Biodiversity Data Journal : Data Paper (Biosciences)
Data Paper (Biosciences)
Biota from the coastal wetlands of Praia da Vitória (Terceira, Azores, Portugal): Part 3 – Birds
expand article infoSofia Goulart, João Pedro Barreiros§, Mariana R. Brito, Sónia Santos, César M.M. Pimentel, Elisabete Nogueira, Paulo Alexandre Vieira Borges§
‡ LIFE CWR – LIFE project “Ecological Restoration and Conservation of Praia da Vitória Coastal Wet Green Infrastructures, Praia da Vitória, Azores, Portugal
§ CE3C – Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Changes / Azorean Biodiversity Group and Universidade dos Açores, Faculdade de Ciências Agrárias e do Ambiente, Angra do Heroísmo, Azores, Portugal
Open Access



The data presented here come from field observations of Aves between August 2013 and October 2018 as part of a LIFE research project aiming to preserve and restore three coastal wetlands from Praia da Vitória (Terceira Island, Azores, Portugal). Systematic monthly observations were carried out for five years in order to provide a checklist and monitoring of bird species and subspecies observed in three sites: Paul da Praia da Vitória (PPV), Paul do Belo Jardim (PBJ) and Paul da Pedreira do Cabo da Praia (PPCP). Main objectives were to determine their ornithological richness while also adding data to the overall knowledge of Azorean Avifauna and to monitor seasonal and between-year variation on species abundance.

New information

During a five-year observation period (2013-2018), a total of 82,985 birds belonging to 108 species/subspecies were observed. From this, 16,663 were in PPV, 11,793 from PBJ and 54,529 from PPCP. The total richness was 55, 40 and 85, respectively. Three species are first records for the Azores: Aythya americana (Eyton, 1838); Chlidonias leucopterus (Temminck, 1815) and Tringa brevipes (Vieillot, 1816). One species is a new record for Terceira Island: Lophodytes cucullatus (Linnaeus, 1758).


Aves, Azores, Terceira, Wetlands, Ornitofauna.


The Azorean Avifauna has been described in several publications, the most recent being Rodrigues et al. (2010), Rodebrand (2012) and Barcelos et al. (2015). Despite the fact that the Azorean list of breeding birds is short (37 species breeding and seven occasionally nesting; Rodrigues et al. 2010), as a consequence of dramatic extinction events (Rando et al. 2013, Alcover et al. 2015, Rando et al. 2017), those publications added numerous records of non-breeding landbird and waterbird species, particularly occasional migrant and wintering species. Those novelties are a consequence of an increase in birdwatching activity on several Azorean islands and an increased interest in rare Nearctic birds arriving to Azores (Alfrey et al. 2018), due to storms that divert birds from their normal migratory routes.

Three coastal wetlands from the municipality of Praia da Vitória (Terceira Island, Azores, Portugal) - Paul da Praia da Vitória (PPV), Paul do Belo Jardim (PBJ) and Paul da Pedreira do Cabo da Praia (PPCP) – were studied during the LIFE – Coastal Wetlands Restoration Project and are known as a high avifauna site attracting birdwatchers and which include an important number of species (Dias et al. 1991, Morton et al. 1997, Morton et al. 1998, Melo and Dias 2005, Pereira and Melo 2017). Pereira and Melo (2017) published a field guidebook on the bird species occurring in PPCP, highlighting the particular importance of this wetland for migrant species and regular and occasional wintering birds.

This manuscript is the third contribution in a series of papers that characterise the biota of the three coastal wetlands from this area (Borges et al. 2018, Gabriel et al. 2019).

General description


The aim of this work is to inventory the avifauna present in the three coastal areas of Praia da Vitória (Terceira Island, Azores), focused on the LIFE-CWR Project, Paul da Praia da Vitória (PPV) (Fig. 1), Paul do Belo Jardim (PBJ) (Fig. 2) and Paul da Pedreira do Cabo da Praia (PPCP) (Fig. 3), in order to improve our knowledge on the bird diversity that occurs in this area, detect eventual new species for the Azores and monitor seasonal and between-year variation on species abundance.

