Humedal Sur de Sancti Spiritus

Year of compilation: 2008

Site description
Humedal del Sur de Sancti Spiritus IBA is a wetland and coastal area between Las Nuevas, Mapo and Tunas de Zaza, on the south coast in Sancti Spiritus province. It comprises a group of natural coastal wetlands, rice paddies, and pastures for livestock farming. The rice paddies act as seasonal wetland ecosystems, with El Jíbaro being the most important in the country and a critical site for congregatory waterbirds. To the south the IBA is bordered with a fringe of mangrove forests and coastal wetlands including the El Basto and La Limeta lagoons. Access to this area is facilitated by the rice paddy embankments, although the lagoons can be reached by land. The rice paddies are managed by the Sur del Jíbaro Agroindustrial Complex.

Key biodiversity
This IBA is notable for resident and migratory waterbirds, with congregations of migratory shorebirds exceeding 10,000 individuals, and over 20,000 Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus observed on occasions. The migratory Blue-winged Teal Anas discors is particularly abundant (>100,000 individuals) in the coastal lagoons. Up to 100 Vulnerable West Indian Whistling-duck Dendrocygna arborea use the remote coastal wetlands as diurnal resting areas and the rice paddies as nocturnal feeding sites.

Non-bird biodiversity: The endemic hutia Capromys pilorides is present in the mangrove area, as are various endemic reptiles belonging to the genera Anolis and Epicrates.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Humedal del Sur de Sancti Spiritus IBA includes the locally significant Tunas de Zaza Wildlife Refuge approved by the Comite Ejecutivo del Consejo de Ministros in 2001. Conservation projects and environmental education campaigns are currently being implemented in the IBA. These wetlands are affected by activities of the residents of Las Nuevas, Jibaro, Mapo, Tunas de Zaza (and other areas) who traditionally use the IBA as a hunting site. Local residents use hand-made traps and nets to capture egrets, ibises, flamingos and ducks. Although use of fertilisers in the artificial wetlands has decreased in the last 15 years, natural wetlands, like those close to Tunas de Zaza, are being affected by sewage discharges, causing the death of mangroves.


Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Humedal Sur de Sancti Spiritus. Downloaded from on 01/02/2023.