Embouchure Oued Moulouya

Country/territory: Morocco

IBA Criteria met: A1, A4i (2001)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 2,700 ha

Groupe de Recherche pour la Protection des Oiseaux au Maroc
Most recent IBA monitoring assessment
Year of assessment Threat score (pressure) Condition score (state) Action score (response)
2014 very high not assessed negligible
For more information about IBA monitoring please click here

Site description
The Oued Moulouya is the largest river to the east of the Middle Atlas and flows 600 km north from Midelt to the Mediterranean. The estuary lies 20 km north of the town of Berkane, only 12 km west of the Algerian border. The site has three components, together comprising 2,700 ha: the Chararba marsh, a freshwater wetland ringed by almost impenetrable dense vegetation; a sandy beach backed by dunes and, in places, a 20-m-high cliff; and the lower 25 km of the course of the Oued Moulouya itself. The luxuriant riparian vegetation consists of Tamarix sp. on the banks and Phragmites communis, Scirpus maritimus, Juncus sp. and Salicornia sp. There are also small plantations of Acacia and Eucalyptus spp. Annual rainfall is 340 mm.

Key biodiversity
See Box for key species. An important breeding colony of Larus audouinii, numbering 2,700 breeding pairs in 1997, lies just 5 km offshore from the mouth of the estuary on the Islas Chafarinas (IBA ES220), which belong to Spain. The estuary of the Oued Moulouya is thus an important roosting and resting site for this species. Marmaronetta angustirostris breeds in small numbers, but is declining in importance as a winter visitor—250 individuals seen in September 1979 and only 38 in April 1996 are indicative. Numenius tenuirostris was last recorded in 1958. Around 180 species have been recorded from the site, including five species of the Mediterranean North Africa biome (see Table 2).

Non-bird biodiversity: Two restricted-range lizards, Chalcides mauritanicus and C. parallelus, have been recorded.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Embouchure Oued Moulouya. Downloaded from on 02/04/2023.