Lying in a mountainous region to the north of the High Atlas, 65 km south-east of Essaouira, the site consists of 7 km of the watercourse of the Oued Matil, which along this section passes between cliffs. The site covers 350 ha and varies in altitude from 500 m to 800 m. The valley bed is heavily cultivated.
See Box for key species. The cliffs are the main interest of this area, formerly harbouring a colony and roost of Geronticus eremita. However, the site has only been visited infrequently by ornithologists. On 27 May 1988, seven birds were seen coming in to roost in the evening. The site was revisited in July 1995 and April 1996. No G. eremita were observed, but local people insisted that they had been seen in small numbers in the previous two to three months. Although inconclusive, this does leave open the possibility that birds are visiting the area during the breeding season. It is therefore possible that some G. eremita still nest either upstream or downstream of the site, or that they may eventually recolonize the former colony site. The cliffs do continue to host breeding Ciconia ciconia and raptors. In addition, six breeding species of the Mediterranean North Africa biome occur (see Table 2).
Non-bird biodiversity: None known to BirdLife International.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Oued Matil is currently unprotected. Agricultural activity at the site appears to have intensified over the last 10 years, and the amount of steppe and non-cultivated area has consequently decreased. This may have reduced the available area of feeding habitat for G. eremita, leading to the abandonment or relocation of the breeding colony. A detailed survey for the species should be carried out at the site and its immediate surroundings.