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Location Montserrat (to UK)
Central coordinates 62o 12.00' West  16o 47.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A2
Area 498 ha
Altitude 0 - 300m
Year of IBA assessment 2007





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.

Key Biodiversity 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.

Non-bird 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.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Bridled Quail-dove Geotrygon mystacea resident  2003  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Purple-throated Carib Eulampis jugularis resident  2003  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Green-throated Carib Eulampis holosericeus resident  2003  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Antillean Crested Hummingbird Orthorhyncus cristatus resident  2003  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Caribbean Elaenia Elaenia martinica resident  2008  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Scaly-breasted Thrasher Margarops fuscus resident  2003  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Pearly-eyed Thrasher Margarops fuscatus resident  2003  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Brown Trembler Cinclocerthia ruficauda resident  2003  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Forest Thrush Turdus lherminieri resident  2003  unknown  A1, A2  Vulnerable 
Lesser Antillean Bullfinch Loxigilla noctis resident  2003  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Antillean Euphonia Euphonia musica resident  2003  unknown  A2  Least Concern 

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest   major
Wetlands (inland) Rivers & streams  minor

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
not utilised -

Further web sources of information 

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

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Northern Forested Ghauts. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 26/11/2014

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