|Location||Jamaica, Saint Thomas Parish|
|Central coordinates||76o 21.52' West 17o 47.55' North|
|IBA criteria||A1, A2, B4i|
|Altitude||0 - 730m|
|Year of IBA assessment||2007|
Ornithological information Yallahs supports a diversity of bird life – the suite of terrestrial species is not distinctive, but it is an important staging point for terrestrial migrants both arriving and departing, also for migrant sea and shore birds; and for nesting of some sea and shore birds. Notable migrants have been the Greater Flamingo and Roseate Spoonbill. The near threatened Plain Pigeon (Patagioenas inornata) has been observed here, and the invasive host parasite Shiny Cowbird (Molothrus bonariensis) was first recorded in the wild in scrub beside the ponds.
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.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Least Tern Sterna antillarum||breeding||2002||50 individuals||poor||B4i||Least Concern|
|White-crowned Pigeon Patagioenas leucocephala||resident||2007||present [units unknown]||-||A1||Near Threatened|
|Ring-tailed Pigeon Patagioenas caribaea||resident||2007||present [units unknown]||-||A1, A2||Vulnerable|
|Crested Quail-dove Geotrygon versicolor||resident||2007||present [units unknown]||-||A1, A2||Near Threatened|
|Chestnut-bellied Cuckoo Coccyzus pluvialis||resident||2007||-||-||A2||Least Concern|
|Jamaican Lizard-cuckoo Coccyzus vetula||resident||2007||-||-||A2||Least Concern|
|Jamaican Owl Pseudoscops grammicus||resident||2007||present [units 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||-||-||A2||Least Concern|
|Jamaican Tody Todus todus||resident||2007||-||-||A2||Least Concern|
|Jamaican Woodpecker Melanerpes radiolatus||resident||2007||-||-||A2||Least Concern|
|Jamaican Becard Pachyramphus niger||resident||2007||-||-||A2||Least Concern|
|Jamaican Elaenia Myiopagis cotta||resident||2007||-||-||A2||Least Concern|
|Greater Antillean Elaenia Elaenia fallax||resident||2007||-||-||A2||Least Concern|
|Jamaican Pewee Contopus pallidus||resident||2007||-||-||A2||Least Concern|
|Sad Flycatcher Myiarchus barbirostris||resident||2007||-||-||A2||Least Concern|
|Rufous-tailed Flycatcher Myiarchus validus||resident||2007||-||-||A2||Least Concern|
|Stolid Flycatcher Myiarchus stolidus||resident||2007||-||-||A2||Least Concern|
|Jamaican Vireo Vireo modestus||resident||2002||12 individuals||poor||A2||Least Concern|
|Rufous-throated Solitaire Myadestes genibarbis||resident||2007||-||-||A2||Least Concern|
|White-chinned Thrush Turdus aurantius||resident||2002||present [units unknown]||-||A2||Least Concern|
|White-eyed Thrush Turdus jamaicensis||resident||2007||-||-||A2||Least Concern|
|Arrowhead Warbler Dendroica pharetra||resident||2007||-||-||A2||Least Concern|
|Jamaican Oriole Icterus leucopteryx||resident||2002||8 individuals||poor||A2||Least Concern|
|Yellow-shouldered Grassquit Loxipasser anoxanthus||resident||2007||-||-||A2||Least Concern|
|Orangequit Euneornis campestris||resident||2007||-||-||A2||Least Concern|
|Jamaican Spindalis Spindalis nigricephala||resident||2007||-||-||A2||Least Concern|
|Jamaican Euphonia Euphonia jamaica||resident||2002||1-2 individuals||poor||A2||Least Concern|
|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|
|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%|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
|Notes: Use for growth and production of Brine Shrimp at edge of smaller pond|
|Notes: Vegetable & fruit crops; coffee; sugarcane; pasture|
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.
Management considerations The major threat to the Yallahs IBA is human development and limestone and sand/gravel quarrying; there are also deposits of high-grade gypsum and marble. Other threats include clearing for agriculture and the encroachment of non-native plant species. All Forest Reserves are designated as Game Reserves but illegal shooting during the gamebird hunting season occurs along access roads and trails. None of the areas around the ponds is considered a game reserve and hunting occurs there regularly, although they are denoted as a Protected Area in the parish of St. Thomas. Some conservation and public awareness efforts are currently underway through NGOs (e.g. replanting of mangroves; tree-planting project, funded by EFJ, by the Yallahs Development Area Committee). These may be the genesis of Site Support Groups.
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.
Conservation response Not available.
References Personal report from John Fletcher (2002)
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2013) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Yallahs. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 19/06/2013
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