email a friend
printable version
Location Jamaica, Trelawny Parish
Central coordinates 77o 40.00' West  18o 16.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A2
Area 63,937 ha
Altitude 100 - 700m
Year of IBA assessment 2007





Site description Cockpit Country-Central is one of three IBAs that lie within the Cockpit Country Conservation Area (CCCA). The other two IBAs, Cockpit Country-East (Litchfied-Matheson) and Cockpit Country-west (Catadupa), are separated from Cockpit Country-Central by rural communities, agriculture, and Class B road networks. The CCCA is located in west-central Jamaica and is the globally recognized type locality for cockpit karst limestone. The Cockpit Country Forest Reserve is the largest contiguous block of wet limestone forest remaining on Jamaica and is surrounded by private lands of disturbed broadleaf forest and agriculture. Surface water is limited except in low-lying areas because of the limestone geology. However, CCCA includes the upper parts of five major watersheds, and rivers originating from it account for approximately one-quarter of Jamaica’s exploitable surface run-off. The two largest rivers in Jamaica (the Black River, the lower portion of which is an IBA site, and the Great River) originate in Cockpit Country. Annual rainfall is 1750-3800mm.

Key Biodiversity Cockpit Country supports one of the richest assemblages of birds on Jamaica. Of the island’s 67 species of native resident breeding landbirds, 65 have been reported, including 28 of the island’s 29 endemic species and 12 of 14 endemic to the insular Caribbean. Thirty-eight migratory species have been recorded in Cockpit Country environs – 34 wintering Neotropical migrants and four summer breeding migrants. Cockpit Country is considered particularly important habitat for the globally threatened Ring-tailed Pigeon (Patagioenas caribaea) and Plain Pigeon (Patagioenas inornata). It is also the stronghold of the endemic Black-billed Parrot (Amazona agilis), supporting 90-95% of the island’s total population. The endangered endemic Jamaican Blackbird (Nesopsar nigerrimus) occurs in isolated pockets of Cockpit Country, notably in areas of high relative humidity. The Golden Swallow (Tachycineta euchrysea), an endemic sub-species, whose historical range included the Blue Mountains and central highlands, was last reported with certainty in 1989 in Cockpit Country. Neotropical migrant species that depend upon well-developed forest and woodlands include the Worm-eating Warbler (Helmitheros vermivorus), Swainson’s Warbler (Limnothylypis swainsoni), and the Louisiana Waterthrush (Seirus motacilla). Of additional ornithological interest is the presence of several species that make pronounced altitudinal migrations, nesting in mid- and upper elevation forest and extending their ranges into the lowlands and secondary-growth habitats during winter months (outside the breeding season). This pattern is most pronounced in the Plain Pigeon, which is endemic to the Greater Antilles, and the Rufous-throated Solitaire (Myadestes genibarbis), which is endemic to the insular Caribbean. Where rivers emerge in low-lying areas of Cockpit Country and are banked with vegetation, Ardeidae and Rallidae occur, along with Limpkins (Aramus guarauna).

Non-bird biodiversity: Giant Swallowtail Pterourus homerus (EN; Cockpit Country population is one of only two known populations; the viability of the second population, in Jamaica’s Blue Mountain’s, is poor because high mortality rates from a parasitic wasp); Jamaican Kite Swallowtail Eurytides marcellinus (VU); Cockpit Eleuth Eleutherodactylus griphus (CR; Alliance for Zero Extinction); Leaf Mimic Eleuth (CR; Alliance for Zero Extinction); Jamaican Boa Epicrates subflavus (VU); Jamaican Slider Trachemys terrapen (VU); Jamaican Flower Bat Phyllonycteris aphylla (EN; Alliance for Zero Extinction). Two crab species (Sesarma windsor; Sesarma fossarum) are restricted in range to the headwaters of rivers emanating from Cockpit Country; their status has not been ranked by IUCN. A minimum of 66 plants have ranges restricted entirely to Cockpit Country

