Ilhéu da Praia
Located near the east coast of the island, this area comprises about 209 hectares of marine area and about 10 hectares of terrestrial area, which compose the islet.
At 1.3 kilometres from the coastline of Vila da Praia, the Ilhéu da Praia has a shoreline of 1650 metres in length, and its highest point has about 52 metres.
This islet has a flat south sloping surface, and formed from 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.
It is in this islet that the most important colony of seabirds of the Azores can be found, of which we highlight the Cory's Shearwater (Calonectris borealis), the Roseate Tern (Sterna dougallii), the Common Tern (Sterna hirundo), the Barolo Shearwater (Puffinus lherminieri baroli) and the Madeiran Storm-petrel (Hydrobates castro), among other species, protected internationally, that occur and nest occasionally. Here also inhabits the Monteiro's Storm-petrel (Hydrobates monteiroi), a marine endemic bird of the Azores.
In Ilhéu da Praia, the Azorean endemic flora is represented by Azorina vidalii, Daucus carota ssp. azoricus, Festuca petraea, Erica azorica, Spergularia azorica and Solidago azorica.
The access to the islet is conditioned by the Ordinance no. 65/2018, of 20 June.
This protected area integrates the Ilhéu da Praia Special Protection Area (SPA) of the Natura 2000 network and an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA) of the BirdLife International organization.