Ilhéu da Praia
With a land area of 9.98 hectares and 208.63 hectares of marine area, the Ilhéu da Praia (islet) has a maximum height of 52 metres and a shoreline of 1650 metres in length.
This islet, with a flat south sloping surface, is formed by a basaltic lava flow which erupting centre is placed on the islet’s north side – at a higher elevation point – as a volcanic neck. This lava flow is covered with pyroclastic materials of different origins, mainly from the Caldeira’s central volcano.
In this islet of basaltic origin is the most important colony of seabirds of the Azores, of which we highlight the Calonectris borealis, the Sterna dougallii, the Sterna hirundo, the Puffinus lherminieri baroli and the Hydrobates castro, among other species, protected internationally, that occur and nest occasionally. Here is born the Hydrobates monteiroi, a marine endemic bird of Graciosa islets.
In Ilhéu da Praia (islet) it is possible to find examples of Azorean endemic flora, such as Azorina vidalii, Daucus carota Azoricus, Festuca petraea, Erica azorica, Spergularia azorica and Solidago azorica, and endemic flora of Macaronesia, namely Tolpis succulent and Morella faya.
The access to the islet is conditioned by the Ordinance no. 65/2018, of 20 June.
This protected area has the statute of Special Protection Area (SPA), of the Natura 2000 network, as well as the statutes of Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA) Ilhéu da Praia, of the BirdLife International organization/SPEA (Portuguese Society for the Study of Birds), and of Nucleus Zone of the Biosphere Reserve.