email a friend
printable version
Location Cuba, Villa Clara
Central coordinates 79o 17.29' West  22o 39.39' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i, B4i
Area 284,091 ha
Altitude 0 - 16m
Year of IBA assessment 2008

Centro Nacional de Areas Protegidas (Affiliate)

Site description Cayería Centro-Oriental de Villa Clara IBA is located in the Sabana-Camagüey Archipelago, and represents a group of cays off the north coast of Villa Clara province. The IBA embraces several cays including Cobos, Francés, Las Brujas, Ensenachos, Fragoso, and Santa María. These are flat cays, with diverse natural features including coastal evergreen forest, coastal scrub, mangroves, coral reefs, and sandy beaches. The towns of Caibarién, Camajuaní, and Encrucijada are close to but outside of the IBA.

Key Biodiversity This IBA supports globally significant breeding colonies of Laughing Gull Larus atricilla, Royal Tern Sterna maxima, Sandwich Tern S. sandvicensis, Common Tern S. hirundo and Least Tern S. antillarum. The area is a wintering site for the Near Threatened Piping Plover Charadrius melodus and there are also unconfirmed reports of Brown Noddy Anous stolidus breeding. A wide diversity of waterbirds use this area including the Vulnerable West Indian Whistling-duck Dendrocygna arborea.

Non-bird biodiversity: The Critically Endangered eared hutia Mesocapromys auritus is endemic to Cayo Fragoso. The lizard Anolis pigmaequestris is endemic to Cayo Francés. The most diverse coral reef of the Sabana-Camagüey Archipelago is within the IBA. Of the 248 plant species present, 29 are endemic.

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  100 individuals  poor  A1, A4i  Vulnerable 
Piping Plover Charadrius melodus winter  2004  unknown  A1, A4i  Near Threatened 
Laughing Gull Larus atricilla resident  2007  1,000 individuals  poor  A4i  Least Concern 
Royal Tern Thalasseus maximus resident  2007  100 individuals  poor  B4i  Least Concern 
Sandwich Tern Thalasseus sandvicensis resident  2007  96 individuals  poor  B4i  Least Concern 
Common Tern Sterna hirundo breeding  2007  86 individuals  poor  A4i  Least Concern 
Least Tern Sternula antillarum breeding  2007  162 individuals  poor  B4i  Least Concern 
White-crowned Pigeon Patagioenas leucocephala resident  2004  300 individuals  poor  A1  Near Threatened 
Painted Bunting Passerina ciris winter  2004  unknown  A1  Near Threatened 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Buenavista UNESCO-MAB Biosphere Reserve 313,500 protected area overlaps with site 0  
Cayo Francés Ecological Reserve 6,181 protected area overlaps with site 0  
Lanzanillo Pajonal Fragoso Wildlife Refuge 87,071 protected area contained by site 87,071  
Las Loras Wildlife Refuge 6,378 protected area contained by site 0  
Santa Maria - Los Caimanes National Park 28,831 protected area overlaps with site 0  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest Mangrove  15%
Wetlands (inland) Intertidal mud, sand or salt flats  5%
Sea Shallow marine areas, coral reefs and keys  80%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
fisheries/aquaculture 80%
forestry -
nature conservation and research 40%
tourism/recreation -

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 (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Cayería Centro - Oriental de Villa Clara. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016

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