Merja Zerga or Lagune de Moulay Bou Selham is a tidal lagoon on the Atlantic coast of Morocco, 70 km north of the city of Kenitra. Classified as a Permanent Biological Reserve in 1978, it is managed by several government agencies.
The lagoon, which covers 4,500 hectares, receives water from the Oued Drader and from the local water table. Its average depth is 1.5 metres. The area's annual rainfall (600-700 mm) results in winter floods that inundate the surrounding areas.
A Ramsar Convention site, the lagoon hosts 100 bird species and has been identified as a key site on the East Atlantic Flyway. Between 15,000 and 30,000 ducks overwinter at the lagoon, and it regularly holds 50,000 to 100,000 waders. Its permanent species include Asio capensis. Winter visitors include ruddy shelduck, common shelduck, gadwall, Eurasian wigeon, northern shoveler, marbled teal, greater flamingo, common coot, pied avocet, grey plover, and slender-billed curlew.
|Designated||20 June 1980|
The Druridge Bay curlew was a curlew that was present in Druridge Bay, Northumberland in May 1998, whose species identification proved to be controversial. The bird was identified by its finder, and most others who saw it, as a first-summer slender-billed curlew, one of the rarest birds in the world; however, this identification provoked scepticism from some quarters. The bird was initially accepted as this species (and therefore became the first record of slender-billed curlew in Britain) by the British Birds Rarities Committee and the British Ornithologists’ Union Records Committee - however, this identification was eventually rejected in 2013 (Collinson et al 2014)East Atlantic Flyway
The East Atlantic Flyway is a migration route used by about 90 million birds annually, passing from their breeding areas in United States Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Siberia and northern Europe to wintering areas in western Europe and on to southern Africa. It is one of the eight major flyways used by waders and shorebirds. The migrants follow a great circle route, which is shorter although more challenging. When avoiding the barriers created by the Sahara Desert and Atlas Mountains, European honey buzzards were found to overcompensate for the winds they expected to encounter, and take a longer route than was necessary.Wetlands International has identified key sites on the flyway in the project Wings Over Wetlands.Important key sites on the flyway include:
Lake Ladoga (St. Petersburg, Russia)
Haapsalu, Matsalu (Estonia)
Nemunas Delta (Lithuanian demonstration site)
Wadden Sea (Netherlands, Germany, Denmark)
Vendée Reserve (France)
Doñana National Park (Spain)
Merja Zerga (Morocco)
Banc d'Arguin National Park (Mauritania)
Diawling-Djoudj (Senegal, Mauritania)
Saloum-Niumi (Senegal, Gambia)
Archipel Bijagos (Guinea-Bissau)The flyway attracted attention in the 2000s when birds using the route were found to have been carrying H5n1 (bird flu).List of Ramsar wetlands of international importance
This is the List of Wetlands of International Importance as defined by the Ramsar Convention for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands, recognizing the fundamental ecological functions of wetlands and their economic, cultural, scientific, and recreational value. As of 2019 there are 2,341 Ramsar Sites, covering 252,479,417 hectares.
The Convention establishes that "wetlands should be selected for the list on account of their international significance in terms of ecology, botany, zoology, limnology or hydrology." Over the years, the Conference of the Contracting Parties has adopted more specific criteria interpreting the Convention text.
The complete list of Wetlands of International Importance is accessible from the Ramsar website.