Barrage de la Cheffia

Country/territory: Algeria

IBA Criteria met: A4i, A4iii (2001)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 3,000 ha

Site description
The site lies c.35 km south-east of Annaba, 170 m above sea-level. It consists of an artificial reservoir created by a dam across the Oued Bou Namoussa, in the hills about 20 km above the entry of the Oued to the alluvial flood-plain of Marais de Mekhada (site DZ006). The water reaches a maximum depth of 20 m and a maximum area of 30 km² (at capacity), and the reservoir is devoid of rooted vegetation because of the large, rapid fluctuations in water-level.

Key biodiversity
See Box for key species. The site acts as an important daytime roost and refuge for wintering waterbirds that feed in other wetlands, particularly when hunting disturbs other sites. More than 20,000 waterbirds have been recorded at this site, with an estimated total of 100,000 birds in 1974 (95,000 of which were Anas penelope) and other large counts of ducks including up to 20,000 A. penelope and 18,000 A. acuta (no information on years) and 11,000 A. crecca in 1981. The precise relationship between this site and hunting pressure on other sites is not clear, but the site is thought to be particularly linked with Marais de Mekhada (site DZ006), and the 95,000 A. penelope recorded in 1974 were believed to have been displaced from site DZ006 because of very low water-levels making it unsuitable as a roost.

Non-bird biodiversity: None known to BirdLife International.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Barrage de la Cheffia. Downloaded from on 09/08/2022.