email a friend
printable version
Location Montserrat (to UK)
Central coordinates 62o 10.00' West  16o 42.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A2
Area 35 ha
Altitude 200 - 750m
Year of IBA assessment 2007

Site description Covers the one small patch of the original forests in the South Soufriere Hills that has survived the pyroclastic flows from the volcano. Despite being no more than 1 mile (1.5 km) from the Chances Peak volcano, an area of evergreen and semi-deciduous forest has remained intact. The area has been little explored since 1997, since it is in the exclusion zone, but fieldworkers were able to make brief visits in 2001 and 2002. The forest appears to be in good condition.

Key Biodiversity The site was known as a hot-spot for Montserrat Orioles prior to the eruption. During brief visits in 2001 and 2002 the continued presence of the species at relatively high densities was confirmed and fledglings were seen. Densities in Roche's Forest appear to be similar to those in the most favoured parts of the Centre Hills, and perhaps 50-100 pairs are present. Roche's holds the majority of the restricted-range and biome-restricted species that occur on Montserrat. During point counts in 2001 and 2002, Antillean Crested Hummingbirds, Scaly-breasted Thrashers and Pearly-eyed Thrashers were frequent; Bridled Quail-doves, Greenthroated Caribs, Forest Thrushes and Brown Tremblers were all recorded. Lesser Antillean Bullfinches were recorded in exceptional numbers. The Purple-throated Carib was not recorded.

Non-bird biodiversity: Many of the forest species found in the Centre Hills probably also occur in this IBA, but data are almost completely lacking, especially for the post-eruption period. Among the herptiles, the Montserrat anole Anolis lividus (Iguanidae), Southern Leeward dwarf gecko Sphaerodactylus fantasticus ligniservulus (Gekkonidae), Montserrat black snake Alsophis antillensis manselli (Colubridae) and Montserrat blind worm snake Typhlops monastus monastus (Typhlopidae) may all occur. Blankenship (1990) reports that the mountain chicken Leptodactylus fallax is absent from the Roche's area. The major insect sampling project that ran from 2000 to 2003 made brief sampling visits to Roche's, but in general the insect fauna of the site is poorly known. It is likely to hold many of the endemic forest insects that occur in the Centre Hills. An undescribed endemic long-horned grasshopper has been found in Roche's as well as the Centre Hills. There is also an undescribed, endemic soldier beetle (Cantharidae) and two undescribed, endemic darkling ground beetle species (Tenebrionidae) from Roche's. The bat fauna of Roche's is thought never to have been sampled. However, predictions are that Tadarida brasiliensis (Near-threatened) and Ardops nichollsi montserrratensis (Near-threatened) are likely to be present, unless the heavy ash falls in that area have adversely affected them.

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 
Green-throated Carib Eulampis holosericeus resident  2003  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Antillean Crested Hummingbird Orthorhyncus cristatus resident  2003  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 
Montserrat Oriole Icterus oberi resident  2001-2002  50-100 breeding pairs  medium  A1, A2  Critically Endangered 
Loxigilla noctis resident  2003  unknown  A2  Not Recognised 

IBA Monitoring

2014 high not assessed not assessed

Invasive & other problematic species, genes & diseases invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - named species happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest   major

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)

Contribute  Please click here to help BirdLife conserve the world's birds - your data for this IBA and others are vital for helping protect the environment.

Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: South Soufriere Hills. Downloaded from on 27/10/2016

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