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Location Portugal, Azores
Central coordinates 25o 6.00' West  36o 58.55' North
IBA criteria A4ii, B1ii, C2
Area 38,600 ha
Year of IBA assessment 2008

Sociedade Portuguesa para o Estudo das Aves

Site description Santa Maria is the most easterly island in the Azores and has a 75km long coastline. The proposed IBA is 386 km2 in size and covers the coastal waters surrounding the whole island, to a maximum distance of 10km and including the marine areas adjacent to terrestrial IBAs PT068, PT069 and PT070. Nationally, this is one of the IBAs where breed the largest number of species qualifying for marine IBA classification, which shows how important it is. The Common Tern, with around 620 pairs, breeds and uses the IBA almost exclusively. TheVila islet and Adjacent Coast SPA, which is inside the IBA, has colonies of Roseate Tern, Common Tern, Yellow-legged Gull, Little Shearwater, Bulwer's Petrel, Madeiran Storm-petrel and Cory's Shearwater. In fact, the only breeding colony of Bulwer's Petrel known in the Azores is here, with a population of around 50 pairs.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Calonectris diomedea breeding  1996-2001  15,999 individuals  poor  A4ii, B1ii, C2  Not Recognised 
Puffinus assimilis breeding  1999  125-200 breeding pairs  poor  B1ii, C2  Not Recognised 
Band-rumped Storm-petrel Hydrobates castro breeding  1999  220-245 breeding pairs  good  B1ii, C2  Least Concern 
Roseate Tern Sterna dougallii breeding  2004-2008  92-390 breeding pairs  good  B1ii, C2  Least Concern 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Ilha Santa Maria Natural Park 0 protected area contained by site 0  
Ilhéu da Vila e Costa Adjacente - Ilha de St Birds Directive 48 protected area is adjacent to site 0  
Ponta do Castelo - Ilha de Sta. Maria - PTSMA0022 Habitats Directive 320 protected area overlaps with site 0  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Sea Sea inlets and coastal features  100%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
military -
tourism/recreation -
fisheries/aquaculture -
nature conservation and research 24%
Notes: Ponta do Csstelo SCI (PTSMA0022); Santa Maria Natural Park; Full Reserve Area for Gathering Limpets;

Protection status Ponta do Csstelo SCI (PTSMA0022) Resolution 30/98 of 5th February ratified by Declaration 12/98 of 7th May - 1% coincides with the IBA. Santa Maria Natural Park; Decreto Legislativo Regional n.º 47/2008/A 7th of November - 12% coincides with IBA. Full Reserve Area for Gathering Limpets; Regional Regulation Decree nº 14/93/A of 31st July - 24% coincides with the IBA.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Santa Maria. Downloaded from on 30/08/2014

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