Lake Maryut

Country/territory: Egypt

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

Area: 6,000 ha

Nature Conservation Eqypt

Site description
Lake Maryut is the westernmost of the northern delta wetlands, although its history and origin are different. Formerly, the lake was fairly large, but late in the nineteenth century the western half was cut off by a railway embankment and transformed into an extensive salina, now known as Malahet Maryut, which is seasonally flooded (usually during winter). Today, the remaining part of this lake is made up of several fragments, dissected by roads and embankments, and lies practically within the boundaries of greater Alexandria and its sprawling suburbs. What remains of the lake proper is brackish, receiving agricultural drainage-water through several drains (the most important of these is the Qala Drain), as well as large quantities of municipal and industrial effluent from the city of Alexandria. The lake has no direct connection with the Mediterranean, and is maintained at a level of c.2.8 m below sea-level by a pumping station at El Max. Much of the lake shore is fringed by extensive Typha/Phragmites marshes. The lake still supports a fishery, with Tilapia sp. making up most of the production.

Key biodiversity
See Box for key species. The importance of Lake Maryut for birds has diminished greatly over the last two or three decades, due to habitat loss, ecological changes and increased disturbance and hunting pressure. Numbers of wintering waterbirds are modest; in winter 1989/90, a total of about 10,000 waterbirds was counted. Little is known about the lake’s importance for staging of migrants. Several waterbirds are known to breed, including Tachybaptus ruficollis, Porphyrio porphyrio, Gallinula chloropus, Ixobrychus minutus, Charadrius alexandrinus and Sterna albifrons. Little is known, also, about the numbers involved, but it is not expected that there would be any significant concentrations, with the exception of the population of Sterna albifrons, which is in the order of 150 pairs.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Lake Maryut. Downloaded from on 06/12/2021.