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Location Panama, Herrera
Central coordinates 82o 39.00' West  8o 7.00' North
IBA criteria A4i
Area 7,500 ha
Altitude 0 - 15m
Year of IBA assessment 2007

Sociedad Audubon de Panamá

Site description This site includes the Las Macanas Multiple-Use Area and surrounding agricultural areas. Las Macanas contains a small lake and associated marshes near the Santa María River between the towns of El Rincón and Paris.

Key Biodiversity The area contains the only known nesting site for Glossy Ibis in Panama. With at least 450 individuals in the area, the site exceeds 1% of the regional population. The nesting site, which is also used by herons and other aquatic birds, is at the Ciénaga del Rey, on private property near the town of Santa María. The area also contains several nationally threatened species, including various ducks, Aplomado Falcon, and the endemic Panama race of Common Ground-Dove. It is the only known breeding site in Panama for Fulvous Whistling-Duck and Killdeer (F. Delgado unpublished data).

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

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus breeding  2005  250-999 individuals  poor  A4i  Least Concern 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Ciénega de las Macanas Designation Not Known 2,000 protected area contained by site 2,000  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Artificial - terrestrial   major
Wetlands (inland)   major
Grassland   minor
Forest Mangrove  -

Land use

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

Protection status The Las Macanas Multiple Use Area was established in 1996. Two park guards are assigned to the area. This protection category places few restrictions on use of the area beyond those on forest clearing and hunting that are applicable nationally. Crop dusting is prohibited andthe use of water for irrigation is regulated, but fishing and cultivation of areas that lack forest are permitted. Recently an observation tower and other facilities have been constructed to serve tourists visiting the area.

Related state of the world's birds case studies

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. Angehr, George R. and James A. Kushlan. Seabird and colonial wadingbird nesting in the Gulf of Panama. Submitted to Waterbirds. Delgado, Francisco. 1985. Panama. in: Scott, Derek A. and Montserrat Carbonell (compilers). A Directory of Neotropical Wetlands, IUCN, Cambridge, U.K., pp. 420-438.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Santa María Wetlands. Downloaded from on 27/10/2016

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