Located along the course of the Oued Saquia Al Hamra, the site is bordered on its southern side by the suburbs of the rapidly growing town of Laayoune. Along much of its course, the oued is dry for most of the year, only holding water after infrequent rainfall. However, about 1 km downstream from Laayoune the oued is blocked by mobile dunes, so that the discharged effluent of the town forms a series of permanent stagnant pools. Vegetation consists of fringing stands of Tamarix and Hyphaene spp., with aquatic species Ruppia sp. and Charia mauretanica.
See Box for key species. Six species have been recorded breeding, including Tadorna ferruginea, Ciconia nigra and Glareola pratincola, as well as one species of the Sahara–Sindian biome (see Table 2). The site is chiefly important as a stop-over area for migrating waders and waterfowl, and small numbers of wintering Marmaronetta angustirostris have been recorded.
Non-bird biodiversity: None known to BirdLife International.
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Zone Humide de Laayoune. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 04/07/2020.