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Location Virgin Islands (to UK)
Central coordinates 64o 16.95' West  18o 42.07' North
IBA criteria A2, A4i, B4i, B4ii
Area 4,000 ha
Altitude 0 - 5m
Year of IBA assessment 2014

Site description Anegada is a flat limestone island and has a different landscape from the other islands within the British Virgin Islands. The soils are shallow and alkaline, predominantly composed of calcium carbonate and detritus. Rainfall is approximately 800mm or less throughout the island and as a result, the vegetation is mainly xerophytic, coastal scrub and dry woodland. Mangroves, primarily Red Mangrove, fringe much of the south and east coast and interior wetlands. The western sandy plain consists of edaphic and xeric vegetation. It has the most diverse range of flora including the yellow prickle, Guaiacum sp, and loblollies, Pisonia sp. The entire north coast is sandy beach with calcareous sediments. They are fringed by littoral hedges such as Bay Cedar, and Sea Grape. The IBA covers the networks of salt ponds in the eastern and western ends of the island including the mangrove network that provide important habitats for migratory and resident birds. The Flamingo Pond, a salt pond of over 445 hectares on the Western end of the island was declared as the Anegada Nature Reserve in 1977 and a RAMSAR site in 1999. The extensive ponds on the eastern end of the island with large stands of pristine mangrove are presently unprotected.

Key Biodiversity The extensive salt ponds and wetlands of Anegada provide important habitats for a variety of waterbirds especially the Greater Flamingo and the West Indian Whistling-Duck, which were both extirpated by the early 20th century. However, a successful reintroduction of the Greater Flamingo consisting of 20 birds was launched in 1990 and subsequently began nesting in 1995, expanding the colony currently to over 80 birds. The wetlands are an important habitat for herons and egrets and water birds such as the White-cheeked Pintail. Anegada contains ideal habitats for the Piping Plover, which has been recorded in the past, additionally several species of shorebirds nest on the flats, such as the Snowy Plover, Wilson's Plover, and Black-necked Stilt. Terns, including the Royal Tern, Sandwich Tern, Gull-billed Tern, Roseate Tern, Common Tern, and Least Tern, either nest on Anegada or feed in the salt ponds and surrounding waters. It is thought the IBA may be found to qualify in the future for the A4i and A4iii criteria but data is currently lacking. Anegada is also an important habitat for land birds such as the permanent residents characteristic of mangrove and coastal scrub. These include the Green-throated Carib, Antillean Crested Hummingbird, and Puerto Rican Flycatcher, which occur throughout the island.

Non-bird biodiversity: While the extensive mangrove and arid coastal habitats are typically West Indian, the island does support endemic wildlife. Plants such as the Anegada Acacia, Acacia anegadensis (CR), and Cyanchum anegadense, are known only on this island, although additional plant species, rare and endangered in other locales, are found here.Anegada is home to the critically endangered Rock Iguana, Cyclura pinguis which is currently being rehabilitated through the conservation efforts of the Trust and its international partners.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Pelecanus occidentalis resident  2007  27 individuals  poor  B4i  Not Recognised 
Sula dactylatra non-breeding  2007  18 individuals  poor  B4ii  Not Recognised 
Laughing Gull Larus atricilla breeding  2007  150 individuals  poor  B4i  Least Concern 
Royal Tern Thalasseus maximus resident  2007  21 individuals  poor  B4i  Least Concern 
Sandwich Tern Thalasseus sandvicensis resident  2007  275 individuals  poor  B4i  Least Concern 
Roseate Tern Sterna dougallii breeding  2007  157 individuals  poor  A4i  Least Concern 
Least Tern Sternula antillarum breeding  2005  60 breeding pairs  poor  B4i  Least Concern 
Anthracothorax dominicus resident  2007  unknown  A2  Not Recognised 
Green-throated Carib Eulampis holosericeus resident  2005  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Antillean Crested Hummingbird Orthorhyncus cristatus resident  2005  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Caribbean Elaenia Elaenia martinica resident  2007  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Puerto Rican Flycatcher Myiarchus antillarum resident  2005  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Pearly-eyed Thrasher Margarops fuscatus resident  2007  unknown  A2  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

2014 high not assessed not assessed

Invasive & other problematic species, genes & diseases invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - named species happening now whole area/population (>90%) slow but significant deterioration high
Residential and commercial development tourism and recreation areas likely in short term (within 4 years) some of area/population (10-49%) very rapid to severe deterioration high


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Sea Sand dunes and beaches - coastal; Shallow marine waters  major
Forest Mangrove  major
Shrubland Scrub  major

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research -
not utilised -
tourism/recreation minor

Further web sources of information 

Site profile from Important Bird Areas in the Caribbean: key sites for conservation (BirdLife International 2008)

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Anegada: Western salt ponds and coastal areas. Downloaded from on 27/10/2016

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