Figure 1.  

General aspect of Paul da Praia da Vitória (Photo by Paulo A.V. Borges).

Figure 2.  

General aspect of Paul Belo Jardim (Photo by Paulo A.V. Borges).

Figure 3.  

General aspect of Paul da Pedreira do Cabo da Praia (PPCP) (Photo by Paulo A.V. Borges).

Project description


Inventory of bird species in three coastal wetlands from Terceira Island (Azores)


The inventory was conducted during five years between August 2013 and October 2018 by experienced birdwatchers: Sofia Goulart, Mariana R. Brito and Sónia Santos.

Study area description: 

Terceira Island (area: 400.6 km²; elevation: 1,021.14 m) is one of the nine islands of the Azores archipelago, located in the North Atlantic, roughly at 38°43'49''N 27°19'10''W (Forjaz et al. 2004). The climate in the Azores is temperate oceanic, with regular and abundant rainfall, high levels of relative humidity and persistent western winds, mainly during the winter and autumn seasons (Azevedo et al. 1999).

Sampling methods


This study covers a small coastal area with 3.58 km extension between PPV and PPCP.

Sampling description: 

At the three wetland sites, more than 788 days of observations were carried out for a total of ca. 11,820 h of direct observations. Each observation lasted 15 minutes in which every sighted bird was registered. These were made by experienced birdwatchers (two to three researchers in the field each day) using a Swarovski 20-60 telescope and Opticron Verano HD 10-42 binocular. Photographs were made with a Canon 60D camera (a database and Photo repository is available at Whenever needed, several field-guides were used (e.g. Pereira 2010, Mullarney et al. 2012), as well as websites on Azorean birds, namely AVES DOS AÇORES, Azores bird sightings and Birding Azores.

Geographic coverage


Praia da Vitória marshes, Terceira Island (Azores), Macaronesia, Portugal.


38º42'09''N and 38°44'12''N Latitude; 27º03'46''W and 27°02'39''W Longitude.

Taxonomic coverage



Temporal coverage


Data range: August 2013 – October 2018.

Usage rights

Use license: 
Creative Commons Public Domain Waiver (CC-Zero)

Data resources

Data package title: 
Number of data sets: 
Data set name: 
Birds from Praia da Vitória marshes (Terceira, Azores, Portugal)
Data format: 
Darwin Core Archive
Data format version: 
version 1

In this data table, we include all the records for which a taxonomic identification of the species was possible. The dataset submitted to GBIF is structured as a sample event dataset, with two tables: event (as core) and occurrences. The data in this sampling event resource have been published as a Darwin Core Archive (DwCA), which is a standardised format for sharing biodiversity data as a set of one or more data tables. The core data table contains 2003 records. One extension data table also exists. An extension record supplies extra information about a core record. The number of records in each extension data table is illustrated in the IPT link. This IPT archives the data and thus serves as the data repository. The data and resource metadata are available for downloading in the downloads section. The versions table lists other versions of the resource that have been made publicly available and allows tracking changes made to the resource over time. In Suppl. material 1, we provide a simpler dataset with few columns in a single table.

