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Location Mozambique, Inhambane
Central coordinates 35o 25.00' East  21o 45.00' South
IBA criteria A4i, A4iii
Area 50,000 ha
Altitude 0 - 90m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

Site description The site consists of the islands of Bazaruto, Santa Carolina, Benguerra and Margaruque, and also the San Sebastião peninsula on the mainland. There are high sand-dunes on the eastern side, but the rest of the land area is flat. The most important habitat for birds is the extensive intertidal flats which connect the islands. Vegetation on the islands is mostly scrubby, with a small patch of moderately well developed woodland on Benguerra island. Several freshwater lakes occur on Bazaruto island. The San Sebastião peninsula has well developed woodlands and forest and extensive marshes. The human population is dense on the islands and sparse on the peninsula. Human activities consist of subsistence farming and fishing. There is a well developed infrastructure for tourism.

Key Biodiversity See Box for key species. The site is an important wintering ground for migratory waders from the Palearctic. For six species of non-breeding waterbird, numbers exceed the 1% population thresholds. The largest congregations in southern Africa of Limosa lapponica (average 4,300 during 1996–1998) and of Dromas ardeola have been observed here. Flocks of Phoenicopterus ruber, which arrive in midwinter, include newly fledged young, and this is an important stop-over site for birds from breeding grounds in Botswana which disperse along the east coast of Africa. The number of waterbirds present during the austral summer regularly exceeds 20,000. The rare Falco eleonorae has been observed and may be a regular non-breeding visitor. The globally near-threatened Anthreptes reichenowi is likely to occur at San Sebastião, although not yet observed there. Rare birds observed in the marshes of San Sebastião include Vanellus crassirostris and Butorides rufiventris. One species of the East African Coast biome occurs, as do two of the Zambezian biome (Table 3).

Non-bird biodiversity: The islands support six endemic species of gastropod (Conus pennaceus, Epitonium pteroen, E. repandior, Fusiaphera eva, Thracia anchoralis, Limatula vermicola). Two lizard species are endemic to Magaruque and Benguera (Scelotes duttoni, Lygosoma lanceolatum). The following marine mammals are of conservation concern: Megaptera novaeangliae (VU), Tursiops truncatus (DD), Sousa chinensis (DD), Dugong dugon. Due to disturbance and persecution, sea-turtles have abandoned many breeding beaches in Mozambique, but here breeding by Caretta caretta (EN) is confirmed and breeding by Dermochelys coriacea (CR) and Eretmochelys imbricata (CR) is probable.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola winter  2,029 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Lesser Sandplover Charadrius mongolus winter  476 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Sanderling Calidris alba winter  2,273 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Lesser Crested Tern Thalasseus bengalensis winter  5,895 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Common Tern Sterna hirundo winter  20,000 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Little Tern Sternula albifrons winter  1,883 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds winter  20,000-49,999 individuals  unknown  A4iii   

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Bazaruto National Park 143,000 protected area contains site 50,000  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Artificial - terrestrial   10%
Wetlands (inland)   16%
Shrubland   28%
Grassland   37%
Forest   6%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
fisheries/aquaculture -
nature conservation and research -
tourism/recreation -

References Clancey (1996), Hockey (1995), Kohler and Kohler (1996, 1999, undated), Parker (1999).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Bazaruto Archipelago. Downloaded from on 23/10/2016

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