Important Bird Areas: Turks and Caicos Islands

Published on 09 May 2019 in Main articles

By Kathleen Wood

Abstract The UK Overseas Territory of Turks and Caicos Islands in the West Indies is home to 58 native breeding species. Of these, six are range-restricted species and include two endemic subspecies: Thick-billed Vireo Vireo crassirostris stalagmium and Greater Antillean Bullfinch Loxigilla violacea ofella. The islands are also home to regionally important breeding colonies of gulls, terns and other seabirds, and support populations of the Vulnerable West Indian Whistling Duck Dendrocygna arborea and Near Threatened Reddish Egret Egretta rufescens. A further 110 species regularly occur as passage migrants or winter visitors, of which wintering numbers of the Near Threatened Piping Plover Charadrius melodus are of particular importance. Nine IBAs extending to 247,142 ha incorporate a diverse range of habitats and form the largest protected areas network in the West Indies. Threats to the islands, and in particular to the IBAs, including the impact of alien invasive species, tourism and tropical cyclones, are discussed.

To read the issue in full, you can subscribe to BB here

Big Sand Cay, TCI, March 2003. Part of IBA TC008 (Turks Bank Seabird Cays), Big Sand Cay is a statutory Sanctuary and an important breeding site for Sooty Terns Sterna fuscatus. The island’s beaches are also important nesting areas for Critically Endangered Hawksbill Turtles Eretmochelys imbricata. Kathleen Wood