Year of compilation: 2008

Site description
Guanahacabibes IBA is located in the municipality of Sandino, Pinar del Río province, in westernmost Cuba. It comprises the forested, flat limestone plain of the Guanahacabibes peninsula, itself formed by the peninsulas of Cabo de San Antonio and Corrientes. Cliffs rise to 19 m on the south coast from where the land slopes gently across the peninsula down to sea level on the north coast. A range of limestone formations, including caves, are found within the IBA. The Cueva la Barca, contains a rich, nationally important cave biota. The town of La Bajada (1,146 inhabitants) is located within the IBA.

Key biodiversity
This IBA supports 190 bird species (31 of which are biomerestricted species), including 11 Cuban endemics and nine globally threatened species of which the Blue-headed Quail Dove Starnoenas cyanocephala, Giant Kingbird Tyrannus cubensis and Gundlach’s Hawk Accipiter gundlachi are all Endangered. The Cuban EBA restricted-range Yellow-headed Warbler Teretistris fernandinae and Red-shouldered Blackbird Agelaius assimilis both occur. Guanahacabibes forms part of the migratory corridor of the Mississippi flyway, and is a bottleneck site during fall migration. Bird capture rates during migration mist-netting studies have been higher in this IBA than anywhere else in Cuba.

Non-bird biodiversity: The Endangered (and endemic) frog Eleutherodactylus guanahacabibes occurs, as do other endemic reptiles including Anolis quadriocellifer and Antillophis andreai peninsulae. A number of endemic rodents and bats occur, and 14 plant species are confined to the IBA.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
In 1959, the areas of El Veral and Cabo Corrientes within the Guanahacabibes IBA were designated as natural reserves, and as strict conservation areas in 1963. The whole IBA was declared a biosphere reserve in 1987, within which the core zone, Guanahacabibes National Park, was approved by the government in 2001. Residents of La Bajada work mainly in forestry, apiculture, cattle farming, and cultivation of tobacco and other crops. Some are employed in a nearby scuba-diving centre. Other land uses include selective logging and pig foraging. Scientific research is the only activity conducted in the core zone. Threats to the IBA include ecosystem degradation, invasive species, tourism-related development and disturbance. Fishing, hunting and harvesting of natural resources also exert pressure on the ecosystem.


Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Guanahacabibes. Downloaded from on 09/02/2023.