Sites - Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs)
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Minho and Coura estuaries
8o 47.00' West 41o 55.00' North
0 - 50m
Year of IBA assessment
Sociedade Portuguesa para o Estudo das Aves
Site description The site borders Spain. In this estuary meets the Coura river. In the confluence of the two rivers there is a large area of reedbeds (Phragmites australis) and alluvial forest. Minho's estuary area presents an accentuated water salinity gradient, and includes saltmarshes, sand and mudflats and some islands with agricultural and cuttle breeding uses. Closer to Valença is also included the "veiga de São Pedro da Torre": a marsh humid area with a well-preserved alluvial forest.
Key Biodiversity Minho and Coura estuary is one of the two only North Region sites with these characteristics, beeing one of the few where Western Marsh-harrier (Circus aeruginosus), Little Bittern (Ixobrichus minutus) and Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea) are found. Reedbeds and alluvial fores are also important for passerines migratory passage. Locustella luscinioides breeds in this area.During wintering season, the area holds important numbers of migratory seabirds e.g. Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula) and Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo).
Protection statusNational Special Protection Area (Estuários do Minho e Coura, 3,393 ha overlaps with IBA); SIC proposal Rio Minho (4,554 ha, 2,472 ha contained by IBA) International HighSpecial Protection Area "Estuários do Minho e Coura"; SIC candidature Rio Minho.