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Location Portugal, Madeiran Archipelago
Central coordinates 16o 30.00' West  32o 29.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A2, A4ii, B1ii, B2, B3, C1, C2, C6
Area 1,384 ha
Altitude 0 - 442m
Year of IBA assessment 2002

Sociedade Portuguesa para o Estudo das Aves

Site description Three barren and cliffy volcanic islands, time ago joined, now separated by two little straits. From north to south: Ilhéu Chão, Deserta Grande and Bugio. The Ilhéu Chão is plain in the top and holds a diverse vegetation. Great part of Deserta Grande suffered desertification, but a valley in north area, formerly cultivated, holds now maritime Macaronesic vegetation. The Bugio is an elongated basaltic island with slopes and unstables cliffs. It's constituted by two main areas (north and south) each one with a little grass-covered plateau.

Key Biodiversity It's a extremely important place for five seabird species (Procellariidaea) who breed in Madeira. It's the only European breeding area of Pterodroma feae (Macaronesian endemic species) who breeds mainly at the south plateau of Bugio. Here we can also find important colonies of Bulweria bulwerii, Calonectris diomedea and Oceanodroma castro. Another seabird, Puffinus assimilis, breeds here in significant numbers. In all three islands also breed Sterna hirundo and Larus cachinnans, and some other Macaronesian endemic birds like Apus unicolor, Anthus berthelotii and Serinus canaria.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Pterodroma feae breeding  2002  180-250 breeding pairs  medium  A1, A4ii, B1ii, C1, C2, C6  Not Recognised 
Calonectris diomedea breeding  1994  6,000 breeding pairs  poor  A4ii, B1ii, B2, C2, C6  Not Recognised 
Puffinus assimilis resident  1994  300 breeding pairs  poor  A4ii, B1ii, B2, C2, C6  Not Recognised 
Bulwer's Petrel Bulweria bulwerii breeding  1994  1,500 breeding pairs  poor  A4ii, B1ii, B2, C2, C6  Least Concern 
Hydrobates castro resident  1994  1,000 breeding pairs  poor  A4ii, B1ii, B2, C2, C6  Not Recognised 
Plain Swift Apus unicolor breeding  2002  frequent  A2, B3  Least Concern 
Berthelot's Pipit Anthus berthelotii resident  2002  common  A2, B3  Least Concern 
Island Canary Serinus canaria resident  2002  1,000 breeding pairs  poor  A2, B3  Least Concern 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Ilhas Desertas Biogenetic Reserves 9,672 protected area contains site 1,384  
Ilhas Desertas Nature Reserve 9,672 protected area contains site 1,384  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Grassland Steppes and dry calcareous grassland  -
Coastline Sea cliffs and rocky shores  -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
fisheries/aquaculture -
forestry -
nature conservation and research -
tourism/recreation -

Protection status National: Natural Reserve of Ilhas Desertas, Special Protection Area Ilhas Desertas (PTDES0001)International: Special Protection Area Ilhas Desertas, Biogenetic Reserve of the Council of Europe.

References Bannerman & Bannerman )1963), JOuanin (1969), Zino & zino (1986), Barbosa (1992), Oliveira et al. (1993), Nunes (1994), Zino & Biscoito (1994), Zino et al. (1994, 1996), Câmara (1997), Hagemeijer &Blair (1997), Voigh & Leitner (1998), Oliveira (1999), Nounes 2000a,b), Zino et al. (2001), Fagundes (2002), Geraldes (2002)

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Ilhas Desertas. Downloaded from on 22/10/2016

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