The Langue de Barbarie National Park lies south-west of the Guembeul Avifaunal Reserve (part of site SN005), about 25 km from St Louis. It consists of a 20-km length of intertidal flats and sand-dunes on a spit formed across the mouth of the Senegal river. It includes both marine and riverine (brackish) waters. The terrestrial part of the park is formed by three main islands, the Ile de Gandiole (2 ha) being the largest. The vegetation on the infertile sandy soils is Sahelian in composition and includes the species Ipomoea pes-caprae, Alternanthera maritima, Sporobolus spicatus and Sesuvium portulacastrum. There are no trees.
See Box for key species. The site is particularly important for the large numbers of breeding and wintering gulls and terns, including breeding Sterna nilotica at the southern limit of its breeding range. Larus audouinii (LR/cd) is recorded regularly in small numbers along the river and lagoons (maximum 17 birds recorded from the Langue de Barbarie and St Louis lagoons [part of site SN005] combined in 1994). Sterna sandvicensis and S. albifrons are also recorded wintering in numbers which exceed IBA thresholds, but these records cover the whole coastline from St Louis to Kayar (i.e. also including site SN005, Guembeul Avifaunal Reserve and St Louis lagoons). The site is frequently used by wintering Phoenicopterus ruber; which move between this and all the other sites in the delta area of the Senegal river (i.e. sites SN001 to SN005 inclusive) and south-western Mauritania. Wintering Pandion haliaetus are common. Egretta gularis is recorded breeding (126 pairs in 1998). There is considerable interchange of birds of several species between this site and site SN005, which lies to the north, further upstream along the extensive Senegal river mouth.
Non-bird biodiversity: The marine fauna includes the turtles Chelonia mydas (EN), Dermochelys coriacea (EN), Eretmochelys imbricata (CR) and Caretta caretta (EN).
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The National Park is zoned and managed by a conservator and staff, and access is restricted to prevent disturbance to breeding birds. Conservation management efforts are limited by lack of funds. The site is close to the town of St Louis and attracts significant numbers of tourists and birdwatchers.
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Parc National de la Langue de Barbarie. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 31/03/2020.