Country/territory: Morocco

IBA criteria met: A1, A3, A4i (2001)
For more information about IBA criteria, please click here

Area: 180,000 ha

Groupe de Recherche pour la Protection des Oiseaux au Maroc

Site description (2001 baseline)
This is a large site located 70 km east of Tan Tan. It comprises the rocky mountains of Jbel Bani, Jbel Rich, Jbel Tazzout and Jbel Ouarkziz, separated from each other by silty valleys including, between Jbel Rich and Jbel Tazzout, the bed of the Oued Drâa. The climate of the north-western 10% of the site is subject to an oceanic influence and is consequently wetter and more densely vegetated with Argania spinosa and Euphorbia echinus, while the larger south-eastern sector is drier and supports a Saharan-type vegetation with bushes of Limoniastrum ifniense and Nitraria retusa, together with the most extensive and well-developed stands of Acacia raddiana in the country. The many permanent brackish gueltas along the valleys are fringed with Tamarix spp., and there are several freshwater springs. Annual precipitation is around 40 mm.

Key biodiversity
See Box and Table 2 for key species. In the mid-1990s a limited survey investigating a small part of the site recorded 20 Marmaronetta angustirostris and 100 Tadorna ferruginea, and it can therefore be assumed that total numbers of both species exceed IBA thresholds. A total of 35 species is known to breed. Argania/Euphorbia woodland in the north-west sector supports a Mediterranean avifauna, while the south-western portion of the site contains a representative sample of the Saharan species.

Non-bird biodiversity: The mammals Gazella dorcas (LR/nt), Gazella cuvieri (EN), Ammotragus lervia (VU) and Acinonyx jubatus hecki (EN) are all present (tracks of the latter seen in 1994). Three endemic reptiles, Tarentola boehmi, Quedenfeldtia moerens and Acanthodactylus busacki, occur, as does the endemic amphibian Bufo brongersmai.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Msseyed. Downloaded from on 28/09/2023.