Like the rest of the wetlands located in the strip between the Baetic mountain range and the Guadalquivir Depression, this wetland area consists of three shallow lagoons: Zarracatín, Arjona and Alcaparrosa. Its seasonal nature makes it dependent on dependent of direct rainfall recharge; therefore, it is usually dry in the summer or during persistent drought.
This wetland’s landscape was initially densely populated with holm oaks, wild olive trees, carobs and gall oaks. However, the different civilisations that settled in this area virtually wiped out the natural vegetation through intensive farming. This is why the lagoons are surrounded by crops. The only natural vegetation that remains –tamarisk, reed and bulrush- is near the water.
Due to their location, these lagoons have high ecological value for avian fauna. They are essential as a roosting, breeding and resting area for numerous waterfowl during migration. Anatidae are widely represented, including mallards, northern shovelers, common teals and common coots. White-headed ducks occasionally visit the Arjona Lagoon, as do the flamingo in Zarracatín Lagoon and the purple swamphen in Alcaparrosa Lagoon.
Amphibian species present are the frog, common toad and Iberian painted frog. Mammals commonly found are rodents, rabbits, hares, weasels and, to a lesser extent, foxes, genets and badgers.
This Natural Reserve has been designated a Site of Community Importance (SCI ES6180001), a Special Protection Area for Birds (SPA ES6180001) and a Wetland of Andalusia.