email a friend
printable version
Location Portugal, Alentejo
Central coordinates 8o 43.00' West  38o 27.00' North
IBA criteria A4i, A4iii, B1i, B2, C2, C3, C4, C6
Area 24,633 ha
Altitude 0 - 30m
Year of IBA assessment 2002

Sociedade Portuguesa para o Estudo das Aves



Site description A large estuary with extensive mudflats and saltmarshes, located in central Portugal, c.50 km south of Lisbon. Setúbal is the main town in its vicinity. The inner part of the estuary is bordered by rice-fields and reedbeds, whereas the north-western limits are densely populated and the south-western parts are sheltered from the open sea by a sandbar.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
White Stork Ciconia ciconia resident  1996  50-70 breeding pairs  good  C6  Least Concern 
Ixobrychus minutus breeding  1996  common  C6  Not Recognised 
Egretta garzetta non-breeding  1996  common  C6  Not Recognised 
Purple Heron Ardea purpurea breeding  2002  15 breeding pairs  good  B2, C6  Least Concern 
Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo winter  1996  1,000-2,200 individuals  good  B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Western Marsh-harrier Circus aeruginosus resident  1996  5-6 breeding pairs  medium  C6  Least Concern 
Himantopus himantopus breeding  1996  200-800 breeding pairs  good  A4i, B1i, C2, C6  Not Recognised 
Pied Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta winter  1996  2,000-4,000 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, B2, C2  Least Concern 
Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa winter  1996  2,000-11,000 individuals  good  B1i, C3  Near Threatened 
Dunlin Calidris alpina winter  1996  12,000-16,000 individuals  good  B1i, B2, C3  Least Concern 
Collared Pratincole Glareola pratincola breeding  1996  5-20 breeding pairs  medium  C6  Least Concern 
Little Tern Sternula albifrons breeding  1996  50-100 breeding pairs  good  B2, C6  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds winter  1996  20,000 individuals  unknown  A4iii, C4   

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Açude da Murta - PTZPE0012 Birds Directive 498 protected area is adjacent to site 0  
Comporta/Galé - PTCON0034 Habitats Directive 32,051 protected area is adjacent to site 0  
Estuário do Sado Nature Reserve 23,971 protected area overlaps with site 20,011  
Estuário do Sado Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 25,588 protected area overlaps with site 24,633  
Estuário do Sado - PTCON0011 Habitats Directive 30,968 protected area overlaps with site 23,346  
Estuário do Sado - PTZPE0011 Birds Directive 24,632 is identical to site 24,312  

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest Broadleaved evergreen woodland; Mixed woodland  -
Shrubland Sclerophyllous scrub, garrigue and maquis  -
Wetlands (inland) Standing freshwater; Water fringe vegetation  -
Artificial - terrestrial Arable land; Forestry plantations; Other urban and industrial areas  -
Coastline Lagoons; Mud flats & sand flats; Salt marshes; Sand dunes & beaches; Tidal rivers & enclosed tidal waters  -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
fisheries/aquaculture -
forestry -
hunting -
nature conservation and research -
tourism/recreation -
urban/industrial/transport -

Protection status National Partial International High20,011 ha of IBA covered by Nature Reserve (Estuário do Sado, 23,971 ha). 24,633 ha of IBA covered by Special Protection Area (Estuário do Sado, 24,633 ha). IBA also overlaps with Ramsar Site (Estuário do Sado, 25,588 ha).

Contribute  Please click here to help BirdLife conserve the world's birds - your data for this IBA and others are vital for helping protect the environment.

Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Sado estuary. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 29/08/2014

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