Visit Algeria’s Best Birding Spots
While Algeria has only one endemic bird within its borders – the Algerian Nuthatch Sitta ledanti – it has an abundance of birdlife with up to thirty-one sites of being identified as Important Bird Areas (IBA). Also known as the Kabylie Nuthatch, the Algerian Nuthatch is found only on the forested slopes of the Petite Kabylie mountain range in Algeria’s Atlas Tell region, over 1,000m above sea level.
The country’s wetland areas, especially along the coast as well as on the plateau to the south of the city of Constantine, are critical for both resident and migratory water-birds. Birding enthusiasts visiting these areas may be fortunate enough to spot three species considered to be vulnerable worldwide – the Marbled Teal (Marmaronetta angustirostris), the White-headed Duck (Oxyura leucocephala), and the Ferruginous Duck (Aythya nyroca). The offshore islands and coastline are also important areas for seabirds to breed, most notably Audouin’s Gull (Larus audouinii).
Located east of Annaba, the El Kala wetlands include six IBAs, namely Lac Tonga, Lac Oubeïra, Lac Melah, Lac des Oiseaux, Bou Redim and Marais de Mekhada. To the south of Constantine are the Chotts Constantinois wetlands featuring five IBA’s, namely Sebkhet Ez-Zemoul, Sebkhet Baker, Chott de Tinnsilt, Sebkhet Djendli and Garaet et-Tarf.
A small colony of Bald Ibis (Geronticus eremita) are resident near El Bayadh in the Saharan Atlas Mountains. Listed as ‘Critically Endangered’ by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) these glossy black birds are found in semi-desert, barren and rocky habitats, generally near a source of running water. With a fossil record dating back as far as 1.8 million years, the Northern Bald Iris was once plentiful across northern Africa, the Middle East and southern and central Europe, but disappeared from Europe at least three centuries ago. The most recent records on these bird reveals that there are only around 500 left in the wild, spread out between Algeria, Morocco and Syria.
Other birds found in Algeria include the Levaillant’s woodpecker (Picus vaillantii), Subalpine warbler (Sylvia cantillans), Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus), Booted eagle (Hieraaetus pennatus) and Lammergeier (Gypaetus barbatus).