|Location||Montserrat (to UK)|
|Central coordinates||62o 12.00' West 16o 47.00' North|
|IBA criteria||A1, A2|
|Altitude||0 - 300m|
|Year of IBA assessment||2007|
Ornithological information The majority of the biome-restricted and restricted-range species that occur in Montserrat are found in this IBA. The Green-throated Carib occurs in this IBA at densities twice as high as those in the Centre Hills, reflecting its preference for lower-altitude and forest-edge sites. This IBA is also a relative stronghold for the Lesser Antillean Bullfinch. Antillean Crested Hummingbirds, Scaly-breasted Thrashers and Pearly-eyed Thrashers are all common, occurring at similar densities in this IBA as in the Centre Hills. Bridled Quail-doves and Purple-throated Caribs reach highest densities in the Centre Hills IBA, but are nevertheless regular in the forested ghauts. The Forest Thrush is absent or extremely rare in some of the ghauts contained within this IBA. Nevertheless, in some of the wetter ghauts, and those that have forest that is contiguous with the Centre Hills, it reaches densities comparable with those of the Centre Hills. The Montserrat Oriole is absent, and the Brown Trembler extremely rare in this IBA.
Site description Several of the streams (ghauts) that originate in the Centre Hills forest have a more or less continuous riparian fringe of native forest as they run through the open lowlands of northern Montserrat. This IBA includes the main forested ghauts; it is therefore a discontinuous series of patches. The wooded areas comprise tropical deciduous and semideciduous forest. The watercourses themselves are very small and there is no associated wetland habitat. The forested riparian areas are typically only 50-150 m across and are surrounded by agricultural and residential areas. However, several are directly contiguous with the large Centre Hills forest block.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Bridled Quail-dove Geotrygon mystacea||resident||2003||frequent [units unknown]||-||A2||Least Concern|
|Purple-throated Carib Eulampis jugularis||resident||2003||present [units unknown]||-||A2||Least Concern|
|Green-throated Carib Eulampis holosericeus||resident||2003||frequent [units unknown]||-||A2||Least Concern|
|Antillean Crested Hummingbird Orthorhyncus cristatus||resident||2003||common [units unknown]||-||A2||Least Concern|
|Caribbean Elaenia Elaenia martinica||resident||2008||present [units unknown]||-||A2||Least Concern|
|Scaly-breasted Thrasher Margarops fuscus||resident||2003||abundant [units unknown]||-||A2||Least Concern|
|Pearly-eyed Thrasher Margarops fuscatus||resident||2003||abundant [units unknown]||-||A2||Least Concern|
|Brown Trembler Cinclocerthia ruficauda||resident||2003||rare [units unknown]||-||A2||Least Concern|
|Forest Thrush Turdus lherminieri||resident||2003||present [units unknown]||-||A1, A2||Vulnerable|
|Lesser Antillean Bullfinch Loxigilla noctis||resident||2003||frequent [units unknown]||-||A2||Least Concern|
|Antillean Euphonia Euphonia musica||resident||2003||rare [units unknown]||-||A2||Least Concern|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Wetlands (inland)||Rivers & streams||minor|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
Other biodiversity The endemic sub-species Montserrat ameiva Ameiva pluvianotata pluvianotata (Teiidae) probably has its stronghold in this IBA. The endemic Montserrat anole Anolis lividus (Iguanidae) and endemic sub-species Southern Leeward dwarf gecko Sphaerodactylus fantasticus ligniservulus (Gekkonidae) are probably common. The endemic sub-species Montserrat black snake Alsophis antillensis manselli (Colubridae) and Montserrat blind worm snake Typhlops monastus monastus (Typhlopidae) may occur.Mountain chicken and Montserrat galliwasp have not been recorded. The northern forested ghauts probably hold a similar bat fauna to the Centre Hills, with all three of Montserrat's species of global concern occurring: Tadarida brasiliensis (Near-threatened), Ardops nichollsi montserrratensis (Nearthreatened endemic sub-species) and Monophyllus plethodon (Near-threatened)is poorly known. It is likely to hold many of the endemic forest insects that occur in the Centre Hills and possibly some distinct species that are characteristic of lowland, drier areas of Montserrat.
Management considerations It seems likely that rats Rattus spp. are abundant, and may have a significant ecological impact. Feral goats are widespread, and must have considerable effects on plant communities. Being close to human habitation, pet dogs and cats, and feral cats are fairly common, and may be important predators of some species. Invasive alien plants may also be a threat, but have not been studied. Rapid expansion of built areas in the north of Montserrat, as a result of the abandonment of the south has affected some ghauts, and is likely to have a significant impact in the next few years, both through direct habitat destruction and the increased presence of dogs, cats and rodents. These small forest patches are frequently considered to be 'wasteland', and there is some dumping of rubbish.
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2013) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Northern Forested Ghauts. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 26/05/2013
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