The Côa Valley Special Protection Zone, classified as such in 1999, essentially comprises the terminal basin of the Côa river, and is a mountainous area whose steep slopes extend along this bed and the Massueime river. It is, therefore, an ideal place for the rupicoline avifauna to seek rocky outcrops to inhabit. The populations of Egyptian vultures (Neophron percnopterus), black wheatear (Oenanthe leucura), golden eagles (Aquila Chrysaetos), griffon vultures (Gyps fulvus) and Bonelli’s eagle (Aquila fasciata) are of particular importance.
This classified area is characterised by little natural vegetation, where pre-forest woodland, cork oak, holm oak and juniper forests persist. These weeds are convenient environments for populations of small birds, i.e. perching birds, such as the spectacled warbler (Sylvia conspicillata).
The main sectors of activity having influence on the landscape are pastoralism and olive groves, almond groves and vineyards, which contribute to create a mosaic of habitats.
Within the Special Protection Area lies the Faia Brava Reserve, the first private reserve in Portugal, created in 2010 with the fundamental purpose of conserving the above-mentioned Egyptian vulture and Bonelli’s eagle, both endangered species. It covers an area of 5 kilometres composed of lands acquired for nature conservation and biodiversity.