Column label Column description
Table Event Table Event
id Unique identifier
type Type of the record, as defined by the Public Core standard
licence Reference to the licence under which the record is published
InstitutionID The identity of the institution publishing the data
InstitutionCode The code of the institution publishing the data
datasetName Name of the dataset
eventID Identifier of the events, unique for the dataset
eventDate Date or date range the record was collected
startDayOfYear The earliest ordinal day of the year on which the Event occurred (1 for 1 January, 365 for 31 December, except in a leap year, in which case it is 366)
year Year
month Month
day Day
islandGroup Archipelago of the sampling site
island Island of the sampling site
country Country of the sampling site
countryCode ISO code of the country of the sampling site
county Name of the county
locality Name of the locality
minimumElevationInMeters Minimum elevation in metres
maximumElevationInMeters Maximum elevation in metres
verbatimCoordinates Original coordinates recorded
decimalLatitude Approximate centre point decimal latitude of the field site in GPS coordinates
decimalLongitude Approximate centre point decimal longitude of the field site in GPS coordinates
geodeticDatum The reference point for the various coordinate systems used in mapping the earth
Table Occurrences Table of Occurrences
id Unique identifier
modified Date of the last modification of the record
language A language of the resource
basisOfRecord The nature of the data record
occurrenceID Identifier of the record, coded as a global unique identifier
catalogNumber Record number of the specimen in the collection
recordedBy Name of the person who performed the sampling of the specimens
individualCount Total number of individuals captured
organismQuantity Total number of individuals captured, as numeric
organismQuantityType The unit of the identification of the organisms
eventID Identifier of the events, unique for the dataset
identifiedBy Name of the person who made the identification
dateIdentified Date on which the record was identified
scientificName Complete scientific name including author and year
kingdom Kingdom name
phylum Phylum name
class Class name
order Order name
family Family name
genus Genus name
specificEpithet Specific epithet
infraspecificEpithet Infraspecific epithet, when available
taxonRank Lowest taxonomic rank of the record
scientificNameAuthorship Name of the author of the lowest taxon rank included in the record

Additional information

We observed and identified 82,985 birds belonging to 26 families, including 108 species or subspecies. Families Scolopacidae (32 species) and Anatidae (24 species) were the most diverse while three species corresponded to 47.8% of all observed/identified birds (Table 1): Calidris alba (18,856), Charadrius alexandrinus alexandrinus (10,726) and Arenaria interpres (10,074). The Order Charadriformes, with 63,671 individuals observed, corresponds to 75.7% of all birds from this work (Table 1). This abundance of waders is certainly an expected feature on wetlands. Eleven species were represented by a single individual observation and 38 by ten or less individuals.

Table 1.

List of Aves and their abundance in the three coastal wetlands of Praia da Vitória, Terceira Island, Azores, Portugal (Paul da Praia da Vitória (PPV), Paul do Belo Jardim (PBJ) and Paul da Pedreira do Cabo da Praia (PPCP), indicating Order, Family and both breeding status (b) and colonisation status (END – endemic from Azores; MAC – endemic from Macaronesia; n = native non-endemic; i = introduced).

