The great pyramids at Giza, EgyptElephants crossing the Zambezi river in Mana Pools National Park world heritage site, ZimbabweThe great mosque in the Old Towns of Djenne world heritage site, MaliBlack and white ruffed lemur, Rainforests of the Atsinanana world heritage site, Madagascar

Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary - Senegal

Map showing the location of the Djoudj national bird sanctuary world heritage site, Senegal

In Danger 2000 to 2008 

Area: 160 km2 

Inscribed: 1981.


Criteria: (vii) aesthetic (x) biodiversity

Values: The Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary is a wetland in the Senegal river delta, which serves as an over-wintering site for vast numbers of waterfowl and other Palaearctic migrant birds. Historically, the site was subject to alternating cycles of seasonal flooding with fresh water from the Senegal River, followed by an influx of salt water from the ocean during the dry season. This hydrological regime has been altered with the construction of dams both upstream and downstream of the sanctuary. A seasonal freshwater flood is now provided by release of impounded water, but the saltwater flooding no longer occurs. Waterbird counts in 1998 (after the dams were completed) revealed half a million individuals of just the top four species - garganey (222,000), pintail (120,000), ruff (120,000) and white-faced tree duck (36,000).


Slideshow of the Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary/world heritage site.


Impressions (based on a visit in February 2006)The waterfowl congregation makes an amazing spectacle, and the sanctuary has become a popular visitor destination, with about 10,000 visitors annually. A boat trip along one of the main waterways, ending at a huge pelican breeding colony, is a major highlight.

Management challenges: The sanctuary is dependent on the efficient operation of the system of three sluices and associated levees that control the flow of water into the sanctuary, and on the availability of water when it is needed. The expansion of irrigated agriculture and increasing demand for water for other uses may ultimately limit the amounts that can be released into the sanctuary, but it seems the availability of water is not yet limiting: the Senegal River drains an enormous catchment and most of its volume still drains into the sea.


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Links:  Google Earth | UNEP-WCMC Site Description | Official UNESCO Site Details | Birdlife IBA

The Djoudj national bird sanctuary world heritage site covers an extensive area of floodplain of the Senegal river estuary, and is used as an overwintering site by Palaearctic migrant waterfowl Reedbeds are extensive in the Djoudj national bird sanctuary world heritage site, SenegalWhite-faced tree ducks are one of the top four species of Palaearctic migrant birds that overwinter at the Djoudj national bird sanctuary world heritage site.  Together with ruff, garganey and pintail, more than half a million birds of these four species overwinter here. A breeding colony of pelicans can easily be visited by tourists as part of a short cruise through the wetlands and waterways of the Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary world heritage site in Senegal



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