|Location||Cuba, Villa Clara|
|Central coordinates||80o 12.79' West 23o 2.74' North|
|IBA criteria||A1, A4i, A4iii|
|Altitude||0 - 5m|
|Year of IBA assessment||2008|
Ornithological information This IBA supports globally significant breeding colonies of Caribbean Flamingo Phoenicopterus ruber, Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus and the Vulnerable West Indian Whistling-duck Dendrocygna arborea. It represents an important waterbird site with 46 species nesting including herons, ibises, spoonbills, cormorants, and pelicans. More than 17 waterbird species roost communally on several of cays and islets. The Near Threatened White-crowned Pigeon Patagioenas leucocephala breeds in the IBA.
Site description Las Picuas-Cayo Del Cristo IBA is located in the Sabana- Camagüey Archipelago, a group of cays off the north-east coast of Villa Clara province. The IBA extends from Cayo Blanquizal to Cayo Cristo. These cays and islets are characterised by a muddy-sandy substrate, and are dominated by mangrove forests and dunes with associated shrubby vegetation. The administrative centre of the IBA is in the coastal town of Carahatas, with around 666 residents who mostly work in fishing through a state fisheries cooperative, but also in agriculture and cattle farming.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|West Indian Whistling-duck Dendrocygna arborea||resident||2007||present [units unknown]||-||A1||Vulnerable|
|American Flamingo Phoenicopterus ruber||resident||2004||8,400 individuals||poor||A4i||Least Concern|
|Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus||resident||2004||3,412 individuals||poor||A4i||Least Concern|
|White-crowned Pigeon Patagioenas leucocephala||resident||2007||present [units unknown]||-||A1||Near Threatened|
|Painted Bunting Passerina ciris||winter||2007||present [units unknown]||-||A1||Near Threatened|
|A4iii Species group - waterbirds||resident||2007||present unknown||unknown||A4iii|
|Protected area||Designation||Area (ha)||Relationship with IBA||Overlap with IBA (ha)|
|Las Picúas - Cayo del Cristo||Wildlife Refuge||55,972||is identical to site||0|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Wetlands (inland)||Coastal lagoons; Freshwater marshes/swamps; Intertidal mud, sand or salt flats; Shingle or stony beaches||50%|
|Sea||Shallow marine areas, coral reefs and keys||72%|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
|nature conservation and research||-|
Other biodiversity Marine life includes the Vulnerable West Indian manatee Trichechus manatus and globally threatened sea-turtles. The Vulnerable Cuban ground iguana Cyclura nubila occurs on more than 20 cays. Two plants are Cuban endemics, one of which is the Endangered Pilosocereus robinii.
Management considerations Las Picuas-Cayo del Cristo IBA was approved as a wildlife refuge in 2001 and is currently managed by the Empresa para la Protección de la Flora y la Fauna (ENPFF). The most important threat facing this IBA is overfishing and excessive use of trawl nets. More than 15 trawlers operate year-round; an activity which is unregulated by local fishing authorities and significantly disturbs marine habitats and fauna. Illegal hunting of manatees occurs year-round and of sea-turtles during the nesting season. The queen conch Strombus gigas is also unsustainably harvested and used as bait. Other threats include dumping of construction waste, oil and lubricant spills from boats, exotic flora, hurricanes and other natural phenomena, as well as the cutting of Coccotrinax litoralis and Eugenia spp. to make fishing tools.
Acknowledgements Authors: MARÍA MORALES, VICENTE BEROVIDES, SUSANA AGUILAR
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2013) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Las Picuas-Del Cristo Cay. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 22/05/2013
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