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Location Jamaica, Saint Thomas Parish
Central coordinates 76o 21.52' West  17o 47.55' North
IBA criteria A1, A2, B4i
Area 8,080 ha
Altitude 0 - 730m
Year of IBA assessment 2007





Site description Yallahs IBA covers an elongated area along the south-east coast in the lee of the Blue Mountains, it forms part of two southeast watershed basins (16 & 17 Yallahs & Morant Rivers). The area is formed by a sedimentary basin through high-gradient streams depositing sediment and culminates in an alluvial fan delta. The Morant, Negro, and Yallahs Rivers have very small to small quantities of fresh water perennially available. However, there is a pipeline, located south of Llandewey on the Yallahs River, which transports about 26.7 million cubic meters per year (0.84 cubic meter per second) to the city of Kingston. About 13.3 million cubic meters per year (0.42 cubic meter per second) of water is also diverted from the Negro River to Kingston. These diversions may reduce these rivers to little more than intermittent streams in the dry season. Both the Morant and Yallahs Rivers have wide, rocky channels in their lower reaches with deep deposits of alluvium. These rivers may become intermittent in dry months, but then have torrential flows after moderate rains. The mid-to-upper reaches of these rivers have steep gradients, flow very quickly, and transport large amounts of sediments. Downstream, the river gradients flatten, flow decreases rapidly, and deposition of carried sediment. Artemia (brine shrimp) farming is considered for the ponds. The highest point is Yallahs Hill at 730m. Vegetation is degraded xeric (dry/fairly dry limestone scrub on alluvium below 380m), with small patches in moister areas near to rivers or in higher elevations where there is remnant mesic forest on limestone and higher up, on shale. Due to the position of Yallahs in the rain shadow foothills of the Blue Mountains, rainfall is generally low and the area is susceptible to stochastic events such as hurricanes, earthquakes and floods.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Least Tern Sternula antillarum breeding  2002  50 individuals  poor  B4i  Least Concern 
White-crowned Pigeon Patagioenas leucocephala resident  2007  unknown  A1  Near Threatened 
Ring-tailed Pigeon Patagioenas caribaea resident  2007  unknown  A1, A2  Vulnerable 
Crested Quail-dove Geotrygon versicolor resident  2007  unknown  A1, A2  Near Threatened 
Chestnut-bellied Cuckoo Coccyzus pluvialis resident  2007  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Jamaican Lizard-cuckoo Coccyzus vetula resident  2007  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Jamaican Owl Pseudoscops grammicus resident  2007  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Jamaican Mango Anthracothorax mango resident  2002  1-2 individuals  poor  A2  Least Concern 
Red-billed Streamertail Trochilus polytmus winter  2002  1-6 individuals  poor  A2  Least Concern 
Vervain Hummingbird Mellisuga minima resident  2007  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Jamaican Tody Todus todus resident  2007  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Jamaican Woodpecker Melanerpes radiolatus resident  2007  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Jamaican Becard Pachyramphus niger resident  2007  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Jamaican Elaenia Myiopagis cotta resident  2007  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Greater Antillean Elaenia Elaenia fallax resident  2007  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Jamaican Pewee Contopus pallidus resident  2007  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Sad Flycatcher Myiarchus barbirostris resident  2007  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Rufous-tailed Flycatcher Myiarchus validus resident  2007  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Stolid Flycatcher Myiarchus stolidus resident  2007  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Jamaican Vireo Vireo modestus resident  2002  12 individuals  poor  A2  Least Concern 
Rufous-throated Solitaire Myadestes genibarbis resident  2007  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
White-chinned Thrush Turdus aurantius resident  2002  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
White-eyed Thrush Turdus jamaicensis resident  2007  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Arrowhead Warbler Dendroica pharetra resident  2007  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Jamaican Oriole Icterus leucopteryx resident  2002  8 individuals  poor  A2  Least Concern 
Yellow-shouldered Grassquit Loxipasser anoxanthus resident  2007  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Orangequit Euneornis campestris resident  2007  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Jamaican Spindalis Spindalis nigricephala resident  2007  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Jamaican Euphonia Euphonia jamaica resident  2002  1-2 individuals  poor  A2  Least Concern 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Lloyds Block A Forest Reserve 8 protected area contained by site 0  
Lloyds Block B Forest Reserve 7 protected area contained by site 0  
Lloyds Block C Forest Reserve 7 protected area contained by site 0  
Lloyds Block D Forest Reserve 7 protected area contained by site 0  
Lloyds Block E Forest Reserve 9 protected area contained by site 0  

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Wetlands (inland) Coastal lagoons; Intertidal mud, sand or salt flats; Water fringe vegetation  85%
Shrubland Scrub; Second-growth or disturbed scrub  15%
Forest Mangrove  -
Introduced vegetation   -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
fisheries/aquaculture minor
Notes: Use for growth and production of Brine Shrimp at edge of smaller pond
agriculture -
Notes: Vegetable & fruit crops; coffee; sugarcane; pasture
water management -
tourism/recreation -

Other biodiversity Jamaican Kite Swallowtail Eurytides marcellinus (VU); Greater Fishing Bat Noctilio leporinus mastivus; Pallas’ Long-tongued Bay Glossophaga soricina antilarum; Jamican Fig-eating Bat Ariteus flavescens (IUCN Red List-VU); Jamaican Boa Epicrates subflavus (VU); A newly described crab species (Sesarma ayatum sp. n.,) is restricted to the eastern part of the island, it may occur here.

Protection status Includes Forest Reserve “Lloyds” (Blocks A-E) approximately 60 ha. Total terrestrial area is approximately 8,139 ha. Two adjacent ponds: the big pond is the larger and covers 80 ha, with a maximum depth of 1.5 m. is 10 times saltier than the ocean. The smaller pond is less saline than the ocean on the surface, but of equal salinity three feet below. Ponds are denoted as a Protected Area in the parish of St. Thomas.

Further web sources of information 

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

References Personal report from John Fletcher (2002)

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Yallahs. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 30/09/2014

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