Topes de Collantes

Year of compilation: 2008

Site description
The Topes de Collantes IBA is an area of hills within the Sierra del Escambray (part of the Guamuhaya massif) in southwestern Sancti Spiritus province. These hills are characterised by their structural and tectonic complexity (including areas of karst limestone) as well as their cool climate. This has resulted in a diverse range of vegetation types including evergreen forest, pine forest, riparian forest and grasslands, semi-deciduous forest, and secondary scrub containing Dichrostachys cinerea in deforested areas.

Key biodiversity
This IBA supports populations of 26 (of the 48) Greater Antilles biome-restricted including the Endangered Gundlach’s Hawk Accipiter gundlachi, Vulnerable Cuban Parakeet Aratinga euops and Grey-headed Quail-dove Geotrygon caniceps, and Near Threatened Cuban Amazon Amazona leucocephala. Other species of interest include Cuban Green Woodpecker Xiphidiopicus percussus, Limpkin Aramus guarauna, Cuban Martin Progne cryptoleuca, Tree Swallow Tachycineta bicolor, Wood Thrush Hylocichla mustelina, Louisiana Waterthrush Seiurus motacilla, Ovenbird Seiurus aurocapilla, and Red-legged Honeycreeper Cyanerpes cyaneus.

Non-bird biodiversity: Of the 488 higher plant species present, 53 are endemic, 22 of which with some category of global threat. Twenty-five endemics of the Guamuhaya sector have been reported in Pico Potrerillo, including local endemics such as Vernonia potrerilloana, Rondeletia potrerilloana and Psychotria martii.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Topes de Collantes IBA has been proposed as a natural protected landscape within the National System of Protected Areas. It is managed by the Topes de Collantes Touristic Complex of the Gaviota Touristic Enterprise. Land is mostly used for agriculture, forestry and tourism. The principal threat to the IBA is the high demand for nature tourism and related activities such as the commercialisation and extraction of species, mostly orchids, by tourists. Natural areas suffer from heavy human pressure and a high incidence of erosion, as well as water pollution (especially in the Río Vegas Grandes). Other threats include dry season forest fires and invasive plants such as Dichrostachys cinerea.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Topes de Collantes. Downloaded from on 31/10/2020.