Ilhas Desertas

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Ilhas Desertas
Aerial view
Aerial view
Waters Atlantic Ocean
archipelago Madeira archipelago
Geographical location 32 ° 30 ′  N , 16 ° 30 ′  W Coordinates: 32 ° 30 ′  N , 16 ° 30 ′  W
Ilhas Desertas (Madeira)
Ilhas Desertas
Number of islands 4 named
Main island Deserta Grande
Total land area 14.21 km²
Residents uninhabited
Overview map
Overview map

The Ilhas Desertas ( Portuguese for abandoned islands ) are an archipelago belonging (politically) to Portugal , consisting of the islands of Ilhéu Chão , Deserta Grande and Bugio , the rock Prego do mar and some unnamed small rocks. The small islands belong to the Madeira archipelago and the municipality of Santa Cruz in the district of the same name . The islands can be seen clearly from the southeast coast of Madeira . The archipelago covers a total area of ​​14.21 km² and reaches a maximum height of 442 m. Due to a lack of fresh water, drought and isolation, the islands are uninhabited. However, there is a research station.


Ilhéu Chão with Prego do mar (left)
Map of the Ilhas Desertas from 1851
from north to south
Prego do mar
( Ship Rock )
0.0003 49
Ilhéu Chão 1 98
Deserta Grande 10 442
Bugio 3 348
Desertas 14.21 442

The largest island is Deserta Grande . To the south of it is Bugio , the second largest island. To the north is Ilhéu Chão with the Prego do mar rock needle in front of it .

Research station

Research station on Deserta Grande

On Deserta Grande, the largest of the islands, there is a small biological research station. A short educational trail with display boards has been set up near them . From Madeira excursions are regularly offered, as part of which the nature trail can be visited.

fauna and Flora

The Ilhas Desertas have been under nature protection since 1990 and were declared a nature reserve in 1995, and in 2014 they were awarded the European Diploma by the Council of Europe . In addition to the guided day trips, visitors need a special permit to enter the islands, but this is only granted to researchers. The only purpose of the restricted access is to protect the approximately 25 Mediterranean monk seals ( Monachus monachus ) living here . There are only around 350 copies left worldwide.

The Cape Verde petrels that breed on Bugio are sometimes segregated as an endemic species Pterodroma deserta and are endangered according to the IUCN Red List. There is also the Canary Girlitz ( Serinus canaria ), the wild form of the canary bird , and the Canary Pipit ( Anthus berthelothi berthelothi ) , which is only found on a few Atlantic islands .

The very rare Deserta tarantula ( Hogna ingens ), a wolf spider (Lycosidae) with a body length of up to four centimeters, lives only on Deserta Grande . It occurs mainly in caves and crevices on the volcanic island.

The cruciferous Sinapidendron sempervivifolium is only found on the Ilhas Desertas, another 34 higher plant species of the Ilhas Desertas have been identified as endemic to the Madeira archipelago.

See also


  • Secretaria Regional do Ambiente e dos Recursos Naturais (ed.): As Ilhas Desertas / The Desert Islands, 2nd ed. 2007, ISBN 972-98431-6-3 , with additional bibliography

Web links

Commons : Ilhas Desertas  - Collection of Images, Videos and Audio Files

Individual evidence

  1. European Diploma areas: Awarded Areas in Portugal. Council of Europe website , accessed June 22, 2019.
  2. Pterodroma deserta in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2019.1. Listed by: BirdLife International, 2018. Retrieved June 22, 2019.
  3. ^ R. Jardim, D. Francisco: Endemic flora of Madeira. Muchia publicacoes, 2000, ISBN 972-8622-00-7 .