This site is the largest single area of mangroves in Panama. It is located about four km south of the city of David, extending over an area of 20 x 45 km between the towns of Guarumal and Horconcitos. Mangroves occupy the inlets and associated channels from the Boca de San Pedro and Pedregal estuary on the west, to the area of Bahía de Muertos on the east. The area includes the islands of Sevilla, Sabino, Chalapa, Sabaneta, Bóquita, Los Higueros, Mono and Muerto, several of which have a core of higher land occupied partly by non-mangrove forest and partly cleared for cultivation. A small area at the western edge of the mangroves is contained in the Playa de la Barqueta Agricola Wildlife Refuge, and Cerro Batipa to the east is surrounded by them.
This is the only site in Panama where a significant population of the globally threatened Yellow-billed Cotinga is thought to occur. This species is a mangrove specialist and is regularly seen at the edge of the mangroves at Cerro Batipa. The only specimens from Panama were collected at Pedregal, in the western part of the area, in 1902. The size of the population and its distribution are unknown. The cotinga is well known to local residents and occurs at least periodically on islands such as Bóquita and Mono. Unlike the situation in Costa Rica, this population apparently does not undertake seasonal migrations to foothill areas inland, and in any case virtually all such forest in the region has been cleared. The species has also been recorded at El Chorogo and Quebrada Mellicita but is rare at these sites. The srea is poorly known ornithologically, but the nationally threatened Yellow-crowned Parrot occurs, as does the Southern Central American Pacific Slope endemic Black-hooded Antshrike. The area is of national importance for migratory shorebirds, with 3,703 counted in January 1993 (Morrison et al. 1998), mostly around Boca de San Pedro where extensive mud flats occur. The Playa de la Barqueta Agricola Wildlife Refuge contains the only known heron nesting colony in western Panama. Breeding species include Great Egret, Cattle Egret, Black-crowned Night-Heron, and White Ibis. Studies are needed to determine the numbers of breeding birds.
Non-bird biodiversity: The endangered Red-backed Squirrel Monkey occurs (Rodríguez 1999), as well as Neotropical River Otter and American Crocodile occur (Delgado 1985a).
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: David Mangroves. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 19/10/2021.