Humedal del Sur de Sancti Spiritus IBA is a wetland and coastal area between Las Nuevas, Mapo and Tunas de Zaza, on the south coast in Sancti Spiritus province. It comprises a group of natural coastal wetlands, rice paddies, and pastures for livestock farming. The rice paddies act as seasonal wetland ecosystems, with El Jíbaro being the most important in the country and a critical site for congregatory waterbirds. To the south the IBA is bordered with a fringe of mangrove forests and coastal wetlands including the El Basto and La Limeta lagoons. Access to this area is facilitated by the rice paddy embankments, although the lagoons can be reached by land. The rice paddies are managed by the Sur del Jíbaro Agroindustrial Complex.
This IBA is notable for resident and migratory waterbirds, with congregations of migratory shorebirds exceeding 10,000 individuals, and over 20,000 Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus observed on occasions. The migratory Blue-winged Teal Anas discors is particularly abundant (>100,000 individuals) in the coastal lagoons. Up to 100 Vulnerable West Indian Whistling-duck Dendrocygna arborea use the remote coastal wetlands as diurnal resting areas and the rice paddies as nocturnal feeding sites.
Non-bird biodiversity: The endemic hutia Capromys pilorides> is present in the mangrove area, as are various endemic reptiles belonging to the genera Anolis and Epicrates.
BirdLife International (2019) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Humedal Sur de Sancti Spiritus. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 14/10/2019.