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Location Portugal, Alentejo
Central coordinates 8o 0.00' West  37o 45.00' North
IBA criteria A1, B2, B3, C1, C2, C6
Area 83,579 ha
Altitude 160 - 289m
Year of IBA assessment 2002

Sociedade Portuguesa para o Estudo das Aves

Site description Open plains used for non-intensive cultivation of cereals (mainly wheat), with sparse woodland of evergreen oak Quercus ilex. Due to the poor soils, cereals are grown on crop rotations of long duration. Fallow land is used for grazing sheep and cattle. There is scattered human habitation.

Key Biodiversity The area is of great importance for breeding birds of steppic habitats, especially Otis tarda (the most important site in Portugal).

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
White Stork Ciconia ciconia breeding  1996  120-180 breeding pairs  medium  B2, C6  Least Concern 
Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni breeding  2001  186-187 breeding pairs  good  A1, C1, C2, C6  Least Concern 
Merlin Falco columbarius winter  2002  uncommon  C6  Least Concern 
Montagu's Harrier Circus pygargus breeding  1996  50-80 breeding pairs  medium  B3, C6  Least Concern 
Black-winged Kite Elanus caeruleus resident  2002  8-10 breeding pairs  good  B2, C6  Least Concern 
Red Kite Milvus milvus winter  2002  190 individuals  good  C6  Near Threatened 
Bonelli's Eagle Aquila fasciata breeding  2002  1 breeding pairs  good  C6  Least Concern 
Bonelli's Eagle Aquila fasciata non-breeding  2002  15 individuals  medium  C6  Least Concern 
Spanish Imperial Eagle Aquila adalberti non-breeding  2002  2-3 individuals  medium  C6  Vulnerable 
Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos non-breeding  2002  10 individuals  medium  C6  Least Concern 
Milvus migrans breeding  1996  7-15 breeding pairs  medium  C6  Not Recognised 
Great Bustard Otis tarda resident  2000  900 breeding pairs  good  A1, C1, C2, C6  Vulnerable 
Little Bustard Tetrax tetrax resident  1999  360-2,400 breeding pairs  good  A1, B2, C1, C2, C6  Near Threatened 
Common Crane Grus grus winter  2000  80-140 unknown  good  B2, C6  Least Concern 
Burhinus oedicnemus breeding  1996  100-150 breeding pairs  medium  B2, C6  Not Recognised 
Collared Pratincole Glareola pratincola breeding  2001  frequent  C6  Least Concern 
Black-bellied Sandgrouse Pterocles orientalis breeding  2002  20-120 individuals  medium  C6  Least Concern 
Little Owl Athene noctua resident  2002  2,000-4,000 breeding pairs  medium  B2  Least Concern 
European Roller Coracias garrulus breeding  1996  40-60 breeding pairs  good  C6  Least Concern 
Calandra Lark Melanocorypha calandra breeding  1999  400-8,500 breeding pairs  good  C6  Least Concern 
Greater Short-toed Lark Calandrella brachydactyla resident  2001  common  C6  Least Concern 
Black-eared Wheatear Oenanthe hispanica breeding  2002  common  C6  Least Concern 


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest Broadleaved evergreen woodland  22%
Artificial - terrestrial Arable land  78%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture 78%
forestry 22%
hunting -
nature conservation and research -
tourism/recreation -

Protection status National None International PartialIBA overlaps with Special Protection Area.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Castro Verde plains. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016

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