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Marais Larache is situated on the outskirts of the Atlantic coastal town of Larache. It extends 15 km inland, as the crow flies, from the mouth of the Oued Loukkos, including the estuary and associated saltpans and various freshwater marshes along its course. The two principal marshes are Bedaoua Sejra, on the right bank of the Oued Loukkos and Ain Chouk-Boucharène on the left bank. The whole site comprises part of the Plaine de Ksar El Kbir and is traversed by the Larache–Tanger (Tangiers) road. The marshes are one of the most important wetlands in the country, with a luxuriant and diverse assemblage of aquatic and semi-aquatic vegetation, including Typha, Juncus, Scirpus and Phragmites spp. and fringing stands of Tamarix and Salix spp.
See Box for key species. This wetland site is one of the 5–10 most important wintering sites for Palearctic migrants in Morocco, situated as it is on the Atlantic coastal flyway. More than 4,000 duck regularly winter, including up to 100 Marmaronetta angustirostris. Numenius tenuirostris was formerly recorded, while Larus audouinii regularly occurs in small numbers. Over 50 species breed, including Fulica cristata. The Marais Larache is the only known Moroccan breeding site for small numbers of Aythya nyroca, and the most important Moroccan site for Porphyrio porphyrio (>600 wintering); Asio capensis also breeds.
Non-bird biodiversity: Six endemic lizards—Acanthodactylus lineomaculatus, Chalcides colosii, C. mionecton, C. pseudostriatus, C. polylepis and Blanus tingitanus—occur, as does the endemic Moroccan amphibian Pelobates varaldii.
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Marais Larache. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 25/06/2021.