One year after the closure of TransCap 1, the association GREPOM observed the first reproduction of the Common Tern on the floating raft installed in Marchica (Nador lagoon), north-east of Morocco
Sebkha Bou Areg (also known as Marchica) is the largest lagoon on the southern shore of the Mediterranean. It was designated as SIBE site in the Protected Areas Master Plan in 1996, Important Bird Area (IBA or IBA) in 2001, and Wetland of International Importance (Ramsar site) in 2003.
Despite the importance of this lagoon in the far north of Morocco for migratory birds, several factors limit their nesting such as the scarcity of suitable habitats, disturbance and predation by dogs.
Well aware of these conservation threats on the avian biodiversity and its habitats, the Research Group for the Protection of Birds in Morocco (GREPOM/BirdLife Morocco) launched in 2021 a project to improve bird nesting conditions in the lagoon. For 1 year, the members of the association worked in cooperation with the officials of the Marchica Agency and the National Agency of Water and Forests, for the construction of 25 nests for flamingos, the installation of a floating nesting raft, and the training of young eco-guides.
One year after the end of the project, on 5 June 2023, the project coordinator Said Azaouaghe observed the first nesting of the Common Tern (Sterna hirundo) on the floating raft. This observation is the first indication of success of the association to encourage rare species at the national level to feel safe to breed in this created habitat. The association hopes that other species will be encouraged to nest in these protected conditions, and that the model will be replicated in other Moroccan or similar sites.
This project benefited from a grant from the TransCap program, co-financed by the General Directorate of Cooperation of the Balearic Islands and Coordinated by the Cooperation Center for the Mediterranean of IUCN.