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Location Panama, Coclé,Herrera,Los Santos
Central coordinates 80o 28.00' West  8o 8.00' North
IBA criteria A4i, A4iii
Area 45,740 ha
Altitude 0 - 10m
Year of IBA assessment 2007

Sociedad Audubon de Panamá

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.

Key Biodiversity 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.

Non-bird biodiversity: American Crocodile occurs (Delgado 1985). Neotropical River Otter may also occur.

Populations of IBA trigger species

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 
Western Sandpiper Calidris mauri winter  1991  33,000 individuals  poor  A4i  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds winter  1991  20,000-49,999 individuals  medium  A4iii   

Protected areas

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 - terrestrial   major
Coastline   major
Shrubland   minor
Forest Mangrove  major
Artificial - aquatic   major

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
fisheries/aquaculture major
agriculture major
nature conservation and research major
rangeland/pastureland major

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.

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 (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Parita Bay. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016

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