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Location Spain, Galicia
Central coordinates 8o 53.00' West  42o 15.00' North
IBA criteria A4i, A4iii, B1i, B3, C2, C3, C4, C6
Area 467 ha
Altitude 0 - 197m
Year of IBA assessment 2000


Site description Two islands in the Ría de Vigo estuary with extensive areas of cliff. The vegetation is mainly scrub and Pinus and Eucalyptus plantations. The main human activities are tourism and recreation.

Key Biodiversity This is an important site for breeding seabirds with one of the largest colonies of Larus cachinnans in the world and of Phalacrocorax aristotelis in Europe.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo winter  1996  500-1,500 individuals  medium  B1i, C3  Least Concern 
European Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis resident  1996  900-1,100 breeding pairs  good  A4i, B1i, B3, C2  Least Concern 
Larus michahellis resident  1996  19,500 breeding pairs  A4i, B1i, C3  Not Recognised 
Common Murre Uria aalge resident  1995  1 breeding pairs  medium  C6  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds resident  1995  10,000-19,999 breeding pairs  unknown  A4iii, C4   

IBA Monitoring

2008 very high not assessed low
Medium - based upon reliable but incomplete / partially representative data

Human intrusions and disturbance recreational activities happening now some of area/population (10-49%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Pollution domestic and urban waste water happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Transportation and service corridors shipping lanes happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high

Phalacrocorax aristotelis European Shag 1500 300 breeding pairs 20 very unfavourable
Larus cachinnans 20000 20000 breeding pairs 100 favourable

Whole area of site (>90%) covered by appropriate conservation designation  No management plan exists but the management planning process has begun  Very little or no conservation action taking place  low 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Illas C Birds Directive 990 protected area contains site 467  
Islas Cíes Nature Park 433 is identical to site 433  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest Broadleaved deciduous woodland  10%
Shrubland Scrub  40%
Coastline Rock stacks and islets; Sand dunes & beaches; Sea cliffs and rocky shores  25%
Artificial - terrestrial Forestry plantations  25%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
fisheries/aquaculture -
tourism/recreation -
nature conservation and research 100%

Protection status National High International High433 ha of IBA covered by Natural Park (Islas Cíes, 433 ha). 433 ha of IBA covered by Special Protection Area (Islas Cíes, 433 ha).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Cíes islands. Downloaded from on 26/11/2014

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife