Lakes Lesina and Varano

Country/territory: Italy

IBA Criteria met: A1, A4i, A4iii, B1i, C1, C2, C3, C4 (2000)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 20,353 ha

Lega Italiana Protezione Uccelli

Site description
Two large lakes on the southern Adriatic coast, north of the Gargano promontory. They are both connected to the sea and are very close to each other. Lesina is relatively narrow, shallow and parallel to the coast; large reedbeds fringe it. Varano is deeper, the banks are mostly artificial and there virtually no reedbeds. The strip of sea in front of the lakes and beach is also important for birds. The main uses of the area are fisheries, hunting, nature conservation and agriculture, the last one to the east of Varano and to the south-west of Lesina.

Key biodiversity
A very important site for wintering waterbirds (more than 20,000 occur regularly, mainly Fulica atra), for example a total of 27,424 in January 1994.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Lakes Lesina and Varano. Downloaded from on 26/03/2023.