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Location Guatemala, Retalhuleu,San Marcos
Central coordinates 92o 4.95' West  14o 27.51' North
IBA criteria A4i
Area 20,659 ha
Altitude 0 - 20m
Year of IBA assessment 2007

Summary Manchon-Guamuchal is an important wetland on the Guatemalan Pacific coast, it supports more than 1% of the world population of American White Pelican.

Site description Manchon-Guamuchal is the largest mangrove area on the Guatemalan Pacific coast, located near the border to Chiapas, Mexico.

Key Biodiversity Based on a continental population estimate (Wetlands International 2006) and local estimates (Eisermann 2006), it is assumed that Manchon-Guamuchal supports more than 1% of the population of American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos). Although not of global importance, the site supports large numbers of resident and migrating waterbirds (Sigüenza 1995, 2007).

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
American White Pelican Pelecanus erythrorhynchos winter  2006  2,000 individuals  poor  A4i  Least Concern 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
La Chorrera - Manchón Guamuchal Private Natural Reserve 1,243 protected area contained by site 0  
Manchón-Guamuchal Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 13,500 protected area contained by site 0  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Coastline Estuarine waters; Lagoons; Salt & brackish marshes; Sand dunes & beaches  25%
Artificial - terrestrial Forestry & agro-industrial plantations; Improved pasture land; Perennial crops, orchards & groves  16%
Forest Mangrove  32%
Grassland Low, seasonally wet; Second-growth & grazed  19%
Shrubland Second-growth & disturbed scrub  3%
Artificial - aquatic Salt pans & salinas  5%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture 11%
fisheries/aquaculture 10%
hunting major
military minor
nature conservation and research 6%
not utilised minor
rangeland/pastureland minor
tourism/recreation minor
urban/industrial/transport 1%
water management minor

Protection status Currently about 6% of the IBA is legally protected as private protected area (CONAP 2007). The site has been designated an important wetland under the Ramsar convention in 1995.

Acknowledgements The Museum of Natural History Jorge Ibarra, hosted a workshop in Guatemala City in June 2006. This first assessment of IBAs in Guatemala was conducted by Sociedad Guatemalteca de Ornitología and BirdLife International in the Americas.


CONAP. 2007. Lista de áreas protegidas inscritas en el SIGAP. Consejo Nacional de Áreas Protegidas (CONAP), Guatemala. (Database accessed in June 2007)

Eisermann, K. 2006. Evaluation of waterbird populations and their conservation in Guatemala. Final report. Sociedad Guatemalteca de Ornitología, Guatemala. Online at:

López, J. E., L. Gaitán, M. Díaz & M. J. González. 1993. Information sheet on Ramsar wetlands, Manchón-Guamuchal. FIIT, Guatemala.

MAGA. 2006. Mapa de cobertura vegetal y uso de la tierra a escala 1:50,000 de la República de Guatemala, Año 2003 (Incluye 5 cultivos perennes actualizados al año 2005). Memoria técnica y descripción de resultados. Ministerio de Agricultura Ganadería y Alimentación –MAGA– / Unidad de Planificación Geográfica y Gestión de Riesgo –UPGGR–, Guatemala Ciudad, Guatemala.

Schaeffer Novelli, Y. 2003. Humedales de Importancia Internacional, en una Encrucijada – Conservar o Conservar: El Caso de Manchón-Guamuchal. Informe Técnico, Imágenes, Consideraciones y Reflexiones. Universidad de Sao Paolo-Instituto Oceanográfico Laboratorio BIOMA-Bioecología de Manglares, Sao Paulo, Brasil.

Sigüenza, R. 1995. Evaluación de fluctuaciones poblacionales de aves en Manchón-Guamuchal, San Marcos-Retalhuleu, Guatemala. Tesis de Licenciatura, Univ. San Carlos, Guatemala.

Sigüenza, R. 2007. Informe de conteos de Anátidas en Guatemala, temporada 2006-2007. Fundación Defensores de la Naturaleza, Guatemala. Unpublished report to Ducks Unlimited.

Wetlands International. 2006. Waterbird population estimates. 4th edition. Wetlands International, Wageningen, The Netherlands.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Manchon-Guamuchal. Downloaded from on 23/10/2016

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