Relatively few birders have been to Mauritania and ornithological surveys have been largely restricted to the coastal zone. With the Sahara Desert covering over 60% of the country and the resulting travel difficulties, this is hardly surprising. However, Mauritania has some of the most important coastal wetlands in Africa and with a species list of over 500, the intrepid birdwatcher will be well rewarded.

The most important site ornithologically is the Banc d'Arguin which periodically supports the largest concentration of migratory waders in Africa, more than 2 million birds.

Banc d'Arguin National Park was established in 1976 and protects 40% of the Mauritania coastline between Nouakchott and Nouâdhibou. It covers a total area of 12,000 km2 and includes shallow open sea and seagrass bed, intertidal flats, channels and creeks as well as coastal desert habitats. It holds possibly the world's largest concentrations of non-breeding waders and it is estimated that over 30% of all waders using the East Atlantic flyway winter here. (Text courtesy African Bird Club)

Caspian Tern

Caspian Tern, copyright Glyn Sellors, from the surfbirds galleries

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Mauritania December 2006, author Richard Bonser (link created July 13, 2007)
(Long-tailed Cormorant, Kelp Gull, Grey-headed Gull, Royal Tern, Dunn's Lark, Cricket Longtail, Desert Sparrow, Sudan Golden Sparrow)

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