The Sidi Moussa-Oualidia wetland complex A Bird Paradise between land and sea

Rhimou EL HAMOUMI, Siham EL MALKI, Abdeslam RIHANE, Abdelhak FAHMI, Mohamed DAKKI


The Sidi Moussa-Oualidia wetland complex is a unique natural ecosystem of significant national and international importance, as designated by the Ramsar Convention. Located in the Moroccan Atlantic zone between El Jadida and Oualidia, this wetland fulfils many functions. The most important are the rich biodiversity, ecological, hydrological, and economic functions are the most important. Regular censuses, carried out during winter between 1993 and 2022 in the Sidi Moussa-Oualidia lagoon complex, made it possible to determine the composition of the waterbird population that frequents this site and to define the status of the various encountered species. Emphasis was also made on the value of this complex, particularly for breeding, based on monitoring work and our unpublished observations. Ninety-six (96) species frequented the site, 51 of which are regular. Waders represent the most dominant group, followed by Laridae and Anatidae. The remaining groups, poorly represented in numbers, total some 29 species, of which twelve (12) are accidental or rare, and nine (9) are mainly observed outside the wintering period. However, some species are particularly interesting, such as the Greater Flamingo, the Eurasian Spoonbill, and the Red-knobbed Coot. Of the 51 regular species in the site, 16 are breeding ones, including species classified as threatened or near-threatened on the global red list (Marbled Teal, Ferruginous Duck) and others considered threatened in Morocco (Purple Swamphen, Red-crested Pochard), rare (Little Tern) or remarkable (Red-knobbed Coot). Despite this ornithological richness, the site is subject to multiple constraints. Creating a specific administrative structure similar to an 'Agency for the development of the Sidi Moussa-Oualidia complex' could be a potential solution for the control, rational management, and sustainable local development.


Wetlands, Sidi Moussa-Oualidia, Waterbirds, Morocco

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