DZ021
Djebel Babor et Tababort


Country/territory: Algeria

IBA Criteria met: A1, A2, A3 (2001)
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Area: 1,700 ha

Protection status:


Site description
The site is located in the Petite Kabylie mountain range, which runs roughly parallel to the Mediterranean coast, south and east of the coastal town of Bejaïa and north-west of Constantine. The Djebel Babor forms a long crest (running west-south-west to east-north-east) within this mountain range, extending over 4 km and reaching a peak of 1,995 m (one of the highest peaks in the Petite Kabylie). The site lies only c.20 km from the coast at the Gulf of Bejaïa. The climate of Djebel Babor is particularly humid and cold, with annual precipitation c.2,500 mm, much of it falling as snow during the winter months. Snow can fall in all months between November and April and can lie as deep as 2–3 m. Spring can also be cool and stormy, but the summer months (August to October) tend to be dry with a more typically Mediterranean climate. The northern slopes are wetter due to the proximity to the coast. The southern slopes are steeper, less vegetated and tend to be drier and sunnier.

The principal vegetation above 1,650–1,800 m and covering the summit is mixed oak-fir forest, highly atypical of the Mediterranean zone and considered to be a relict habitat, containing some temperate species (e.g. Populus tremula) that occur nowhere else in Africa. The dominant species of tree (reaching c.13 m high) are Quercus faginea and Abies numidica, with Cedrus atlantica and occasional Taxus baccata (including very old individual trees), Populus tremula, Acer obtusatum, Sorbus aria and S. torminalis. There is a dense understorey, with the field layer dominated by Viola munbyana, Senecio perralderianus and Paeonia corallina. The fir, Abies numidica, is endemic to Babor in Algeria (and found nowhere else in the Mediterranean) and several other herbs (Saxifraga numidica, Silene reverchoni, Hieracum ernesti and Orchis maculata baborica) are also endemic to the mountain. Below 1,800 m the vegetation on the northern and southern slopes differs markedly. On the wetter northern slopes there are extensive Cedrus atlantica forests down to 1,600 m, thought to be secondary forest which has grown up on areas denuded by fires in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Between 1,200–1,600 m the forest is primarily Quercus faginea and other deciduous oaks and below this (to 1,200 m), evergreen oaks, Q. ilex. Due to the steep gradient and calcareous outcrops on the southern slopes, there are large bare areas, with some Cedrus atlantica up to 1,700–1,800 m and below this (to 1,450 m), evergreen oaks, Q. ilex.

Key biodiversity
See Box and Table 2 for key species. This site was the first-discovered location for the endemic (to Algeria) and probably sedentary Sitta ledanti, first described in 1975. This is also a restricted-range species, the distribution of which defines the North Algerian mountains Secondary Area (s039). An initial, conservative estimate of numbers on the site was 20 pairs, although a total of 54 territories was identified in 1978, 10 with breeding confirmed. Subsequent surveys in 1982 revised the estimate upwards to 80 pairs. Until 1989, the species was thought to be endemic to Djebel Babor and dependent on the presence of Abies numidica and Cedrus atlantica, but in fact larger populations were found that year in the Parc National de Taza (site DZ022). Birds were found in 1990 in two other nearby forests in the Petite Kabylie, namely Tamentout (9,500 ha up to an altitude of 1,626 m) and Djimla (1,000 ha, up to 1,352 m), where they appeared to be widely distributed in Quercus canariensis and Q. afares woodland above 1,000 m. The four known sites for the species all lie within 30 km of each other, but it is not yet known whether there is any interchange of birds between the sites. Sitta ledanti is restricted to the Mediterranean North Africa biome and three other species of this biome are also recorded from the site. These are Phoenicurus moussieri (probably breeding), Sylvia cantillans and Picus vaillantii (the latter species has not been recorded from any other IBA in Algeria). A number of raptors are also recorded, including breeding Gypaetus barbatus, Neophron percnopterus and Hieraaetus pennatus and (probably breeding) Accipiter nisus.

Non-bird biodiversity: Djebel Babor shows high levels of endemism in all the groups that have been studied. In addition to the flora (see above), there is an endemic beetle (Carabus morbillosus mirei).


Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2019) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Djebel Babor et Tababort. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 15/11/2019.