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Location Cuba, Villa Clara
Central coordinates 80o 12.79' West  23o 2.74' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i, A4iii
Area 56,290 ha
Altitude 0 - 5m
Year of IBA assessment 2008

Centro Nacional de Areas Protegidas (Affiliate)



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.

Key Biodiversity 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.

Non-bird 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.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
West Indian Whistling-duck Dendrocygna arborea resident  2007  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  unknown  A1  Near Threatened 
Painted Bunting Passerina ciris winter  2007  unknown  A1  Near Threatened 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds resident  2007  20,000-49,999 unknown  unknown  A4iii   

Protected areas

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  

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest Mangrove  25%
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%
Caves and subterranean habitats (non-aquatic)   -

Land use

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

Acknowledgements Authors: MARÍA MORALES, VICENTE BEROVIDES, SUSANA AGUILAR

Further web sources of information 

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

Contribute  Please click here to help BirdLife conserve the world's birds - your data for this IBA and others are vital for helping protect the environment.

Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Las Picuas - Del Cristo Cay. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 28/11/2014

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