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Location Italy, Sicilia
Central coordinates 15o 6.00' East  37o 24.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i, A4iii, B1i, B2, C1, C2, C3, C6
Area 5,107 ha
Altitude 0 - 100m
Year of IBA assessment 2000

Lega Italiana Protezione Uccelli

Site description A complex of wetlands along the south-east coast of Sicily, around the town of Catania, and including the following sites: Biviere di Lentini, a freshwater reservoir; Foce del Simeto, a river-mouth; Traversa di Ponte Barca, a stretch of the Simeto river. There are large reedbeds at Biviere di Lentini. The main land-uses are water-resource management at Biviere di Lentini (for domestic water-supply), and nature conservation at Foce del Simeto. The surrounding areas are largely agricultural.

Key Biodiversity A very important site for waterbirds while breeding (especially Aythya nyroca and herons), migrating (e.g. Plegadis falcinellus, Platalea leucorodia) and wintering. The site holds more than 20,000 waterbirds on a regular basis, with Larus ridibundus especially common in winter.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca breeding  1997  15-20 breeding pairs  good  A1, C1  Near Threatened 
Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca passage  1998  280-550 individuals  good  A1, B1i, C1, C2  Near Threatened 
Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca winter  1995  67 individuals  good  A1, C1  Near Threatened 
Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus passage  1997  200-300 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, C2  Least Concern 
Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia passage  1997  100-350 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, C2  Least Concern 
Ixobrychus minutus breeding  1998  80-100 breeding pairs  medium  B2, C2, C6  Not Recognised 
Black-crowned Night-heron Nycticorax nycticorax breeding  1997  50 breeding pairs  medium  C6  Least Concern 
Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides breeding  1992  10-15 breeding pairs  good  C2, C6  Least Concern 
Purple Heron Ardea purpurea breeding  1997  15-20 breeding pairs  good  B2, C6  Least Concern 
Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo winter  1996  500-4,000 individuals  good  B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Charadrius alexandrinus breeding  1997  13-18 breeding pairs  good  B2  Not Recognised 
Slender-billed Curlew Numenius tenuirostris passage  1997  1 individuals  good  A1, C1  Critically Endangered 
Sandwich Tern Thalasseus sandvicensis passage  1997  100 individuals  good  C2  Least Concern 
Little Tern Sternula albifrons breeding  1997  50 breeding pairs  good  B2, C2, C6  Least Concern 
Black Tern Chlidonias niger passage  1997  700 individuals  good  B1i, C2  Least Concern 
Aquatic Warbler Acrocephalus paludicola passage  1997  2-3 individuals  good  A1, C1  Vulnerable 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds winter  1996  20,000 individuals  good  A4iii   

IBA Monitoring

2013 very high very unfavourable low
Good - based on reliable and complete / representative data

Natural system modifications dams & water management/use - abstraction of surface water (unknown use) happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) very rapid to severe deterioration very high
Natural system modifications other ecosystem modifications happening now some of area/population (10-49%) very rapid to severe deterioration high

Wetlands (inland)   500 150 30 moderate (70-90%) very unfavourable

Aythya nyroca Ferruginous Duck 25 5 breeding pairs 20 very unfavourable
Ixobrychus minutus 125 20 breeding pairs 16 very unfavourable
Ardea purpurea Purple Heron 5 0 breeding pairs 0 very unfavourable
Porphyrio porphyrio Purple Swamphen 100 60 breeding pairs 60 unfavourable
Charadrius alexandrinus 10 0 breeding pairs 0 very unfavourable

Whole area of site (>90%) covered by appropriate conservation designation  No management planning has taken place  Very little or no conservation action taking place  low 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Riserva naturale Oasi del Simeto Regional/Provincial Nature Reserve 1,859 protected area overlaps with site 400  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Wetlands (inland) Rivers and streams; Standing freshwater; Water fringe vegetation  -
Coastline Lagoons; Salt marshes; Sand dunes & beaches  -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
hunting 7%
water management 67%
nature conservation and research 26%

Protection status National Partial International Unknown400 ha of IBA covered by Regional Nature Reserve (Oasi del Simeto, 1,859 ha). Overlaps with SPA.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Simeto mouth and middle course and Biviere di Lentini. Downloaded from on 22/10/2016

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