Lac Oubeïra

Country/territory: Algeria

IBA Criteria met: A1, A4i, A4iii (2001)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 3,160 ha

Protection status:

Most recent IBA monitoring assessment
Year of assessment Threat score (pressure) Condition score (state) Action score (response)
2001 very high not assessed not assessed
For more information about IBA monitoring please click here

Site description
Lac Oubeïra lies about 60 km east of the city of Annaba and 15 km west of the Tunisian border, in the north-east of the country. It forms part of the complex of wetlands included within the Parc National d’El Kala and lies c.10 km west of Lac Tonga (site DZ002). The site lies at 25 m altitude and consists of a shallow (maximum depth 3 m), permanent, eutrophic, freshwater lake surrounded on the three sides by cork oak woodland and maquis. The lake lies c.5 km from the Mediterranean Sea and it is bounded to the north by a major sand-dune system. The lake is replenished in winter when flood water from the Oued El Kebir flows across intervening marshland and in to the lake via a channel in the south-east corner. Sluices have been constructed on the channel to retain water in the lake when the flood levels drop. The lake can be slightly saline, especially in summer, as indicated by the presence of zooplankton typical of slightly saline conditions. There is a small area of Phragmites australis and Scirpus lacustris on the western shore and dense submerged aquatic vegetation dominated by Myriophyllum and Ceratophyllum spp. There are extensive beds of Potamogeton pectinatus, and Trapa natans (rare in Algeria) is present. The lake supports a commercial fishery based on the exploitation of indigenous species of Mugil, Anguilla and Alosa; these, together with Atherina sp. and Gambusia affinis gain entry to the lake during winter floods. The shallow edges and the shores of the lake are grazed, maintaining a grassland strip clear of trees around the water’s edge. There is some hunting, but this is less intensive than on Lac Tonga (site DZ002).

Key biodiversity
See Box for key species. Several thousand Aythya nyroca wintered here and in Lac Melah (site DZ003) in the 1960s, but only around 15 were recorded in 1992. The species is also considered a ‘potential breeder’ at this site. Winter counts of Oxyura leucocephala have declined from 220 in January 1984 to fewer than 50 in 1995. In addition Marmaronetta angustirostris was reported probably breeding ‘near El Kala’ in the 1980s (up to 50 pairs in wet years). The site regularly holds up to 50,000 wintering waterbirds (90,982 in 1992), mainly Anas penelope, A. clypeata, Aythya ferina and up to 35,900 Fulica atra, as well as up to 9,000 Aythya fuligula in the 1970s. This site, together with Lac Melah (site DZ003) in previous years, is one of very few sites of international importance for A. fuligula in Africa. Other wintering species include Podiceps nigricollis (up to 850), Anas acuta and A. strepera. Many waterfowl rest here by day and move to feed on Lac Tonga (site DZ002) at night. Other breeding species include Podiceps cristatus, Fulica atra, Porphyrio porphyrio and up to 100 pairs of Acrocephalus arundinaceus. Raptors reported include Milvus migrans, Buteo rufinus, Hieraaetus pennatus, Pandion haliaetus, Neophron percnopterus and Circus aeruginosus.

Non-bird biodiversity: None known to BirdLife International.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Lac Oubeïra. Downloaded from on 03/08/2020.