IBA Antigua Guatemala is located in the Guatemalan volcanic belt, bordered in the west by the IBA Atitlan. The site ranges in altitude from 500 to 3900 m and includes the major volcanoes Agua, Fuego (active), and Acatenango, in the surroundings of the colonial town Antigua Guatemala, as well as the active volcano Pacaya to the southeast.
IBA Antigua Guatemala is important for range-restricted species of the North Central American Highlands (15 species recorded) and for biome-restricted species of the Madrean Highlands (36 species). The site supports populations of three globally threatened species: Highland and Horned Guan (Penelopina nigra and Oreophasis derbianus), and Pink-headed Warbler (Ergaticus versicolor), according to recent bird records (Tenez 2005, Pérez 2006, González-García et al. 2006, Rivas Romero 2006, Eisermann & Avendaño 2007).
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
About 150 years ago began the establishment of coffee plantations, which caused an extensive loss of habitat for species like Highland Guan, which are now considered threatened. Bird populations are threatened by management deficiencies in protected areas, an advancing agricultural border, illegal logging and hunting, and forest fires.
About 30% of the IBA are legally protected, including a national park, a watershed preserve, protected zones of all volcano cones (zona de veda definitiva), and three private nature reserves (CONAP 2007).
Habitat and land use
Broadleaf, mixed, and conifer forest cover in the IBA has been reduced to 23%, 66% of the area is used for agriculture: coffee plantations cover 30% of the IBA, 14% corn fields, 6% sugar cane plantations, and 3% ornamental plants. About 11% are covered by secondary growth scrub (MAGA 2006).
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Antigua Guatemala. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 30/05/2020.