Sites - Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs)
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Cayman Islands (to UK), Grand Cayman
81o 11.00' West 19o 19.00' North
0 - 18m
Year of IBA assessment
Site description The site lies inland on North Side, bounded on the west and south by KY006, the Central Mangrove Wetland, and to the north by agricultural land. The dry forest has bothprimary- and second-growth trees with areas of grassland once used for agriculture. It comprises the largest area of contiguous dry forest in the Cayman Islands, with thehighest degree of endemism and biodiversity, having been above the sea for 2 to 2.5 million years; it also includes the highest elevation on Grand Cayman (18 m). It has retained its pristine nature because there is no road access; only two footpaths bisect the site. Dominant trees are as characterised in the general introduction to this chapter; rare species mainly confined to this site are Casearia sp. nov., Daphnopsis occidentalis, Sideroxylon foetidissimum, Terminalia eriostachya, Celtis trinervia, Jacquininia sp. nov., Jatropha divaricata, Dendropanax arboreus and Xylosoma bahamsense. It is floristically distinct from Cayman Brac and Little Cayman and, due to slight variations in elevation and the high water table, there are distinct vegetation zones of differing tree heights. The Mastic trail, a 2.5-mile traditional footpath and public right of way from north to south, was opened for tourism in 1994 with a grant from the RARE Centre for Tropical Conservation.
Key Biodiversity The extinct Grand Cayman Thrush was collected at the site by WW Brown in 1911 and the last individual of the extirpated Jamaican oriole was collected here by Bond in 1930. Key species include the Near-threatened Cuban Parrot caymanensis, approx 25-350 birds, and the Vitelline Warblervitellina, each more than 1% of the global population. Other common restricted-range species are the Thick-billed Vireo alleni, Yucatan Vireo caymanensis and Cuban Bullfinch taylori. Five biome species occur: the Caribbean Dove collaris, West Indian Woodpecker caymanensis, Loggerhead Kingbird caymanensis, Western Spindalis salvini and the Greater Antillean Grackle caymanensis. In total, 23 taxa breed, which are all of Grand Cayman's endemic races and indigenous landbirds except the Yellow-faced Grassquit: the Northern Flicker Colaptes auratus gundlachii, Caribbean Elaenia caymanensis, Bananaquit sharpei, and indigenous species White-crowned Pigeon, Zenaida Dove, Whitewinged Dove, Common Ground-dove, Mangrove Cuckoo, Smooth-billed Ani, Barn Owl, La Sagra's Flycatcher Myiarchus sagrae and the Yellow Warbler. The NorthernMockingbird breeds uncommonly in cleared areas.Regular migrant landbirds include Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Grey Catbird, White-eyed Vireo, Yellow-throated Vireo, Blue-grey Gnatcatcher Polioptila caerulea, Swainson's Thrush Catharus ustulatus, and 27 species of warbler, most commonly Northern Parula, Cape May Warbler, Yellowrumped Warbler, Yellow-throated Warbler, Palm Warbler, Prairie Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, American Redstart, Ovenbird and the rare Swainson's Warbler Limnothlypis swainsonii.
Non-bird biodiversity: Plants endemic to the Cayman Islands: Allophylus cominia var. caymanensis. Plants endemic to Grand Cayman: Casearia sp., Chionanthus caymanensis var. longipetala, Daphnopsis occidentalis, Crossopetalum caymanense, Myrmecophilia thompsoniana thompsonia, Dendrophylax fawcettii, Tolumnia caymanense, Jatropha divaricata and Dendropanax arboreus. Reptiles endemic to Grand Cayman: Anolis conspersus conspersus, Sphaerodactylus argivus lewisi, Tropidophis caymanensis caymanensis and Alsophis cantherigerus caymanensis. Lepidoptera endemic to the Cayman Islands: Cyclargus ammon erembis, Dryas iulia zoe (with Cayman Brac)and Memphis echemus danielana. Endemic to Grand Cayman: Heraclides andraemon tailori and Brephidium exilis thompsoni.