The site lies at the mouth of the Kalissaye river in south-western Senegal (Casamance region) and consists of two sandy islands lying off the Pointe de Sankoye. It lies about 35 km north-west of Parc National de Basse Casamance (site SN014). The strong currents in the estuary modify the mobile sand substrate, changing the shape and size of the islands continually. The vegetation on the islands is characterized by littoral sand-loving species such as Ipomoea pes-caprae, Sporobolus spicatus and Alternanthera maritima. The site was established as a reserve and sanctuary to protect breeding seabirds and sea-turtles.
The reserve is a home to 73 bird species, including 10,000 pairs of breeding Sterna caspia and thousands of breeding Pelecanus Onocrotalus. Other species ornithological diversity include Sterna maxima, S. nilotica, Larus genei, L. cirrocephalus and Pandion haliaetus.
Non-bird biodiversity: Two species of sea-turtle, Chelonia mydas (EN) and Caretta caretta (EN), are recorded breeding and the mammal Trichechus senegalensis (VU) is reported from the site.
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Kalissaye Avifaunal Reserve. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 26/09/2020.