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Location Cayman Islands (to UK), Little Cayman
Central coordinates 80o 2.00' West  19o 39.99' North
IBA criteria A1, A2, A4ii, B4ii
Area 136 ha
Altitude 0 - 3m
Year of IBA assessment 2007

Site description Booby Pond Nature Reserve lies on the south coast of Little Cayman behind the beach ridge at South Hole Sound. It comprises a seasonally flooded, enclosed hypersalinelagoon, Booby Pond (43 ha), with a broken black and white mangrove fringe and, on the north inland side of the pond, an area of dry forest. Thespesia populnea and Cordia sebestena var. caymanensis are intermixed with mangrove species on the pond fringe. The dominant dry forest species are Bursera simaruba, Canella winterana, Guipera discolour, Coccothrinax procterii, Ficus aurea, Myrcianthus fragrans and Plumeria obtusa.

Key Biodiversity The Red-footed Booby colony breeds in the reserve; there were 4,839 pairs (an estimated 20,000 birds) in 1997, which is more than 1% of the global population, and it is the largest colony in the Caribbean. The sulid population was estimated at 10,000 birds in 1888, 2,700 pairs in 1975 and 3,155 pairs in 1985. The birds breed on the north side of Booby Pond in the mangrove, shrubland and inland dry forest. A colony of 150-200 pairs of Magnificent Frigatebirds breeds alongside the sulids on the pond edge. Two Species of Global Concern breed: up to 20 pairs of West Indian Whistling-ducks and 20 pairs of Vitelline Warblers crawfordi. The biome species Greater Antillean Grackle bangsi breeds at the site with 35 pairs noted; the race bangsi occurs only on Little Cayman, having become extirpated from Cayman Brac after 1945. There are 31 breeding taxa: 16 landbirds, Caribbean Elaenias caymanensis and Bananaquits sharpei are fairly common. Indigenous species are the White-crowned Pigeon, Zenaida Dove Zenaida aurita, Common Grounddove, Mangrove Cuckoo Coccyzus minor, Smooth-billed Ani, Northern Mockingbird, Barn Owl and the Yellow Warbler, with summer breeding migrants the White-winged Dove Zenaida asiatica, Grey Kingbird Tyrannus domincensis, Antillean Nighthawk Chordeiles gundlachii and the Blackwhiskered Vireo Vireo altiloquus. There are 15 species of waterbird including, in a mixed heronry, max counts 250 pairs snowy egrets, 40 pairs Tricoloured Herons, 14 pairs Cattle Egrets, eight pairs Little Blue Herons and 25 pairs Yellow-crowned Night-herons. Max counts 20 pairs Least Terns, four pairs Pied-billed Grebes, 12 pairs Green Herons, 18 pairs American Coots, 230 Common Moorhens (breeding and migrant), 103 pairs Black-necked Stilts and five pairs of Willets.Key SpeciesA major wintering waterbird site for up to 500 Blue-winged Teals, 40 Northern Shovelers Anas clypeata, 18 American Wigeons Anas americana and 20 Lesser Scaups Aythya affinis, 300 American Coots, 40 Great Blue Herons Ardea herodias, 130 Great Egrets Casmerodias albus, and 300 Greater Yellowlegs Tringa melanoleuca and Lesser Yellowlegs T. flavipes, and flocks of up to 400 Semipalmated Sandpipers Calidris pusilla and Least Sandpipers Calidris minutilla. Migrant raptors include Ospreys, Merlins and Peregrine Falcons. Regular migrant landbirds include Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Sphyrapicus varius, Gray Catbird, White-eyed Vireo, Yellow-throated Vireo Vireo flavifrons and 21 species of warbler, most commonly Northern Parula Parula americana, Cape May Warbler Dendroica tigrina, Yellowthroated Warbler D. dominica, Palm Warbler D. palmarum, Prairie Warbler D. discolor, Yellow-rumped Warbler D. coronata, Black-and-white Warbler Mniotilta varia, American Redstart Setophaga ruticilla, Ovenbird Seiurus aurocapilla and Northern Waterthrush S. noveboracensis.

Non-bird biodiversity: Plants endemic to the Cayman Islands are: Allophylus cominia var. caymanensis; Cordia sebestena var. caymanensisand Cocothrinax procterii. Endemic to Little Cayman and Cayman Brac are: Chionanthus caymanensis var. caymanensis, Encyclia kingsii, Myremecophila thompsoniana var. minor and Phyllanthus caymanensis. Endemic fish: Limnea caymanensis and Gambusia xanthosma. Reptiles include Anolis mayardi, endemic to Little Cayman. Endemic to Little Cayman and Cayman Brac: Alsophis cantherigerus ruttyi, Cyclura (nubile) caymanensis (EN), Sphaerodactylus argivus bartschi and Tropidophis caymanensisis parkeri. The land crab Cardisoma guanhami is decreasing. Endemic molluscs: Cerion nanus (EN), Proserpinula lewisi, Alcadia lewisi and C pannosum. Endemic insects to Little Cayman and Cayman Brac include Diceroprocta caymanensis and Psammoleon reductus.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
West Indian Whistling-duck Dendrocygna arborea breeding  2005  20 breeding pairs  good  A1  Vulnerable 
Magnificent Frigatebird Fregata magnificens breeding  2007  150-200 breeding pairs  medium  B4ii  Least Concern 
Red-footed Booby Sula sula resident  2007  20,000 individuals  medium  A4ii  Least Concern 
White-crowned Pigeon Patagioenas leucocephala resident  2007  unknown  A1  Near Threatened 
Caribbean Elaenia Elaenia martinica resident  2005  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Vitelline Warbler Dendroica vitellina breeding  2005  60 individuals  poor  A1, A2  Near Threatened 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Booby Pond and Rookery Animal Sanctuary 192 protected area contains site 113  
Booby Pond and Rookery Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 82 protected area contained by site 82  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Wetlands (inland) Coastal lagoons  major
Forest Mangrove forest (tropical)  minor

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
not utilised -
nature conservation and research -
urban/industrial/transport -

Protection status Ramsar Site, 80% National Trust protected and protected as an animal sanctuary.

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: Booby Pond Nature Reserve. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016

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