The Cape Verde Islands are an Endemic Bird Area (EBA) and include 12 Important Bird Areas (IBAs) covering a total of 110 km2 or some 2.7% of the land area of the country. The IBAs include all the important habitats for birds including seabird colonies, the main breeding sites of endemic species, lagoons and saltpans for wintering migrants, and representative desert communities.
Central mountain range of Ilha de São Nicolau consists of a chain of rugged mountains in the western part of the island. This is an important breeding area for Fea’s Petrel Pterodroma feae. Spectacled Warbler Sylvia conspicillata, Blackcap S. atricapilla and Cape Verde Swift Apus alexandri are all common. In February 1998, a small population of about 8 pairs of Cape Verde Warbler Acrocephalus brevipennis, thought to be extinct on São Nicolau since 1924, was rediscovered. Cape Verde Little Shearwater Puffinus assimilis boydi is a locally common breeder in the interior mountains of São Nicolau as well as on Santiago, Fogo and Santo Antão.
There are no Important Bird Areas on the island of Sal.
Ilhéu do Curral Velho is a rock with an area of 0.5 ha only situated off the southern most point of Boavista. About 100 pairs of Brown Booby Sula leucogaster breed on the islet as well as 2 or 3 pairs of Magnificent Frigatebird Fregata magnificens, one of only 2 breeding sites for this species in Cape Verde and indeed, the eastern Atlantic.
Above and below. Ilhéu do Curral Velho from the opposite coast, Boavista Island, Cape Verde. Photo: Rubén Barone Tosco
Photo: Rubén Barone Tosco
Ribeira do Rabil on the western side of Boavista is at the mouth of the Ribeira Grande, the main watercourse on the island. The lagoon and the ribeira usually hold good numbers of wintering migrant waders, herons and terns. The surrounding areas hold arid zone species such as Bar-tailed Lark Ammomanes cincturus and Iago Sparrow Passer iagoensis. Photo: Rubén Barone Tosco
Cliffs near Praia, Santiago Island, Cape Verde. Photo: Rubén Barone Tosco
There are 5 IBAs on the island of Santiago: coastal cliffs between Porto Mosquito and Baia do Inferno hold seabird colonies including scattered pairs of Red-billed Tropicbird Phaetheon aethereus; Serra do Pico da Antónia comprises the central mountain range of the island with endemic breeding birds including Cape Verde Swift Apus alexandri, Cape Verde Warbler Acrocephalus brevipennis and Iago Sparrow Passer iagoensis; Pedro Badejo lagoons for waders and herons as well as breeding Grey-headed Kingfisher Halcyon leucocephala, Spectacled Warbler Sylvia conspicillata and Blackcap S. atricapilla; Kapok tree, Boa Entrada which comprises a single huge Kapok tree which is only one of two sites for breeding Cape Verde Purple Heron Ardea purpurea bournei the other site being Mahoganies at Banana, Ribeira Montanha, Ilha de Santiago.
Ribeira Principal Valley, Santiago, Cape Verde, Photo: Rubén Barone Tosco
Volcano area, Ilha do Fogo comprises the highest parts of the island of Fogo reaching 2,829 m. This is one of only four sites in the archipelago where Fea’s Petrel Pterodroma feae is known to breed. Cape Verde Swift Apus alexandri has been observed on Fogo at the highest elevations.
Pico Novo (2829m), the highest point of the archipelago, Fogo, Cape Verde. Photo: Rubén Barone Tosco
Bay of Faja de Agua, Brava, Cape Verde. Photo: Rubén Barone Tosco
Ilhéus do Rombo is situated north-east of the island of Brava and holds large breeding colonies of White-faced Storm-petrel Pelagodroma marina, Cape Verde Little Shearwater Puffinus assimilis boydi, Madeiran Storm-petrel Oceanodroma castro and Bulwer’s Petrel Bulweria bulwerii.
Branco Islet, Cape Verde. Photo: Rubén Barone Tosco
Ilhéu Branco is a large oblong rock rising precipitously from the sea to a height of 327m. It is one of the major sites for breeding seabirds holding the main breeding population of Cape Verde Shearwater Calonectris diomedea edwardsii, as well as breeding populations of White-faced Storm-petrel Pelagodroma marina and Cape Verde Little Shearwater Puffinus assimilis boydi.
Raso Islet, Cape Verde. Photo: Rubén Barone Tosco
Ilhéu Raso holds the endemic Raso Lark Alauda razae which is entirely confined to this island with a total population of 45 pairs. The species roams all over the island but breeding is confined to the grassy area in the south-west. The island also has seabird colonies with boobies, tropicbirds, Cape Verde Shearwater Calonectris diomedea edwardsii, Madeiran Storm-petrel Oceanodroma castro, Cape Verde Little Shearwater Puffinus assimilis boydi and Bulwer’s Petrel Bulweria bulwerii.
For further details, download the country IBAs from BirdLife International.