|Central coordinates||8o 47.00' West 41o 55.00' North|
|Altitude||0 - 50m|
|Year of IBA assessment||2002|
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).
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Ixobrychus minutus||breeding||2001||frequent||-||C6||Not Recognised|
|Purple Heron Ardea purpurea||breeding||2001||1-2 breeding pairs||medium||C6||Least Concern|
|Western Marsh-harrier Circus aeruginosus||resident||2001||1-2 breeding pairs||medium||C6||Least Concern|
|2005||low||not assessed||not assessed|
|Good - based on reliable and complete / representative data|
|Transportation and service corridors||utility & service lines||happening now||small area/few individuals (<10%)||very rapid to severe deterioration||low|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Forest||Alluvial and very wet forest; Broadleaved deciduous woodland; Mixed woodland||-|
|Wetlands (inland)||Rivers and streams; Standing freshwater; Water fringe vegetation||-|
|Sea||Sea inlets and coastal features||-|
|Artificial - terrestrial||Arable land||-|
|Coastline||Lagoons; Mud flats & sand flats; Salt marshes; Sand dunes & beaches; Shingle & stony beaches; Tidal rivers & enclosed tidal waters||-|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
Protection status National 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.
References Farinha & Trindade (1994)Costa & Guedes (1996)
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2015) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Minho and Coura estuaries. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 30/05/2015
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