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Location Spain, País Vasco
Central coordinates 2o 41.00' West  43o 22.00' North
IBA criteria B1i, C2, C6
Area 4,000 ha
Altitude 0 - 50m
Year of IBA assessment 2000


Site description A deep estuary with some remnant brackish marshes, extensive mudflats and sandbanks. There is a small rocky islet at the mouth of the estuary and a large coastal cliff in the west of the area.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
European Storm-petrel Hydrobates pelagicus breeding  1996  200 breeding pairs  poor  C6  Least Concern 
Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia passage  1996  120 individuals  medium  B1i, C2  Least Concern 
Falco peregrinus resident  1996  7-8 breeding pairs  good  C6  Not Recognised 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Astondoko Dunak / Dunas de Astondo - ES2130004 Habitats Directive 5 protected area contained by site 5  
Gaztelugatxeko Doniene / San Juan de Gaztelugatxe - ES2130005 Habitats Directive 158 protected area contained by site 158  
Ria de Mundaka-Guernika Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 945 protected area contained by site 945  
Urdaibai UNESCO-MAB Biosphere Reserve 21,992 protected area contains site 4,000  
Urdaibaiko Artadi Kantauriarrak / Encinares Cantábricos de Urdaibai - ES2130008 Habitats Directive 1,583 protected area overlaps with site 52  
Urdaibaiko Ibai Sarea / Red fluvial de Urdaibai - ES2130006 Habitats Directive 1,328 protected area is adjacent to site 0  
Urdaibaiko Itsasadarra / R Birds Directive 3,242 protected area contained by site 3,242  
Urdaibaiko Itsasertzak eta Padurak / Zonas litorales y Marismas de Urdaibai - ES2130007 Habitats Directive 1,010 protected area contained by site 1,010  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Coastline Tidal rivers & enclosed tidal waters  90%
Sea Sea inlets and coastal features  10%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture 10%
nature conservation and research 90%
fisheries/aquaculture 25%

Protection status National None International Partial945 ha of IBA covered by Ramsar Site (Ría de Mundaka-Guernika, 945 ha). 1,020 ha of IBA covered by Biosphere Reserve (Urdaibai, 23,000 ha). 1,020 ha of IBA covered by Special Protection Area (Urdaibai, 23,000 ha).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Urdaibai - Matxitxako. Downloaded from on 25/10/2014

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