Sebkha d'Oran

Country/territory: Algeria

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

Area: 56,870 ha

Protection status:

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

Site description
The site lies just south of the city of Oran, only 12 km distant from the Mediterranean Sea at its closest point and some 70 km south-west of Marais de la Macta (site DZ017). It consists of a huge basin, subject to inundation after rainfall, that produces a wetland varying in extent from 50,000 to 100,000 ha. The basin is deeper/lower at its eastern end, leading to deeper flooding there, which spreads westwards with increasing rainfall. The sebkha dries out (becoming increasingly saline) in late summer, for a period of up to three months. It has been classed as an ‘unvegetated sebkhet’, but there is some Phragmites australis, Arthrocnemum glaucum, Juncus acutus and Scirpus sp. fringing the shores and watercourses, and Suaeda fruticosa is the dominant vegetation on the seasonally inundated saltflats. The site is surrounded by agricultural land and it is a popular hunting area. Lac de Gharabas (which also has some fairly high winter waterbird counts) lies c.30 km to the east of the site and it is possible that birds move between Sebkha d’Oran, Lac de Gharabas and Marais de la Macta (site DZ017), still further east.

Key biodiversity
See Box for key species. Marmaronetta angustirostris was regularly recorded wintering in the 1970s (200 birds in 1972 and a total of 360 birds at this site, Marais de la Macta (site DZ017) and Lac de Gharabas combined during the 1970s). Although these records are sparse (three records from the 1970s and none since), there are additional winter records from nearby Lac de Gharabas (including 150 birds in 1975 and 38 in 1981). It is probable that counts in the 1970s were more comprehensive and that Marmaronetta angustirostris may have been overlooked in more recent years or may have been absent in years when the site dried out. There is an unconfirmed record of a single wintering Numenius tenuirostris in 1994. Phoenicopterus ruber has been counted on the site in numbers exceeding 2,000 birds during most winters in the 1990s. The site is important for wintering waterbirds generally, with regular counts in excess of 1,000 birds for Tadorna tadorna (1,200 in 1994), Anas penelope, A. acuta and A. clypeata (3,100). Other species recorded wintering on the site include Podiceps nigricollis, Egretta garzetta, Grus grus (up to 900 in the 1990s), Anser anser (over 900 in 1997), Fulica atra and Larus cachinnans (2,100 in 1999).

Non-bird biodiversity: None known to BirdLife International.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Sebkha d'Oran. Downloaded from on 25/06/2021.