Lake Massaciuccoli

Year of compilation: 2000

Site description
A shallow lake, close to the town of Viareggio, 4 km from the Tyrrhenian coast. The lake is surrounded by a belt of reeds Phragmites of variable width and there is a large freshwater marshland (Padule) adjacent to the lake on the north side, consisting of stands of sedge Cladium with scattered pools and canals. The surrounding areas are intensively cultivated. Main land-uses are agriculture, nature conservation and tourism.

Key biodiversity
An important breeding site for reedbed species, notably Botaurus stellaris (the main breeding site in Italy), and a key staging site for the globally threatened Numenius tenuirostris. Formerly much more important for wintering waterbirds, especially Fulica atra (tens of thousands); decline due especially to hunting and a reduction in the extent of submerged vegetation. Species of global conservation concern that do not meet IBA criteria: Aythya nyroca (max. 4 birds in winter).

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The main threat is the intensification of agriculture in the surrounding area, which is leading to water pollution, lowering of the water-table, and shrinkage of wetlands. Some or all of the site is covered by a management plan. There is a LIPU reserve on the east side of the lake.

Protected areas
National High International High1,700 ha of IBA covered by Regional Nature Park (Migliarino-San Rossore-Massaciuccoli, 22,000 ha). 1,700 ha of IBA covered by Special Protection Area (Massaciuccoli, 2,000 ha).

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Lake Massaciuccoli. Downloaded from on 17/08/2022.