One of the largest wetlands in Europe, at the mouth of the River Guadalquivir. In the north and east natural vegetation has been replaced with rice cultivation, irrigated cultivation, aquaculture, and saltpans, although there are still expanses of halophytic scrub. Marshes, Mediterranean scrub, woodland and sand-dunes occur to the south. The marshes are flooded only seasonally with some permanent rivers and lagoons. The main human activities include arable agriculture, cattle-grazing, hunting, fishing, fish-farming, research, apiculture (`Other' land-use, below) and tourism.
The most important wetland in Spain for breeding, passage and wintering waterbirds and passerines. Over 360 species have been recorded. Wintering waterbird numbers reach 400,000 individuals climbing to over 6 million birds during migration periods. The site is a major migratory bottleneck, where more than 20,000 storks and raptors regularly pass. Species of global conservation concern that do not meet IBA criteria: Aythya nyroca (wintering).
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
There are numerous threats and problems. Perhaps the most important of these relate to the expansion and intensification of agriculture, particularly the uncontrolled use of pesticides and over-exploitation of groundwater. Other threats include a high poaching pressure, intensive crayfish fishing, an increase in fish-farming, industrial pollution with heavy metals which caused a major ecological disaster in 1998, urban development, uncontrolled tourism, and hunting and road construction. There is a research station, a water management plan and a sustainable development plan.
National Partial International Partial50,720 ha of IBA covered by National Park (Doñana, 50,720 ha). 54,250 ha of IBA covered by Natural Park (Doñana, 54,250 ha). 1,336 ha of IBA covered by Natural Landscape (Brazo del Este, 1,336 ha). 77,260 ha of IBA covered by Biosphere Reserve (Doñana, 77,260 ha). 77,260 ha of IBA covered by Ramsar Site (Doñana, 77,260 ha). 50,720 ha of IBA covered by Special Protection Area (Doñana, 50,720 ha). IBA overlaps with World Heritage Site (Doñana National Park).
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Guadalquivir marshes. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 28/09/2022.