Sedjoumi is the most northerly of the sebkhas or saline depressions typical of central and southern Tunisia. Being situated in an area of higher rainfall, it receives precipitation more regularly than other sebkhas further south, and therefore holds water every winter. In summer it dries out to a large extent, but small quantities of sewage and waste-water flow in from the suburbs of Tunis to the north, so that there is water and habitat for Phoenicopterus ruber and waders even in late summer. As such, it is a key wetland in late summer and autumn. In the southern and western parts of the lake there are about 40 islands varying in size from a few square metres to several hectares. There is little fringing vegetation because of the high salt content of the soil.
See Box for key species. Sedjoumi is important in all seasons for bird species typical of salt depressions, such as Phoenicopterus ruber, Tadorna tadorna, Himantopus himantopus and Larus genei. P. ruber has attempted to nest on the islands, but failed due to disturbance. Other nesting species include Tadorna tadorna in small numbers, Himantopus himantopus, and even, at times, Marmaronetta angustirostris. At other periods of the year, Sedjoumi is one of the most important sites in Tunisia for P. ruber, with numbers regularly above 10,000, a large proportion of which are adult birds, suggesting that this is a preferred feeding site. The site is extremely important for migrant and wintering waders (many thousands of all species) and for wintering ducks, notably Tadorna tadorna, which has its highest Tunisian concentration here, Anas acuta (3,000–5,000) and A. clypeata. Anser anser has become a regular winter visitor (up to 100) since the loss of Ichkeul as a goose habitat. In winters when other local wetlands are dry; Grus grus use the site as a roost.
Non-bird biodiversity: None known to BirdLife International.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Although the site is a Hunting Reserve, there is some poaching and illegal hunting as well as disturbance by human visitors and stray dogs. Much more important, however, is the inexorable reclamation of the edges. The site is in the suburbs of the capital, and there are a number of road-building and construction projects around its edges. It is likely that the inflow of waste-water will be cut off. There is a large rubbish tip at the southern end. Given the decrease in importance of the Lake of Tunis, it would be a high priority to establish a properly managed reserve or National Park here at the gates of the capital.
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Sebkhet Sejoumi. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 16/01/2021.