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Location Spain, Andalucía
Central coordinates 2o 5.00' West  36o 50.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A3, A4i, B1i, B2, B3, C1, C2, C6
Area 46,100 ha
Altitude 0 - 478m
Year of IBA assessment 2000


Site description The site includes coastal mountains with dry vegetation and an area of saltpans, that supports steppe vegetation. The main human activities are arable and livestock-farming, salt production and tourism.

Key Biodiversity Breeding birds include four of the 20 species in Europe that are restricted to the Mediterranean biome (when breeding).

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus non-breeding  1996  982 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, C2  Least Concern 
Falco peregrinus resident  1993  17-20 breeding pairs  good  B2, C6  Not Recognised 
Bonelli's Eagle Aquila fasciata resident  1996  5-6 breeding pairs  good  B2  Least Concern 
Pied Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta resident  1996  193 breeding pairs  good  B3, C6  Least Concern 
Audouin's Gull Larus audouinii non-breeding  1996  350 individuals  good  A1, A4i, B1i, C1, C2  Least Concern 
Little Tern Sternula albifrons resident  1996  35 breeding pairs  good  B2, C2, C6  Least Concern 
Black-bellied Sandgrouse Pterocles orientalis resident  1996  abundant  C6  Least Concern 
Eurasian Eagle-owl Bubo bubo resident  1993  20 breeding pairs  good  C6  Least Concern 
Red-necked Nightjar Caprimulgus ruficollis resident  1996  common  A3  Least Concern 
Dupont's Lark Chersophilus duponti resident  1996  130 breeding pairs  medium  B2, C6  Near Threatened 
Spectacled Warbler Sylvia conspicillata resident  1996  abundant  A3  Least Concern 
Black Wheatear Oenanthe leucura resident  1996  abundant  A3  Least Concern 
Black-eared Wheatear Oenanthe hispanica breeding  1996  abundant  A3  Least Concern 
Trumpeter Finch Bucanetes githagineus resident  1996  50 breeding pairs  poor  B2, C2, C6  Least Concern 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Cabo de Gata - Nijar Nature Park 26,000 protected area contained by site 38,000  
Cabo de Gata-Nijar Barcelona Convention 26,000 protected area contained by site 26,000  
Cabo de Gata-Nijar UNESCO-MAB Biosphere Reserve 49,624 protected area overlaps with site 28,760  
Salinas del Cabo de Gata Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 300 protected area contained by site 300  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Shrubland Sclerophyllous scrub, garrigue and maquis; Scrub  26%
Grassland Steppes and dry calcareous grassland  26%
Desert Semidesert  26%
Wetlands (inland) Sand dunes and beaches; Standing brackish and salt water  -
Coastline Rock stacks and islets; Sand dunes & beaches; Sea cliffs and rocky shores  -
Rocky areas Inland cliffs; Scree & boulders  -

Land use

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

Protection status National Partial International Partial38,000 ha of IBA covered by Natural Park (Cabo de Gata-Nijar, 38,000 ha). 300 ha of IBA covered by Ramsar Site (Salinas del Cabo de Gata, 300 ha). 30,000 ha of IBA covered by Special Protection Area (Cabo de Gata-Níjar, 30,000 ha).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Mountain range and saltpans at Cabo de Gata. Downloaded from on 24/10/2016

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