Lac des Oiseaux / Garaet et Touyour

Site description (2001 baseline):

Site location and context
This site (like Bou Redim, site DZ004) also lies in the flood-plain of the Oued El Kebir, c.20 km west of Lac Oubeïra (site DZ001) and just east of Marais de Mekhada (site DZ006). It consists of a small, permanent freshwater lake with a maximum depth of 2.5 m. The edges of the lake slope fairly steeply and there is a wide band of Scirpus lacustris (up to 5 m) around the edge, leading to open water in the centre, with submerged vegetation dominated by Ceratophyllum demersum, Myriophyllum sp. and Potamogeton sp., with Ranunculus sp., Phragmites sp. and Eleocharis sp. The lake is rich in quantity and quality of flora (200 species recorded) and also has a diverse insect (especially Odonata) and amphibian fauna. To the north of the site there is extensive grazed pasture and arable land.

Key biodiversity
See Box for key species. Aythya nyroca winters regularly in small numbers and was confirmed breeding (two pairs) for the first time in 1991; up to 22 birds have been seen on the site during the breeding season. Oxyura leucocephala also winters regularly in numbers up to/around 200 (209 in 1992). This species was also confirmed breeding (six nests) in 1991. There is a possible but unconfirmed breeding record for Marmaronetta angustirostris (four birds seen on the site in July 1984).The site holds a wide variety of wintering waterfowl with large numbers of Anas penelope, A. crecca, A. acuta and A. clypeata. ‘Considerable numbers’ of Ardea cinerea, Grus grus and Anser anser are also reported from the 1970s and 1980s, with one record of 5,000 Anser anser wintering in 1977. Over 70 Vanellus vanellus were seen in winter 1982. The site may hold more than 20,000 waterfowl; a total of more than 10,000 wintering ducks, and Fulica atra have been recorded on several occasions by the Institut National Agronomique, with a maximum total of 17,800 in 1986. The site is closely linked in terms of its use by birds with Marais de Mekhada (site DZ006) and it is reported that numbers on this site can increase by up to four-fold on days when there is hunting taking place on other sites, notably Marais de Mekhada.Breeding birds include Porphyrio porphyrio and Tachybaptus ruficollis (180 birds in 1984). Raptors recorded from the site include Milvus migrans, Gyps fulvus, Pernis apivorus, Circus aeruginosus, Hieraaetus pennatus, Falco vespertinus and F. peregrinus.

Non-bird biodiversity: None known to BirdLife International.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The site was designated a Ramsar Site in 1999. It is a non-hunting refuge, a designation that is seemingly respected by local hunters, and clearly of great value as a refuge; numbers of birds on the site can increase by as much as four-fold on days when hunting takes place elsewhere. It has been proposed that the proximity of the site to a main road and the wide variety of waterfowl present would make this an ideal site for an educational and interpretation centre, to increase public interest in the conservation of wetlands. Plans to dam the Oued El Kebir at Mexanna (to provide domestic water for the city of El Kala) could affect the water-supply to Lac des Oiseaux and reduce its ornithological value. Approximately 8,000 people live nearby and human population-growth is seen as a potential threat to the site.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Lac des Oiseaux / Garaet et Touyour. Downloaded from on 02/10/2023.