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Location Morocco, Agadir,Tiznit
Central coordinates 9o 40.00' West  30o 5.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A3, A4i
Area 63,800 ha
Altitude 0 - 175m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

Groupe de Recherche pour la Protection des Oiseaux au Maroc (Affiliate)

Site description The 33,800 ha Parc National de Souss–Massa was created in 1991. Lying between Agadir to the north and Sidi Ifni to the south, this Atlantic coastal site includes a variety of habitats, ranging from Argania spinosa woodland, cultivated fields, Retama and Euphorbia steppe, to dunes, cliffs, sandy beaches and wetlands. It encompasses the estuaries of the Oued Souss (the northern limit of the park) and Oued Massa. A region of c.30,000 ha near Aglou, south of the park, is also included in the site because it is used periodically as a feeding area by Geronticus eremita (see below). This area comprises sheep-grazed littoral steppe approximately 1–2 km wide between the foothills of the Anti-Atlas and the sea. The soils are mainly sandy, with some rocky and stony patches, and most of the area consists of small, intermittently cultivated fields. There is a considerable settled human population in and around the park and Aglou; activities include agriculture, livestock-rearing, fishing (both commercial and leisure) and tourism.

Key Biodiversity See Box and Table 2 for key species. Over 100 species have been recorded from the Parc National de Souss–Massa. The overwhelming importance of the site is due to it harbouring three of the four known Moroccan breeding colonies of Geronticus eremita. The colonies are located on coastal cliffs within the National Park and numbered 33 breeding pairs in 2000, or 52% of the Moroccan and world population. There are several roost-sites, and most of the coastal steppes and fallow fields are used as feeding areas at some time of the year. Indeed, the coastal belt to the south of the park has been included because it is also used by the birds as a feeding area—albeit less frequently and generally outside the breeding season. Small numbers of the globally threatened Marmaronetta angustirostris also breed on Oued Massa—70 were recorded in May 1999. Of the 13 species of the Mediterranean North Africa biome that occur, nine breed and two are regular visitors (Falco eleonorae and Sylvia cantillans—the latter on migration), while Eremophila bilopha is occasional and Rhamphocoris clotbey has been recorded once. In addition, Sylvia deserticola may occur. Five species of the Sahara–Sindian biome have also been recorded (Table 2). The site is the only known Moroccan breeding site for Plegadis falcinellus (12–14 pairs, and up to 65 birds recorded). The Parc National de Souss Massa plays host to numerous migrant birds, both on passage and during the winter. The two most important areas for migrants, primarily waders and gulls, are the estuaries of the Oued Souss and Oued Massa. Larus audouinii (wintering) and Platalea leucorodia have reached IBA numerical thresholds on occasion. Up to several hundred Phoenicopterus ruber are regularly found on passage at Oued Souss and are an attraction to tourists from the nearby resort of Agadir.

Non-bird biodiversity: Captive-breeding programmes for the ungulates Oryx dammah (CR), Addax nasomaculatus (EN), Gazella dama (EN) and Gazella dorcas (LR/nt) are under way in large enclosures within the park. Struthio camelus is also being reared. Releases are planned in other protected areas in more arid zones further to the south, but would not be feasible in the immediate area.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Barbary Partridge Alectoris barbara resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Marbled Teal Marmaronetta angustirostris winter  350 individuals  A1, A4i  Vulnerable 
Northern Bald Ibis Geronticus eremita resident  present  A1  Critically Endangered 
Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia winter  160 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Eleonora's Falcon Falco eleonorae breeding  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Audouin's Gull Larus audouinii winter  present  A1  Least Concern 
Red-necked Nightjar Caprimulgus ruficollis breeding  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Thick-billed Lark Rhamphocoris clotbey resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Temminck's Lark Eremophila bilopha resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Spectacled Warbler Sylvia conspicillata resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Sardinian Warbler Sylvia melanocephala resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Subalpine Warbler Sylvia cantillans breeding  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Tristram's Warbler Sylvia deserticola resident  1999  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Spotless Starling Sturnus unicolor resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Moussier's Redstart Phoenicurus moussieri resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Black Wheatear Oenanthe leucura resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Red-rumped Wheatear Oenanthe moesta resident  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 
Black-eared Wheatear Oenanthe hispanica breeding  1999  present  A3  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

2001 medium not assessed high

Residential and commercial development tourism and recreation areas likely in short term (within 4 years) some of area/population (10-49%) moderate to rapid deterioration medium

Whole area of site (>90%) covered by appropriate conservation designation  A comprehensive and appropriate management plan exists that aims to maintain or improve the populations of qualifying bird species  The conservation measures needed for the site are being comprehensively and effectively implemented  high 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Arganeraie UNESCO-MAB Biosphere Reserve 2,568,780 protected area contains site 63,800  
Souss-Massa National Park 33,800 protected area contained by site 33,800  

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
fisheries/aquaculture -
nature conservation and research -
tourism/recreation -

References AEFCS/GTZ (1995), BCEOM-SECA (1995c), Bowden and Smith (1997), Bowden (1998), Touti et al. (1999).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Parc National de Souss-Massa and Aglou. Downloaded from on 28/10/2016

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife