A complex of wetlands and cultivated land on the eastern Padana plain, being the remnants of a large complex of lagoons, most of which were drained from 1850 onwards. The main sites are Valli di Comacchio, Sacca di Bellocchio, Bonifica del Mezzano and three heronries (Garzaia di Lepri, Garzaia di Bando, Garzaia di Ostellato). The shallow, brackish lagoon of Valli di Comacchio is the largest in Italy and one of the largest in the Mediterranean basin. Sacca di Bellocchio is a complex of saltmarshes (Salicornia, Suaeda) located in between the Valli and the Adriatic Sea. Bonifica del Mezzano is an agricultural area, formerly a lagoon (linked to the Valli di Comacchio) which was drained in the 1960s. The most important human activities are fish-farming, hunting and tourism in Valli di Comacchio, agriculture in Bonifica del Mezzano and nature conservation in Sacca di Bellocchio.
A very important site for breeding, migrating and wintering waterbirds, especially for Sterna albifrons. Valli di Comacchio is important for breeding terns, gulls and waders and for passage and wintering ducks and Fulica atra. Bonifica del Mezzano is important as a feeding area for wintering geese Anser, for the presence of heronries, and for its potential value for wetland-restoration projects.
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Valli di Comacchio and Bonifica del Mezzano. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 21/02/2020.