Minho and Coura estuaries

Country/territory: Portugal

IBA criteria met: C6 (2002)
For more information about IBA criteria, please click here

Area: 3,393 ha

Sociedade Portuguesa para o Estudo das Aves
IBA conservation status
Year of assessment (most recent) Threat (pressure) Condition (state) Action (response)
2005 low not assessed not assessed
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Site description (baseline)
The site borders Spain. In this estuary meets the Coura river. In the confluence of the two rivers there is a large area of reedbeds (Phragmites australis) and alluvial forest. Minho's estuary area presents an accentuated water salinity gradient, and includes saltmarshes, sand and mudflats and some islands with agricultural and cuttle breeding uses. Closer to Valença is also included the "veiga de São Pedro da Torre": a marsh humid area with a well-preserved alluvial forest.

Key biodiversity
Minho and Coura estuary is one of the two only North Region sites with these characteristics, beeing one of the few where Western Marsh-harrier (Circus aeruginosus), Little Bittern (Ixobrichus minutus) and Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea) are found. Reedbeds and alluvial fores are also important for passerines migratory passage. Locustella luscinioides breeds in this area.During wintering season, the area holds important numbers of migratory seabirds e.g. Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula) and Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo).

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Minho and Coura estuaries. Downloaded from on 30/05/2023.