Cayería Centro - Oriental de Villa Clara

Year of compilation: 2008

Site description
Cayería Centro-Oriental de Villa Clara IBA is located in the Sabana-Camagüey Archipelago, and represents a group of cays off the north coast of Villa Clara province. The IBA embraces several cays including Cobos, Francés, Las Brujas, Ensenachos, Fragoso, and Santa María. These are flat cays, with diverse natural features including coastal evergreen forest, coastal scrub, mangroves, coral reefs, and sandy beaches. The towns of Caibarién, Camajuaní, and Encrucijada are close to but outside of the IBA.

Key biodiversity
This IBA supports globally significant breeding colonies of Laughing Gull Larus atricilla, Royal Tern Sterna maxima, Sandwich Tern S. sandvicensis, Common Tern S. hirundo and Least Tern S. antillarum. The area is a wintering site for the Near Threatened Piping Plover Charadrius melodus and there are also unconfirmed reports of Brown Noddy Anous stolidus breeding. A wide diversity of waterbirds use this area including the Vulnerable West Indian Whistling-duck Dendrocygna arborea.

Non-bird biodiversity: The Critically Endangered eared hutia Mesocapromys auritus is endemic to Cayo Fragoso. The lizard Anolis pigmaequestris is endemic to Cayo Francés. The most diverse coral reef of the Sabana-Camagüey Archipelago is within the IBA. Of the 248 plant species present, 29 are endemic.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The Lanzanillo-Pajonal-Fragoso Wildlife Refuge (the only protected area approved in the IBA) and the Las Loras Wildlife Refuge are managed by the Empresa para la Protección de la Flora y la Fauna (ENPFF). The Maja-Español Inner Cays and Francés-Español Outer Cays wildlife refuges have only been proposed and lack management. Portions of the Santa María- Los Caimanes National Park as well as the Buenavista Biosphere Reserve are within the IBA and are managed by the Ministry of Science Technology and Environment. Threats to the IBA include habitat destruction, fragmentation, disturbance, gas emissions, dust, and introduced species. Beach tourists cause disturbance to C. melodus and construction-related habitat loss might affect species such as Bahama Mockingbird Mimus gundlachii and Great Lizard-cuckoo Saurothera merlini santamariae. Furthermore, local fishermen harvest eggs and chicks of gulls, cormorants and flamingos for food.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Cayería Centro - Oriental de Villa Clara. Downloaded from on 23/01/2021.