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Location France, Languedoc-Roussillon
Central coordinates 3o 0.00' East  42o 53.00' North
IBA criteria A4i, A4iv, B1i, B1iv, B2, C2, C3, C5, C6
Area 218,160 ha
Altitude 0 - 69m
Year of IBA assessment 2000

Ligue Pour La Protection des Oiseaux

Site description A complex of coastal habitats, including saltmarshes and lagoons.

Key Biodiversity The site is very important for breeding and wintering wetland birds and passage raptors and passerines. The site is a major migratory bottleneck, where 20,000 or more raptors regularly pass (including Pernis apivorus 15,000; Milvus migrans 3,000). Species of global conservation concern that do not meet IBA criteria: Larus audouinii (passage).

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus winter  1997  529-805 individuals  A4i, B1i, C2  Least Concern 
Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus passage  1997  500-1,500 individuals  A4i, B1i, C2  Least Concern 
Western Marsh-harrier Circus aeruginosus breeding  1997  10-15 breeding pairs  C6  Least Concern 
Pied Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta breeding  1997  50-60 breeding pairs  C6  Least Concern 
Charadrius alexandrinus breeding  1997  100-180 breeding pairs  B2  Not Recognised 
Larus cachinnans winter  1997  5,615-8,700 individuals  A4i, B1i, C3  Not Recognised 
Larus cachinnans breeding  1997  4,000 breeding pairs  A4i, B1i, C3  Not Recognised 
Slender-billed Gull Larus genei breeding  1997  50-100 breeding pairs  C2  Least Concern 
Little Tern Sternula albifrons breeding  1997  50-100 breeding pairs  C6  Least Concern 
Greater Short-toed Lark Calandrella brachydactyla breeding  1997  50-250 breeding pairs  C6  Least Concern 
Moustached Warbler Acrocephalus melanopogon breeding  1997  50-250 breeding pairs  C2, C6  Least Concern 
A4iv Species group - soaring birds/cranes passage  1991  min 20,000 individuals  A4iv, B1iv, C5   

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
La Rigole Hunting Reserve 43 protected area contained by site 43  
Salses-Leucate Hunting Reserve 1,250 protected area contained by site 1,250  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest Alluvial and very wet forest; Broadleaved evergreen woodland; Native coniferous woodland  -
Shrubland Sclerophyllous scrub, garrigue and maquis  -
Grassland Steppes and dry calcareous grassland  -
Wetlands (inland) Fens, transition mires and springs; Rivers and streams; Standing brackish and salt water; Tidal rivers and enclosed tidal waters; Water fringe vegetation  -
Coastline Lagoons; Mud flats & sand flats; Rock stacks and islets; Salt marshes; Sand dunes & beaches; Sea cliffs and rocky shores  -
Artificial - terrestrial Arable land; Highly improved re-seeded landscapes; Perennial crops, orchards and groves; Ruderal land; Urban parks and gardens  -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
fisheries/aquaculture -
hunting -
tourism/recreation -
urban/industrial/transport -

Protection status National Low International None1,293 ha of IBA covered by 2 Hunting Reserves (Salses-Leucate, 1,250 ha; La Rigole; total area 1,293 ha).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Etangs de Leucate et Lapalme. Downloaded from on 22/10/2016

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