imsouane as feeding areas; there are also several other cliff roost-sites within this area which are used by the birds outside the breeding season. The Tamri and Souss-Massa populations do show some interchange outside the breeding season and so the remaining ibis may be regarded as a single population. Both Phalacrocorax aristotelis riggenbachi, a subspecies restricted to Morocco, and Apus unicolor, a restricted-range species (of the Madeira and Canary Islands Endemic Bird Area, EBA 120) which only occasionally breeds in Morocco, nest. A pair of Aquila chrysaetos have bred on the cliffs west of Assaka. Two species of the Sahara–Sindian biome occur (see Table 2).

Non-bird biodiversity: The site holds 17 species of amphibians and reptiles, including four Moroccan endemics, among them the reptiles Acanthodactylus busacki, Quedenfeldtia moerens and Chalcides manueli.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Much of the site is unprotected, but 900 ha of the Embouchure de l’Oued Tamri have been retained as a priority 1 SIBE (No. L27) and a permanent no-hunting zone has been established around Tamri to protect the ibis colony. The colony itself has been the subject of a long-term study by the authorities of the Parc National de Souss–Massa and the RSPB since 1994, and local wardens have been trained and put in place since 1996 to restrict public access and collect detailed observations. The principal threats to the site are the development of a fishing port at Imsouane and the general growth of leisure tourism in the region (construction of hotels, increased levels of disturbance, etc.). The beaches are popular with local residents of Agadir at the weekends, and there are several large camping sites along the coast. Ibis feeding in the fields and steppes are often disturbed by tourists and stone-throwing children. There have also been recent incidents of poaching by irresponsible hunters. Disturbance by birdwatchers at the breeding site is controlled by wardening, but does remain a problem. Protective and educational measures are urgently required, and controlled ecotourism could play an important role in safeguarding the ibis in the long term. The SIBE requires extending to include some of the most important ibis feeding and breeding areas, and the whole IBA merits official designation as a conservation area.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Tamri and Imsouane. Downloaded from on 08/08/2022.