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Location Spain, Melilla
Central coordinates 2o 26.00' West  35o 11.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i, A4iii, B1i, B1ii, B2, C1, C2, C3, C4, C6
Area 27,110 ha
Altitude 0 - 137m
Year of IBA assessment 2000


Site description Three small islands close to the north-east coast of Morocco, dominated by scrub. The central island is occupied by a small army detachment, the other two are uninhabited.

Key Biodiversity This is an important site for breeding seabirds, including the world's second largest Larus audouinii colony.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Calonectris diomedea breeding  1996  1,000 breeding pairs  poor  B1ii, B2, C2, C6  Not Recognised 
Audouin's Gull Larus audouinii resident  1997  2,698 breeding pairs  good  A1, A4i, B1i, B2, C1, C2, C6  Least Concern 
Larus cachinnans resident  1997  3,500 breeding pairs  good  A4i, B1i, C3  Not Recognised 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds resident  1997  20,000 individuals  unknown  A4iii, C4   

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Islas Chafarinas National Hunting Refuge 51 protected area contained by site 50  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Shrubland Sclerophyllous scrub, garrigue and maquis  -
Coastline Rock stacks and islets; Sea cliffs and rocky shores  100%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
military 30%
nature conservation and research 100%

Protection status National High International High50 ha of IBA covered by National Game Reserve (Islas Chafarinas, 50 ha). 50 ha of IBA covered by Special Protection Area (Islas Chafarinas, 50 ha).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Chafarinas Islands. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016

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