|Location||Panama, Coclé,Herrera,Los Santos|
|Central coordinates||80o 28.00' West 8o 8.00' North|
|IBA criteria||A4i, A4iii|
|Altitude||0 - 10m|
|Year of IBA assessment||2007|
Ornithological information Parita Bay is the second most important site for migratory shorebirds in Panama after the Upper Bay of Panama. The maximum one day count was 14,010 in October 1991, of which 10,676 were small shorebirds (Morrison et al. 1998). If turnover is taken into account, an estimated 39,000 small shorebirds pass through on autumn migration. Nationally, the area is particularly important for Short-billed Dowitcher, with 62.0% of the total in January 1993. Other significant species, with percent of national totals in January 1993, include Willet (6.4%) and Whimbrel (7.4%); (Morrison et al. 1998). The area is the only known breeding site for Black-necked Stilt in Panama. There are important heron and wader nesting colonies at El Rosario, Cenegón del Mangle, and the Chitré area. Several nationally threatened species occur, including Aplomado and Peregrine Falcons and the endemic Panama races of White-winged Dove and Common Ground-Dove.
Site description This IBA includes approximately 15,000 ha of tidal mudflats in the Bay of Parita, from just south of Antón, Coclé, in the northeast to the La Villa River near Chitré, Herrera in the southwest. In some places the mudflats extend as much as six km offshore. It also includes adjacent on-shore areas, including mangroves near the mouth of the Río Grande Mangroves, wetlands near Aguadulce and Chitré, and three protected areas, the Cenegón del Mangle Wildlife Refuge, Sarigua National Park, and the Peñón de Honda Wildlife Refuge. Major rivers entering the bay include the Hondo, Grande, Pocrí, Santa María, Parita and La Villa.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Short-billed Dowitcher Limnodromus griseus||winter||1993||2,256 individuals||medium||A4i||Least Concern|
|Semipalmated Sandpiper Calidris pusilla||winter||1991||5,000 individuals||poor||Near Threatened|
|Western Sandpiper Calidris mauri||winter||1991||33,000 individuals||poor||A4i||Least Concern|
|A4iii Species group - waterbirds||winter||1991||-||medium||A4iii|
|Protected area||Designation||Area (ha)||Relationship with IBA||Overlap with IBA (ha)|
|Cenegón del Mangle||Wildlife Refuge||843||protected area contained by site||1,000|
|Peñón de La Honda||Wildlife Refuge||3,900||protected area overlaps with site||405|
|Sarigua||National Park||4,670||protected area overlaps with site||4,000|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Artificial landscapes (terrestrial)||major|
|Artificial landscapes (aquatic)||major|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
|nature conservation and research||major|
Other biodiversity American Crocodile occurs (Delgado 1985). Neotropical River Otter may also occur.
Management considerations The mangroves are threatened by extraction for wood, tannin, and charcoal, and by conversion to shrimp ponds. Much of the former freshwater wetlands of the area has been converted to rice. Although mangroves are considered state property and protected by law, there is little enforcement. Illegal hunting is a threat to gamebirds such as ducks. Pesticides and other agricultural chemicals used in agricultural areas could be detrimental to birds. Local residents have protested to ANAM and other agencies over crop-dusting too close to habitations. In 1999 a local rice farmer deliberately poisoned at least 1,000 ducks by spreading poisoned rice to protect his crop. Garbage has been dumped into or adjacent to wetlands in some areas.
Protection status Sarigua National Park was declared in 1984, and has four park guards assigned to it. Cenegón del Mangle was declared a wildlife refuge by the local municipality in 1980. An observation tower and nature trail have been constructed with support fromFundación Natura. Peñón de la Honda Island was declared a wildlife refuge by the local municipality in 1982, and the adjacent mainland area was added in 1985. However, no park guards are assigned to it.
Conservation response Ongoing studies have been carried out by Francisco Delgado at the Alexander von Humboldt Biological Station near Chitré for many years.
References Angehr, George R. 2003. Directorio de areas importantes para aves en Panama. Directory of important bird areas in Panama. Panama: Sociedad Audubon de Panama. Delgado, Francisco. 1985. Panama. in: Scott, Derek A. and Montserrat Carbonell (compilers). A Directory of Neotropical Wetlands, IUCN, Cambridge, U.K., pp. 420-438. Morrison, R. I. G., R. W. Butler, E. S. Delgado, and R. K. Ross. 1998. Atlas of Nearctic shorebirds and other waterbirds on the coast of Panama. Canadian Wildlife Service, Ottawa. Ridgely, Robert S., and John A. Gwynne. 1989. A Guide to the Birds of Panama (Second Edition). Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey. Wetmore, Alexander. 1965. The Birds of the Republic of Panama. Part 1. Tinamidae (Tinamous) to Rhynchopidae (Skimmers). Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C. Wetmore, Alexander. 1968. The Birds of the Republic of Panama. Part 2. Columbidae (Pigeons) to Picidae (Woodpeckers). Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C. Wetmore, Alexander. 1973. The Birds of the Republic of Panama. Part 3. Passeriformes: Dendrocolaptidae (Woodcreepers) to Oxyruncidae (Sharpbill). Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C. Wetmore, Alexander, Roger F. Pasquier, and Storrs L. Olson. 1984. The Birds of the Republic of Panama. Part 4. Passeriformes: Hirundinidae (Swallows) to Fringillidae (Finches). Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2013) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Parita Bay. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 22/05/2013
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