Order Family Taxon Status PPV PBJ PPCP Total
Anseriformes Anatidae Aix galericulata 1 1
Anseriformes Anatidae Aix sponsa 1 1
Anseriformes Anatidae Anas acuta 302 1 96 399
Anseriformes Anatidae Anas americana 1237 33 1270
Anseriformes Anatidae Anas carolinensis 9 9
Anseriformes Anatidae Anas clypeata 1 1
Anseriformes Anatidae Anas crecca 94 235 329
Anseriformes Anatidae Anas discors 117 147 264
Anseriformes Anatidae Anas penelope 689 30 719
Anseriformes Anatidae Anas querquedula 14 16 30
Anseriformes Anatidae Anas strepera 22 22
Anseriformes Anatidae Anser cygnoides 37 37
Anseriformes Anatidae Aythya affinis 295 1 296
Anseriformes Anatidae Aythya americana 27 27
Anseriformes Anatidae Aythya collaris 531 6 38 575
Anseriformes Anatidae Aythya ferina 12 3 15
Anseriformes Anatidae Aythya fuligula 654 7 661
Anseriformes Anatidae Aythya marila 296 296
Anseriformes Anatidae Branta bernicla 7 3 10
Anseriformes Anatidae Branta canadensis 8 8
Anseriformes Anatidae Bucephala clangula 5 5
Anseriformes Anatidae Clangula hyemalis 4 4
Anseriformes Anatidae Lophodytes cucullatus 64 64
Anseriformes Anatidae Tadorna tadorna 14 14
Charadriiformes Charadriidae Charadrius alexandrinus alexandrinus b / n 7 529 10190 10726
Charadriiformes Charadriidae Charadrius hiaticula 9 964 973
Charadriiformes Charadriidae Charadrius semipalmatus 2 124 126
Charadriiformes Charadriidae Pluvialis apricaria 18 18
Charadriiformes Charadriidae Pluvialis dominica 14 14
Charadriiformes Charadriidae Pluvialis fulva 18 18
Charadriiformes Charadriidae Pluvialis squatarola 225 2970 3195
Charadriiformes Charadriidae Vanellus vanellus 3 3
Charadriiformes Haematopodidae Haematopus ostralegus 1 1
Charadriiformes Laridae Chroicocephalus philadelphia 1 1
Charadriiformes Laridae Chroicocephalus ridibundus 95 425 71 591
Charadriiformes Laridae Larus argentatus 2 2
Charadriiformes Laridae Larus delawarensis 12 12
Charadriiformes Laridae Larus fuscus 153 153
Charadriiformes Laridae Larus glaucoides glaucoides 13 1 14
Charadriiformes Laridae Larus hyperboreus 7 1 8
Charadriiformes Laridae Larus marinus 70 2 72
Charadriiformes Laridae Larus michahellis atlantis b / END 171 8893 731 9795
Charadriiformes Laridae Rissa tridactyla 2 4 2 8
Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Actitis hypoleucos 3 1 14 18
Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Actitis macularius 3 3
Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Arenaria interpres 7 10067 10074
Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Calidris alba 5 370 18481 18856
Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Calidris alpina 557 557
Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Calidris bairdii 15 15
Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Calidris canutus 902 902
Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Calidris ferruginea 671 671
Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Calidris fuscicollis 381 381
Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Calidris mauri 2 2
Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Calidris melanotos 98 98
Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Calidris minuta 355 355
Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Calidris minutilla 46 46
Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Calidris pusilla 1 556 557
Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Calidris temminckii 4 4
Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Gallinago delicata 2 2
Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Gallinago gallinago gallinago b / n 1 22 23
Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Limnodromus griseus 101 101
Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Limnodromus scolopaceus 3 3
Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Limosa lapponica 197 197
Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Limosa limosa 1 2761 2762
Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Numenius phaeopus hudsonicus 6 6
Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Numenius phaeopus phaeopus 21 474 495
Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Phalaropus fulicarius 2 84 86
Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Phalaropus lobatus 23 23
Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Philomachus pugnax 629 629
Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Tringa brevipes 15 15
Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Tringa flavipes 2 79 81
Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Tringa glareola 3 3
Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Tringa nebularia 16 16
Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Tringa totanus 2 210 212
Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Tryngites subruficollis 2 2
Charadriiformes Sternidae Chlidonias leucopterus 1 1
Charadriiformes Sternidae Sterna dougallii dougallii b / n 1 1
Charadriiformes Sternidae Sterna hirundo hirundo b / n 91 376 275 742
Charadriiformes Sternidae Thalasseu sandvicensis 2 2
Ciconiiformes Ardeidae Ardea cinerea 713 8 35 756
Ciconiiformes Ardeidae Ardeola ralloides 3 3
Ciconiiformes Ardeidae Bubulcus ibis 2 3 5
Ciconiiformes Ardeidae Egretta garzetta 67 19 25 111
Ciconiiformes Threskiornithidae Platalea leucorodia 5 5
Ciconiiformes Threskiornithidae Plegadis falcinellus 9 9
Columbiformes Columbidae Columba livia b / i 25 185 272 482
Columbiformes Columbidae Columba palumbus azorica b / END 76 43 5 124
Columbiformes Columbidae Streptopelia decaocto decaocto b / n 1 8 127 136
Coraciiformes Alcedinidae Megaceryle alcyon 5 5
Falconiformes Accipitridae Buteo buteo rothschildi b / END 43 4 44 91
Falconiformes Falconidae Falco tinnunculus 2 2
Falconiformes Pandiondidae Pandion haliaetus 1 1
Galliformes Phasianidae Coturnix coturnix conturbans b / n 10 10
Gaviiformes Gaviidae Gavia immer 5 1 6
Gruiformes Rallidae Fulica atra b / n 5077 5077
Gruiformes Rallidae Gallinula chloropus b / n 2930 2 5 2937
Passeriformes Emberizidae Plectrophenax nivalis 1 1
Passeriformes Estrildidade Estrilda astrild b / i 367 18 147 532
Passeriformes Fringillidae Carduelis carduelis parva b / i 196 13 19 228
Passeriformes Fringillidae Serinus canaria canaria b /MAC 61 136 88 285
Passeriformes Hirundinidae Hirundo rustica 9 9
Passeriformes Motacillidae Motacilla cinerea patriciae b / END 4 35 65 104
Passeriformes Passaridae Passer domesticus domesticus b / i 164 61 347 572
Passeriformes Sturnidae Sturnus vulgaris granti b / END 151 41 339 531
Passeriformes Sylviidae Sylvia atricapilla gularis b / END 22 13 35
Passeriformes Turdidae Erithacus rubecula rubecula b / n 1 1
Passeriformes Turdidae Turdus merula azorensis b / END 1950 72 176 2198
Procellariiformes Procellariidae Calonectris borealis b / n 1 1
Abundance 16663 11793 54529
Species Richness 55 40 85

