Extremadura is the only region in Europe with Special Protection Areas for birds (SPAs) in urban sites, with a network of urban SPAs in our region currently covering 23 areas of which 21 are wholly urban. Of these 21 areas, 19 have been declared as such because of the presence of lesser kestrels (Falco naumanni), supporting more than 50% of the Extremaduran population of this small raptor. It is these urban SPAs that have been declared because of lesser kestrels that this Life project ZEPA-URBAN aims to address.

Of the 19 urban SPAs declared because of the presence of lesser kestrels, 9 are in Cáceres province and 10 are in Badajoz province. As well as the presence of this bird of prey, all also have in common the fact they are in towns and cities with an undoubtable heritage value. Indeed, of the buildings listed as of cultural interest (Bien de Interés Cultural BIC) in Extremadura at least 30 support lesser kestrel colonies and lie within an urban SPA.

As well as the urban SPAs, the Life project ZEPA-URBAN includes within its scope another area in the Natura 2000 network. This is the SPA-SAC “Orellana Reservoir and Sierra de Pela”, which although has not been designated specifically for the presence of lesser kestrel colonies, it does include a small part of the urban nucleus of Puebla de Alcocer (Badajoz province) where there is a colony of lesser kestrels in the Convent of the Visitation.