Cap Blanc

Country/territory: Mauritania

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

Area: 310,000 ha

Nature Mauritanie

Site description
The protected area is called the Réserve Intégrale de Cap Blanc and covers 310,000 ha. It is the largest of several bays north of the Banc d’Arguin and the reserve. The bay is bordered to the west by the long, southerly projecting peninsula which terminates in Râs Nouâdhibou or Cap Blanc and which is bisected lengthwise by the international frontier with Morocco. The southern tip of the peninsula and the surrounding seas form the reserve. The coastline is steep and rocky in places, sandy in others. The site is contiguous with the Banc d’Arguin (site MR004) to the south and close to part of the Moroccan IBA Dakhla National Park (site MA046). Cap Blanc (also called Aguerguer), is part of a peninsula, lying between the railway line (from the iron-ore mines in Zouérate to the coast at Nouâdibou) and the ocean. The geology of the Cap is predominantly sandstone and limestones. It is characterized by numerous bays, islands and rocky outcrops. The vegetation of the terrestrial areas includes Euphorbia balsamifera, Panicum turgidum, Frankenia corymbosa, Echiochilon chazaliei, Limonium tuberculatum, Spartina maratima, Traganum nudatum, Salsola baryosma and Zygophyllum waterlotii, while the aquatic and littoral flora includes Zostera noltii, Cymodocea nodosa, Suaeda arguinensis, Arthrocnemum macrostachyum and Sesuvium portulacastrum. The area receives very little rainfall, on average 24 mm per year; some years there is none.

Key biodiversity
See Box for key species. In addition, Crex crex has been recorded here while Larus audouinii sometimes occurs in small numbers.

Non-bird biodiversity: The reserve is home to the world’s largest population (a few hundred individuals) of monk seals Monachus monachus (CR). Four species of marine turtle have been recorded (all are globally threatened).

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Cap Blanc. Downloaded from on 12/08/2022.