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Location Cayman Islands (to UK), Grand Cayman
Central coordinates 81o 14.00' West  19o 19.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i, B4i
Area 3,553 ha
Altitude 0 - 2m
Year of IBA assessment 2007

Site description The site, a large, almost totally pristine wetland east of North Sound, covers 3,440 ha (30% of the island area) and includes Meagre Bay Pond (40 ha), Pease Bay Pond (6 ha), Malportas Pond (44 ha) and a mangrove islet, Booby Cay. The vegetation height and composition, of red, white and black mangrove and Conocarpus, varies in zones from dwarf monospecific red mangrove on the edge of North Sound to monospecific black mangrove forest on the outer southern boundary. There are many seasonal areas of open water and, interspersed throughout, are 'dry cays' with dry forest species. Malportas Pond is included in this site, although separated from the Central Mangrove Wetland, because whistling ducks breed in the mangrove fringe and a government-funded feeding station is located on the edge of the pond; it is also a major site for wintering and resident waterbirds.

Key Biodiversity The species of global significance are the Vulnerable West Indian Whistling-duck, with at least 1,500 individuals or 83% of the Cayman Islands' population, and the Near-threatened Cuban Parrot caymanensis with a population of 253-379 birds (about 5% of the global population) that breeds in outer monospecific black, black/white and black/red mangrove zones (1,145 ha). There are three biome species: the Greater Antillean Grackle caymanensis, West Indian Woodpecker caymanensis and Loggerhead Kingbird caymanensis. A total of 22 taxa breed including, in a mixed heronry, 500 pairs of Snowy Egrets, Little Blue Herons and Tricoloured Herons; Green Herons and Yellow-crowned Night-herons breed throughout, and there are colonies of White-crowned Pigeons, White-winged Doves and Greater Antillean Grackles caymanensis, as well as Northern Flicker gundlachii, Caribbean Elaenia caymanensis, La Sagra's Flycatcher, Barn Owl, Bananaquit sharpei and Yellow Warbler. Max counts on Meagre Bay, Pease Bay and Malportas Ponds are 55 pairs of Least Terns, 11 pairs of Pied-billed Grebes, 32 pairs of Green Herons, six pairs American Coots, 700+ Common Moorhens(breeding and migrant), 143 pairs of Black-necked Stilts and five pairs of Willets.It is a major wintering site for up to 75 Great Blue Herons, 233 Great Egrets, 1,200 Snowy Egrets, 800 Blue-winged Teals, 25 Northern Shovelers, 38 American Wigeons and 40 Lesser Scaups, 377 American Coots, 180+ Greater Yellowlegs and Lesser Yellowlegs, and flocks of up to 200 Semipalmated Sandpipers. Migrant raptors include Osprey, Merlin and Peregrine Falcon. Regular migrant landbirds include Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Grey Catbird, WhiteeyedVireo, Yellow-throated Vireo, and 21 species of warbler, most commonly Northern Parula, Cape May Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Yellow-throated Warbler, Palm Warbler, Prairie Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, American Redstart, Ovenbird and Northern Waterthrush.

Non-bird biodiversity: Endemic to Grand Cayman: Agalinis kingsii, known only from this site and the Salina.

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  1,500 individuals  poor  A1, A4i  Vulnerable 
Least Tern Sternula antillarum breeding  2005  55 breeding pairs  poor  B4i  Least Concern 
White-crowned Pigeon Patagioenas leucocephala resident  2007  unknown  A1  Near Threatened 
Cuban Amazon Amazona leucocephala breeding  2005  253-379 individuals  poor  A1  Near Threatened 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Central Mangrove Wetland Reserve 240 protected area contained by site 0  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Wetlands (inland) Mangroves  major
Forest Mangrove  -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
water management major
tourism/recreation -
agriculture -
fisheries/aquaculture -

Protection status The site is 19% protected under Marine Conservation Law, 7% owned and protected by the National Trust, 9% owned by the Crown and unprotected, and 75% privately owned and unprotected.

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: Central Mangrove Wetland. Downloaded from on 28/10/2016

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