The site lies just west and south of the town of Joal-Fadiouth and incorporates a length (c.5 km) of sandy coastline and a fairly large estuary with mangroves, mudbanks and small islands. The estuary consists of expanses of mud and mangroves intersected by creeks, which become at least partially inundated at high tide. At low tide, the mudbanks are important feeding areas, especially for waders. Inland, the eastern end of the estuary includes areas of dryer land and salt steppe that are not inundated. The site lies about 10 km south of the southern boundary of La Petite Côte (site SN011) and just north (c.4 km) of the northern boundary of Delta du Saloum (SN013).
See Box for key species. The site is particularly important for wintering waders and terns. Over 6,300 waders of 20 species were recorded in 1998. Larus audouinii is a regular wintering species, with frequent observations of numbers in the hundreds on the site, including a maximum count of 350 individuals in the estuary just south of the town of Joal-Fadiouth in 1991. In addition to the species in the Box, there are records of 1,200 wintering Recurvirostra avosetta, while Charadrius hiaticula and Calidris canutus have also been recorded in numbers exceeding 1,000 birds. Breeding birds include mixed heronries in trees in villages inland of the estuary, e.g. Mesophoyx intermedia with nests of Egretta alba, Ardea melanocephala and Phalacrocorax africanus at N’Dianda near Joal. There is considerable interchange and movement of birds between this site and sites SN011 and SN013, and all three sites are of very high importance for wintering, passage and resident waterbirds and seabirds.
Non-bird biodiversity: None known to BirdLife International.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity