|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|
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.
|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 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%|
|Caves and subterranean habitats (non-aquatic)||-|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
|nature conservation and research||-|
Acknowledgements Authors: MARÍA MORALES, VICENTE BEROVIDES, SUSANA AGUILAR
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2015) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Las Picuas - Del Cristo Cay. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 04/10/2015
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