Semipalmated Sandpipers (Calidris pusilla) in the pools of the shrimp farms adjacent to the Delta del Estero Real WHSRN site.
Photo by M.G. Morehouse
Coastal wetlands of Central America provide vital stopover sites and wintering habitat for shorebird species such as Wilson's Plover (Charadrius wilsonia), Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus), and Semipalmated Sandpiper (Calidris pusilla). Among the critical sites for these and other many shorebird species is Delta del Estero Real, located within the Gulf of Fonseca in the department of Chinandega, Nicaragua. Its designation as a WHSRN Site of International Importance comes from its hosting more than 10% of the biogeographic population of Wilson's Plover (Charadrius wilsonia), making this the first WHSRN site in Nicaragua and the second in Central America. The area is primarily an intertidal mudflat and marsh with a strong tidal influence, surrounded by extensive mangrove forests, shrimp farms, and small fishing villages.
The appointment of this new WHSRN site was made possible by the commitment and coordinated work between the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources (MARENA) headed by the Minister Argeñal Juana Sandoval and Quetzalli Nicaragua, led by biologist Salvadora Morales.
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Ecology & Conservation
Delta del Estero Real has suffered some habitat loss or degradation from a variety of threats, including resource extraction, climate change (longer, more severe drought/rain cycles), and pollution from agricultural and domestic sources. Despite this, site partners generally felt that the overall ecological condition of the Delta is good, and that local authorities and surrounding communities are supportive of natural resource conservation.
Map of the Delta del Estero Real WHSRN site
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Juana Argeñal Sandoval
Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources