Working for birds in Africa

Important Bird Areas

Tue, 05/02/2013 - 12:09 -- abc_admin

Sebkhet Sedjoumi, Tunisia

Image Credit: 
Hichem Azafzaf

Sidi Toui NP, Tunisia

Image Credit: 
Hichem Azafzaf

Barrage Lebna, Tunisia

Image Credit: 
Hichem Azafzaf

Tunisia is a major area of concentration for migrants including soaring species like birds of prey, European White Stork Ciconia ciconia and Common Crane Grus grus. In spring they move northwards through the country, concentrating at El Haouaria at the tip of Cape Bon before continuing their 146 km journey across the Mediterranean to Italy. In this period up to 40,000 individuals of 23 species of raptor may be observed including threatened species such as Pallid Harrier Circus macrourus and Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni. In addition to this huge concentration, thousands of passerines cross Tunisia during the autumn and spring migrations and are observed in coastal areas and oases.

Salt-pans, like those at Thyna, are also of great importance for many tens of thousands of birds in the migration and wintering periods. Island biotopes, like the archipelagos of Galita and Zembra, provide refuge for Eleonora’s Falcon Falco eleonorae and Audouin’s Gull Larus audouinii.

A remarkable 46 Important Bird Areas (IBAs) have been identified in Tunisia by BirdLife International covering 12,529 km2, equivalent to 7.6% of the land-surface area of the country. 16 sites are protected areas. 35 sites are inland or coastal wetlands and qualify as IBAs as a result of the number of waterbirds they hold. Representative species of both the Mediterranean North Africa biome with 16 species covered in 16 sites and the Sahara-Sindian biome with 13 species covered in 8 sites occur in Tunisia.

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