Venice lagoon

Country/territory: Italy

IBA criteria met: A4i, A4iii, B1i, B1ii, B2, C2, C3, C4, C6 (2002)
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Area: 69,251 ha

Lega Italiana Protezione Uccelli
IBA conservation status
Year of assessment (most recent) State (condition) Pressure (threat) Response (action)
2013 unfavourable very high negligible
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Site description (2000 baseline)
An extensive brackish coastal lagoon along the eastern coast of the northern Adriatic Sea, between the mouths of the Brenta and Piave rivers. Three large, open water-bodies form the actual lagoon, surrounded by a chain of smaller, closed lagoons (called `valli') of lower salinity. The bottoms of the large water-bodies are covered by eel-grass Zostera and Ruppia. There are tidal mudflats with sea-lettuce Ulva and Enteromorpha, and cord-grass Spartina is locally common. The surrounding areas are largely cultivated intensively (mainly maize). Main land-uses are fish-farming, aquaculture and hunting inside the `valli', and tourism.

Key biodiversity
A very important site for more than 100,000 wintering waterbirds (Fulica atra and Calidris alpina are particularly common), for breeding herons, and for post-breeding terns which collect to roost here in large numbers from all over the eastern Adriatic Sea (especially Sterna albifrons and Chlidonias niger, which form their largest concentrations in Europe here). The maximum total number of wintering waterbirds in January was 74,642 in 1993 and 100,048 in 1994.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Venice lagoon. Downloaded from on 30/11/2023.