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Location Gibraltar (to UK), Gibraltar
Central coordinates 5o 20.00' West  36o 4.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i, A4ii, A4iii, B1i, B1ii, C1, C2, C3, C4
Area 17,000 ha
Year of IBA assessment 2007

Gibraltar Ornithological and Natural History Society

Site description The Strait of Gibraltar is defined here as the sea area demarcated in the west by a straight line joining Cape Trafalgar on the European coast with Cape Spartel on the North African coast, and in the east by a straight line joining the Rock of Gibraltar on the European coast to Ceuta (enclave of Spain) on the North African coast. It includes international waters and waters under the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom, Spain and Morocco, and is 15 km wide at its narrowest point.

Key Biodiversity Hundreds of thousands of birds that migrate between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic over the sea pass through the Strait of Gibraltar, including highly significant numbers of Calonectris diomedea, Larus audouinii and Fratercula arctica.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Calonectris diomedea passage  10,000-100,000 individuals  A4ii, B1ii, C2  Not Recognised 
Balearic Shearwater Puffinus mauretanicus passage  1,001-10,000 individuals  A1, A4ii, B1ii, C1, C2  Critically Endangered 
Audouin's Gull Larus audouinii passage  1,001-10,000 individuals  A1, A4i, B1i, C1, C2  Least Concern 
Audouin's Gull Larus audouinii winter  51-100 individuals  A1, C1  Least Concern 
Larus cachinnans breeding  12,000 breeding pairs  A4i, B1i, C3  Not Recognised 
Larus cachinnans winter  1,001-10,000 individuals  A4i, B1i, C3  Not Recognised 
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus passage  1,001-10,000 individuals  A4i, B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Razorbill Alca torda passage  1,001-10,000 individuals  A4ii, B1ii, C3  Near Threatened 
Atlantic Puffin Fratercula arctica passage  1,001-10,000 individuals  B1ii, C3  Vulnerable 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds breeding  20,000-49,999 individuals  unknown  A4iii, C4   
A4iii Species group - seabirds passage  50,000-99,999 individuals  unknown  A4iii, C4   


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Sea Open Sea; Sea inlets and coastal features  100%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
urban/industrial/transport -
tourism/recreation -
fisheries/aquaculture -

Protection status National Partial International None4,900 ha of IBA covered by Marine Reserve (4,900 ha).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Strait of Gibraltar. Downloaded from on 29/10/2016

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