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Location Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba (to Netherlands), Bonaire
Central coordinates 68o 14.00' West  12o 6.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A2, A3
Area 2,076 ha
Altitude 0 - 10m
Year of IBA assessment 2007

Site description Lac Bay on the southeastern side of the island is a shallow bay protected from the open ocean by a fringing reef at its mouth. The only significant mangrove habitat (about 100 ha) on the island is located here. A small resort and two windsurfing centres are located on the south side of the bay and there is a small harbor for small fishing vessels (that fish outside of the bay) with a set of buildings and a bar/restaurant on the north side of the mouth of the bay. Scattered farms and homes ring the edge in the northwest corner of the IBA. The bay has become popular for a variety of recreational watersports (jet-skis and kite-surfing are banned) and for guided naturalist kayak trips among the mangroves.

Key Biodiversity Numbers of Greater Flamingo at Lac Bay regularly but less frequently exceed (several times per year) the 200 threshold. meets 1% global threshold for Yellow-shouldered Amazon (important roost location) • meets or nearly meets 1% regional threshold for Greater Flamingo, Least Tern Snowy Plover 14 adults at Lac Bay in 2001. Wilson’s Plover - The largest concentration noted in 2001 survey was of 8-10 adults at Lac Bay. Least Tern – Lac Bay was estimated to hold at least 30 adults in July 2001. Area was known to host a roost of approximately 100 Yellow-shouldered Amazons in Sept/Oct 2001. Lac Bay has historically been known to host breeding herons and egrets including Tricolored Heron, Reddish Egret, and Snowy Egret and likely Yellow-crowned Night-Heron. It is also the location of a night roost of Magnificent Frigatebird that historically is said to have sometimes numbered over 100 birds. On at least one occasion 10-15 adult male Magnificent Frigatebirds were seen displaying and defending territories in mangroves at Lac but no confirmed breeding. Up to 500 Black-necked Stilts have been observed in mangroves at the southern side of Lac Bay and small numbers undoubtedly breed here as well. The area is an important feeding area for non-breeding shorebirds of a variety of species including Semipalmated Plover, Black-bellied Plover, Red Knot, Sanderling, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper, Short-billed Dowitcher, Hudsonian Godwit, Whimbrel, Ruddy Turnstone and Willet.

Non-bird biodiversity: The lagoon is important as nursery habitat for various reef fishes and the CITES listed queen conch and contains seagrass beds used by sea turtles. Several scientific papers available on reef fish, algae, sea turtles.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Bare-eyed Pigeon Patagioenas corensis resident  2007  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Yellow-shouldered Amazon Amazona barbadensis resident  2001  100 individuals  poor  A1, A2, A3  Vulnerable 
Caribbean Elaenia Elaenia martinica resident  2007  unknown  A2  Least Concern 


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Coastline Shallow marine areas, coral reefs & keys  -
Sea   -
Forest Mangrove  -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
tourism/recreation -
urban/industrial/transport -

Protection status Underwater portion is protected with Bonaire National Marine Park with specific regulations related to activities within the area and use of natural resources including mangroves. Has been proposed to become formally part of National Park system. Lac Bay is a recognized RAMSAR site as well.

Further web sources of information 

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

References De Meyer(no date); Debrot (2006); Ligon (2005); Voous (1983); Wells, J. V. and A. Childs Wells (2006).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Lac Bay, Bonaire. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016

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