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Location Turks and Caicos Islands (to UK), East Caicos,Middle Caicos,North Caicos
Central coordinates 71o 46.51' West  21o 47.93' North
IBA criteria A1, A2, A4i, A4iii, B4i
Area 58,562 ha
Altitude 0 - 25m
Year of IBA assessment 2007





Site description The site is a wetland complex including a range of wetland and some linked dry-land ecosystems with important natural transitions between them. The site stretches along the wetland (mainly SW) side of North Caicos, Middle Caicos and part of East Caicos. Ideally, the statutory Nature Reserve should extend to ecologically linked dry-land and ponds in Middle Caicos, more fully to East Caicos, and reef areas on N and E (see IBAs TC002, TC004 & TC005).

Key Biodiversity Important throughout the year for the globally threatened West Indian Whistling Duck and Kirtland's Warbler during the non-breeding season. The area is important too for restricted-range species: Bahama Woodstar, Bahama Mockingbird, Pearly-eyed Thrasher, and Thick-billed Vireo, an endemic subspecies. The real numbers of breeding Gull-billed Terns is rather higher than in the table but only a small proportion of the area concerned could be accessed. Also other biome-restricted species: Greater Antillean Bullfinch, endemic subspecies, Stripe-headed Tanager, Cuban Crow (endemic to Cuba and Caicos Islands), as well as holding the largest colony of Magnificent Frigatebirds, in the islands. It is thought to hold on a regular basis more than 20,000 waterbirds therefore the site qualifies for A4iii status. Species greater than 1% of the bioregional population and thus qualifying for A4i status are listed below. Also present are Caribbean important populations of: Brown Pelican (150 individuals); White-cheeked Pintail (1,000 individuals); Sandhill Crane (3 individuals); American Oystercatcher (100 individuals); Wilson's plover (100 individuals); Laughing Gull (900 individuals); Royal Tern (150 individuals); Sandwich Tern (150 individuals); and, Least Tern (100 individuals).

Non-bird biodiversity: The wetlands are thought to play a major role in providing a nursery and feeding grounds for numerous fauna. They act also as land-protection against hurricane damage. The shallow flats where the seagrasses grow serve as major nursery areas of the inshore marine environment. They are the immediate recipients of nutrients produced from the mangrove areas themselves. The areas often do not contain many species, but some exist in high numbers. Thus the economic value of these areas, particularly with regard to edible species such as mullets and shrimp and sport species such as bonefish, is high.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
West Indian Whistling-duck Dendrocygna arborea resident  2005  unknown  A1  Vulnerable 
White-cheeked Pintail Anas bahamensis unknown  2005  1,000 individuals  poor  B4i  Least Concern 
American Flamingo Phoenicopterus ruber winter  2005  3,000 individuals  poor  A4i  Least Concern 
Reddish Egret Egretta rufescens winter  2005  400 individuals  poor  A4i  Near Threatened 
Brown Pelican Pelecanus occidentalis non-breeding  2005  150 individuals  poor  B4i  Least Concern 
Sandhill Crane Antigone canadensis winter  2005  3 individuals  poor  B4i  Least Concern 
Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola winter  2005  2,500 individuals  poor  A4i  Least Concern 
Wilson's Plover Charadrius wilsonia unknown  2005  100 individuals  poor  B4i  Least Concern 
Lesser Yellowlegs Tringa flavipes winter  2005  5,000 individuals  poor  A4i  Least Concern 
Short-billed Dowitcher Limnodromus griseus winter  2005  3,200 individuals  poor  A4i  Least Concern 
Greater Yellowlegs Tringa melanoleuca winter  2005  1,000 individuals  poor  A4i  Least Concern 
Least Sandpiper Calidris minutilla winter  2005  6,000 individuals  poor  A4i  Least Concern 
Sterna nilotica breeding  2005  60 individuals  poor  B4i  Not Recognised 
Laughing Gull Larus atricilla non-breeding  2005  900 individuals  poor  B4i  Least Concern 
Royal Tern Thalasseus maximus non-breeding  2005  150 individuals  poor  B4i  Least Concern 
Sandwich Tern Thalasseus sandvicensis non-breeding  2005  150 individuals  poor  B4i  Least Concern 
Least Tern Sternula antillarum non-breeding  2005  100 individuals  poor  B4i  Least Concern 
Bahama Woodstar Calliphlox evelynae resident  2005  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Thick-billed Vireo Vireo crassirostris resident  2005  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Bahama Mockingbird Mimus gundlachii resident  2005  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Pearly-eyed Thrasher Margarops fuscatus resident  2005  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds unknown  2005  20,000 individuals  unknown  A4iii   

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
North, Middle and East Caicos Nature Reserve 54,400 protected area overlaps with site 54,400  
North, Middle and East Caicos Islands Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 58,617 is identical to site 58,617  

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Coastline   major
Sea   major
Shrubland   minor
Wetlands (inland)   -
Forest Mangrove  -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research -

Protection status The area comprises Statutory Nature Reserve 17, and within this includes the overlapping Vine Point (Man O'War Bush and Ocean Hole) Statutory Nature Reserve 22. Its boundaries coincide with those of the Ramsar site, designated in June 1990. It is included in the TCNT Biodiversity Management Plan. Working with the local community, the Turks & Caicos National Trust, the UK Overseas Territories Conservation Forum and CAB International, with the support of UK Government's Darwin Initiative, have produced a Plan for Biodiversity Management and Sustainable Development around Turks & Caicos Ramsar Site (available at www.ukotcf.org). The main implementation of this by the Trust and its partners awaits some governmental procedures.

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 (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: North, Middle and East Caicos Ramsar Site. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 17/12/2014

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