On the islands, Bonaire, Sint Eustatius (Statia) and Saba, collectively known as the Caribbean Netherlands, nine Important Bird Areas (IBAs) have been designated in recent years. The IBA programme is an initiative of BirdLife International aimed at identifying, monitoring and protecting a network of key sites for the conservation of the world's birds. A new report describes the boundaries, ecological values and threats to each IBA.
Photo: Red-billed Tropicbird (Phaethon aethereus)
In total 18 trigger species occur in the nine IBAs in the Caribbean Netherlands. The IBAs on the Leeward islands of Saba and Sint Eustatius host ten and eleven bird species respectively.
On Saba one IBA is identified: Saba coastlineA. Its value is especially based on breeding seabirds, most importantly the Red-billed Tropicbird and the Audubon’s Shearwater, species with a high conservation priority. The Saba Coastline is the only IBA in the Caribbean Netherlands that qualifies for Audubon’s Shearwater. Saba’s IBA qualifies for another seven species which are all year-round residents with a restricted world’s breeding distribution. Key threats are predation of seabirds by cats and rats.
On Sint Eustatius two IBAs are identified: Boven and The Quill. Sint Eustatius is important for the breeding seabird Red-billed Tropicbird, as well as another eight species: Bridled Quail-dove, hummingbirds and songbirds with a restricted range. The problems caused by cats and rats are much less acute on Statia than on Saba.
On Bonaire six IBAs are identified: Washington-Slagbaai National Park, Dos Pos, Washikemba-Fontein-Onima, Klein Bonaire, Lac Bay and Pekelmeer Saltworks. The IBAs on the Windward island of Bonaire host ten trigger species. Some of Bonaire’s IBAs are important for breeding seabird species with a high conservation priority like Royal, Sandwich, Common and Least Tern. Furthermore Bonaire’s IBAs are important for a number of species with a restricted range, of which Caribbean Coot and Yellow-shouldered Amazon have a high conservation priority. Threats differ per IBA, but the major threats are erosion and habitat loss, over grazing by goats and donkeys, predation by cats and rats and poaching of parrots.