Of all observed species, three are not referred to in Barcelos et al. (2015), which is the most recent update on the list of Azorean birds: Aythya americana (Eyton 1838), Chlidonias leucopterus (Temminck 1815) and Tringa brevipes (Vieillot 1816). One species is a new record for Terceira Island: Lophodytes cucullatus (Linnaeus 1758). Aythya americana is a Nearctic occasional migrant duck, Chlidonias leucopterus is a Palearctic tern and Tringa brevipes is a shorebird breeding in northeast Siberia. All other species have previously been recorded at several levels of relative abundance, both as breeding native (ten taxa), breeding Azorean endemic (seven taxa), breeding Macaronesian endemic (one taxon), breeding introduced (four taxa) and vagrant (87 additional taxa) (Table 1). About 15 out of the 21 breeding species are common with more than 100 individuals recorded in the three sites. Based on the Barcelos et al. (2015) classification of vagrant species, in the three sites we found: 45 occasional migrants, 21 regular migrants, 17 occasional wintering taxa and 26 regular wintering taxa. The Palearctic taxa dominate the community of birds (52 taxa), whereas Holarctic (28 taxa) and Nearctic (25 taxa) have similar but with half of the frequency.


This research was supported by the project LIFE CWR – Ecological Restoration and Conservation of Praia da Vitória Coastal Wet Green Infrastructure (2013-2018). Many thanks also to Rui Figueira for the creation of the Darwin Core Archive.

Open access was funded by FEDER in 85% and by Azorean Public funds by 15% through Operational Program Azores 2020, under the project AZORESBIOPORTAL – PORBIOTA (ACORES-01-0145-FEDER-000072).

Author contributions

EN conceived the original Project. JPB and PAVB conceived and drafted the manuscript. SG, MRB, SS and CP collected the data and identified the species. PAVB organised the final database. All the authors revised and contributed to the final text.


Supplementary material

Suppl. material 1: LIFE_CWR_Birds 
Authors:  Goulart S et al.
Data type:  Occurrences and abundances
Brief description: 

In this contribution, we present detailed data on the distribution and abundance of species belonging to several groups of arthropods in three Terceira island (Azores) wetlands: Paul da Praia da Vitória (PPV), Paul do Belo Jardim (PBJ) and Paul da Pedreira do Cabo da Praia (PPCP).

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