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Location Portugal, Alentejo
Central coordinates 8o 49.00' West  38o 4.00' North
IBA criteria A4i, B1i, B2, C3, C6
Area 2,672 ha
Altitude 0 - 48m
Year of IBA assessment 2002

Sociedade Portuguesa para o Estudo das Aves

Site description A complex of two coastal lagoons and a stretch of well-consolidated sand-dunes, on the south-west coast of Portugal, just north of the town of Sines. Both lagoons have extensive reedbeds. This site is an amalgamation of two sites that featured in the previous pan-European IBA inventory (Grimmett and Jones 1989): Santo André Lagoon (former site PT021) and Sancha Lagoon (former site PT022).

Key Biodiversity Important numbers of breeding and wintering waterbirds occur, and the site also harbours large numbers of migrating passerines during autumn migration.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Red-crested Pochard Netta rufina winter  1996  450-1,015 unknown  good  A4i, B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Ixobrychus minutus breeding  2001  frequent  C6  Not Recognised 
Purple Heron Ardea purpurea breeding  2000  9-26 breeding pairs  good  B2, C6  Least Concern 
Western Marsh-harrier Circus aeruginosus breeding  1999  1-2 breeding pairs  good  C6  Least Concern 
Western Marsh-harrier Circus aeruginosus winter  1999  12-22 individuals  good  C6  Least Concern 
Purple Swamphen Porphyrio porphyrio resident  2001  2-3 breeding pairs  medium  C6  Least Concern 
Himantopus himantopus resident  2001  10-20 breeding pairs  medium  C6  Not Recognised 
Little Tern Sternula albifrons breeding  2002  1-35 breeding pairs  good  C6  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

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

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Lagoa de St. André et Lagoa de Sancha Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 2,638 protected area overlaps with site 2,638  
Reserva Natural das Lagoas de Santo André e Sancha Natural Reserve 5,370 protected area contains site 0  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Shrubland Sclerophyllous scrub, garrigue and maquis  -
Wetlands (inland) Rivers and streams; Water fringe vegetation  -
Artificial - terrestrial Forestry plantations  -
Coastline Lagoons; Sand dunes & beaches  -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
fisheries/aquaculture -
tourism/recreation -
urban/industrial/transport -
water management -

Protection status National None International High409 ha of IBA covered by Special Protection Area (Lagoa da Sancha, 409 ha). 2,165 ha of IBA covered by Special Protection Area (Lagoa da Sto. André, 2,165 ha).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Santo André and Sancha lagoons. Downloaded from on 28/10/2016

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