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Location Portugal, Madeiran Archipelago
Central coordinates 17o 2.00' West  32o 47.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A2, B3, C1, C2, C6
Area 15,242 ha
Altitude 0 - 1,455m
Year of IBA assessment 2002

Sociedade Portuguesa para o Estudo das Aves

Site description Extensive forest area that covers near 25% of Madeira island. Is mainly located in the northern half of the island. The majority vegetation is constituted by native forest (laurissilva) and associated species. Steep banks, deep valleys and abrupt slopes are all around the area, this and the dense vegetaton become inaccessible some places.

Key Biodiversity Columba trocaz is strongly associated to laurissilva, its main habitat. Here, we can find many other interesting species like Puffinus puffinus who breeds in some highly vegetated upstream banks, or Accipiter nisus grantii who hunts in forest's limit areas. Scolopax rusticola resides and breeds here, far away from its habitual reproduction area. Calonectris diomedea breeds sparsely in this area. Although its populations are not well known here, Bulweria bulwerii and Oceanodroma castro are frequently observed. At steepest areas several Apus unicolor colonies are found, and some Serinus canaria in openest zones. In addition to that, is important the presence of some endemic sub-species: Motacilla cinerea schmitzi, Fingilla coelebs maderiensis, Regulus ignicapillus madeirensis or Erithacus rubecula microrynchus.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Calonectris diomedea breeding  2000  frequent  C6  Not Recognised 
Bulwer's Petrel Bulweria bulwerii breeding  2000  rare  C6  Least Concern 
Eurasian Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus breeding  2002  frequent  C2, C6  Least Concern 
Madeira Laurel-pigeon Columba trocaz resident  2002  4,142-16,910 individuals  medium  A1, A2, C1, C2, C6  Least Concern 
Plain Swift Apus unicolor breeding  2002  common  A2, B3  Least Concern 
Island Canary Serinus canaria resident  2002  frequent  A2  Least Concern 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Achadas da Cruz - PTMAD0005 Habitats Directive 206 protected area overlaps with site 16  
Laurisilva da Madeira - PTMAD0001 Birds Directive 13,355 protected area overlaps with site 14,934  
Maciço Montanhoso Central da Ilha da Madeira - PTMAD0002 Habitats Directive 8,212 protected area overlaps with site 1,309  
Maciço Montanhoso Oriental da Ilha da Madeira - PTZPE0041 Birds Directive 3,390 protected area is adjacent to site 0  
Madeira Nature Park 28,000 protected area contains site 0  
Site 934 World Heritage Convention 0 protected area contains site 0  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest Broadleaved evergreen woodland; Mixed woodland; Native coniferous woodland  -
Grassland Humid grasslands  -
Wetlands (inland) Rivers and streams  -
Sea Sea inlets and coastal features  -
Caves and subterranean habitats (non-aquatic) Caves  -
Artificial - terrestrial Arable land; Forestry plantations; Perennial crops, orchards and groves  -
Introduced vegetation   -
Rocky areas Inland cliffs  -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
forestry -
hunting -
nature conservation and research -
tourism/recreation -
water management -

Protection status National Nature Park of Madeira, Special Protection Area Laurissilva (PTMAD0001)International Special Protection Area Laurissilva, UNESCO World Heritage Site (site no934)

References Bannerman & Bannerman (1989), Jones et al.(1989), Jones (1990), Câmara (1995), Hagemeijer & Blair (1997), Menezes (1997), Oliveira (1999).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2015) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Laurissilva. Downloaded from on 31/03/2015

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