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Location Cuba, Sancti Spiritus
Central coordinates 79o 13.15' West  21o 37.36' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i, A4iii
Area 82,377 ha
Altitude 0 - 5m
Year of IBA assessment 2008

Centro Nacional de Areas Protegidas (Affiliate)

Site description Humedal del Sur de Sancti Spiritus IBA is a wetland and coastal area between Las Nuevas, Mapo and Tunas de Zaza, on the south coast in Sancti Spiritus province. It comprises a group of natural coastal wetlands, rice paddies, and pastures for livestock farming. The rice paddies act as seasonal wetland ecosystems, with El Jíbaro being the most important in the country and a critical site for congregatory waterbirds. To the south the IBA is bordered with a fringe of mangrove forests and coastal wetlands including the El Basto and La Limeta lagoons. Access to this area is facilitated by the rice paddy embankments, although the lagoons can be reached by land. The rice paddies are managed by the Sur del Jíbaro Agroindustrial Complex.

Key Biodiversity This IBA is notable for resident and migratory waterbirds, with congregations of migratory shorebirds exceeding 10,000 individuals, and over 20,000 Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus observed on occasions. The migratory Blue-winged Teal Anas discors is particularly abundant (>100,000 individuals) in the coastal lagoons. Up to 100 Vulnerable West Indian Whistling-duck Dendrocygna arborea use the remote coastal wetlands as diurnal resting areas and the rice paddies as nocturnal feeding sites.

Non-bird biodiversity: The endemic hutia Capromys pilorides is present in the mangrove area, as are various endemic reptiles belonging to the genera Anolis and Epicrates.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Northern Bobwhite Colinus virginianus resident  2007  unknown  A1  Near Threatened 
West Indian Whistling-duck Dendrocygna arborea resident  1989  100 individuals  poor  A1, A4i  Vulnerable 
Blue-winged Teal Spatula discors winter  2000  120,000 individuals  poor  A4i  Least Concern 
White Ibis Eudocimus albus resident  2007  1,000 individuals  poor  A4i  Least Concern 
Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus resident  2007  20,000 individuals  poor  A4i  Least Concern 
Lesser Yellowlegs Tringa flavipes winter  2000  5,000 individuals  poor  A4i  Least Concern 
Short-billed Dowitcher Limnodromus griseus resident  2007  5,000 individuals  poor  A4i  Least Concern 
Least Sandpiper Calidris minutilla winter  2000  10,000 individuals  poor  A4i  Least Concern 
Sterna nilotica breeding  2007  500 individuals  poor  A4i  Not Recognised 
Laughing Gull Larus atricilla resident  2007  1,000 individuals  poor  A4i  Least Concern 
White-crowned Pigeon Patagioenas leucocephala resident  2007  unknown  A1  Near Threatened 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds winter  2007  100,000-499,999 unknown  unknown  A4iii   

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Tunas de Zaza Wildlife Refuge 6,044 protected area contained by site 0  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest Gallery (or Riparian) forest; Mangrove; Palm forest  22%
Grassland Second-growth or grazed grasslands  32%
Wetlands (inland) Coastal lagoons; Estuarine waters; Freshwater marshes/swamps; Intertidal mud, sand or salt flats; Rivers  10%
Artificial - terrestrial Abandoned or fallow farmland, disturbed ground; Rice paddies  44%
Introduced vegetation   -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture 70%
tourism/recreation 5%
hunting 10%


Further web sources of information 

Site profile from Important Bird Areas in the Caribbean: key sites for conservation (BirdLife International 2008)

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Humedal Sur de Sancti Spiritus. Downloaded from on 27/10/2016

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