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
White-crowned Pigeon Patagioenas leucocephala resident  2007  unknown  A1  Near Threatened 
Ring-tailed Pigeon Patagioenas caribaea resident  1998-2006  unknown  A1, A2  Vulnerable 
Plain Pigeon Patagioenas inornata resident  2007  unknown  A1  Near Threatened 
Crested Quail-dove Geotrygon versicolor resident  1998-2006  unknown  A1, A2  Near Threatened 
Black-billed Amazon Amazona agilis resident  2000-2006  15,000-19,000 unknown  unknown  A1, A2  Vulnerable 
Yellow-billed Amazon Amazona collaria resident  2000-2006  10,000-16,000 unknown  unknown  A1, A2  Vulnerable 
Chestnut-bellied Cuckoo Coccyzus pluvialis resident  2001  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Jamaican Lizard-cuckoo Coccyzus vetula resident  1998-2006  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Jamaican Owl Pseudoscops grammicus resident  1998-2006  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Jamaican Mango Anthracothorax mango resident  1998-2006  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Red-billed Streamertail Trochilus polytmus resident  1998-2006  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Vervain Hummingbird Mellisuga minima resident  1998-2006  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Jamaican Tody Todus todus resident  1998-2006  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Jamaican Woodpecker Melanerpes radiolatus resident  1998-2006  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Jamaican Becard Pachyramphus niger resident  1998-2006  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Jamaican Elaenia Myiopagis cotta resident  1998-2006  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Greater Antillean Elaenia Elaenia fallax resident  1998-2006  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Jamaican Pewee Contopus pallidus resident  1998-2006  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Sad Flycatcher Myiarchus barbirostris resident  1998-2006  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Rufous-tailed Flycatcher Myiarchus validus resident  1998-2006  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Stolid Flycatcher Myiarchus stolidus resident  2002-2005  1 individuals  poor  A2  Least Concern 
Jamaican Vireo Vireo modestus resident  2002-2005  18 individuals  poor  A2  Least Concern 
Blue Mountain Vireo Vireo osburni resident  2002-2006  6 individuals  poor  A1, A2  Near Threatened 
Jamaican Crow Corvus jamaicensis resident  1998-2006  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Golden Swallow Tachycineta euchrysea resident  2007  unknown  A1, A2  Vulnerable 
Rufous-throated Solitaire Myadestes genibarbis resident  2002-2005  11 individuals  poor  A2  Least Concern 
White-chinned Thrush Turdus aurantius resident  1998-2006  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
White-eyed Thrush Turdus jamaicensis resident  2002-2005  9 individuals  poor  A2  Least Concern 
Arrowhead Warbler Dendroica pharetra resident  1998-2006  4 individuals  poor  A2  Least Concern 
Jamaican Blackbird Nesopsar nigerrimus resident  1998-2006  unknown  A1, A2  Endangered 
Jamaican Oriole Icterus leucopteryx resident  2002-2005  11 individuals  poor  A2  Least Concern 
Yellow-shouldered Grassquit Loxipasser anoxanthus resident  1998-2006  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Orangequit Euneornis campestris resident  1998-2006  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Jamaican Spindalis Spindalis nigricephala resident  1998-2006  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Jamaican Euphonia Euphonia jamaica resident  1998-2006  unknown  A2  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

2006 high not assessed low
unset
Good - based on reliable and complete / representative data

Agricultural expansion and intensification annual & perennial non-timber crops - agro-industry farming happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Climate change and severe weather storms and floods likely in short term (within 4 years) whole area/population (>90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Energy production and mining mining and quarrying likely in short term (within 4 years) majority/most of area/population (50-90%) very rapid to severe deterioration high
Human intrusions and disturbance recreational activities happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Invasive and other problematic species and genes invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - named species happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low

Forest   0 0 moderate (70-90%) moderate (70-90%) unfavourable

Most of site (50-90%) covered (including the most critical parts for important bird species)  No management plan exists but the management planning process has begun  Some limited conservation initiatives are in place  low 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Cockpit Country Forest Reserve 22,344 protected area contained by site 0  

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest   70%
Introduced vegetation   5%
Other   25%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture major
water management major
rangeland/pastureland minor
fisheries/aquaculture minor
hunting minor
forestry minor
nature conservation and research major
tourism/recreation minor
other minor
Notes: Use for Limestone Mining

Protection status Seven Forest Reserves, encompassing approximately 29,000 ha, occur within Cockpit Country-Central IBA; the largest reserve is the Cockpit Country Forest Reserve (22,327 ha).

Further web sources of information 

Site profile from Important Bird Areas in the Caribbean: key sites for conservation (BirdLife International 2008)

References http://wrc.cockpitcountry.com/bbdbhome.php

Contribute  Please click here to help BirdLife conserve the world's birds - your data for this IBA and others are vital for helping protect the environment.

Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Cockpit Country. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 20/12/2014

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife