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Location Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba (to Netherlands), Saba
Central coordinates 63o 14.17' West  17o 37.86' North
IBA criteria A2, A4ii, B4ii
Area 2,000 ha
Altitude 0 - 887m
Year of IBA assessment 2007

Site description Saba Coastline includes all areas from the waterline to 400 meters inland around the perimeter of this small island. Because Saba’s coast is composed solely of cliffs, Red-billed Tropicbirds can be found all around the island. This habitat also is appropriate for Audubon’s Shearwater, a species which is much more difficult to detect but breeds on the island. The IBA should include Rainforest Ravine, part of the proposed Saba National Land Park, the only site where nesting of Audubon’s Shearwater has been confirmed in recent decades. The only human settlements along the coast are at Fort Bay, where a dock, several buildings, a rock quarry, and landfill exist. It is also a Tropicbird research site.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Puffinus lherminieri breeding  2000  1,000 individuals  medium  B4ii  Not Recognised 
Red-billed Tropicbird Phaethon aethereus breeding  2000  750-1,000 breeding pairs  medium  A4ii  Least Concern 
Bridled Quail-dove Geotrygon mystacea resident  2006  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Purple-throated Carib Eulampis jugularis resident  2006  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Green-throated Carib Eulampis holosericeus resident  2006  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Antillean Crested Hummingbird Orthorhyncus cristatus resident  2006  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Caribbean Elaenia Elaenia martinica resident  2006  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Pearly-eyed Thrasher Margarops fuscatus resident  2006  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Lesser Antillean Bullfinch Loxigilla noctis resident  2006  unknown  A2  Least Concern 


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Rocky areas   -
Grassland   -
Forest Elfin; Second-growth & disturbed  -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
other -
Notes: Land use is limited to grazing by free roaming goats and quarry work around Well's Bay.
tourism/recreation -

Other biodiversity The single endemic vertebrate is Anolis sabanus. The gecko Sphaerodactylus sabanus has a restricted range. Hunting has caused The Mountain Crab Gecarcinus ruricola to now be considered endangered on the island. The bat sub-species Natalus stramineus stramineus is endemic to Saba.

Protection status The proposed Saba National Protected Area encompasses the coastal area around Sulpher Mine, a key Red-billed Tropicbird nesting site. It also includes the adjacent ghauts, or canyons, which are nesting areas for Audubon’s Shearwater. The Protected Area extends up the north slope of the island to the elffin forest near the peak of Mount Scenery.

Further web sources of information 

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

References Augustinus, P.G.E.F., R.P.R. Mees and M. Prins. 1985. Biotic and Abiotic Components Of the Landscapes of Saba (Netherlands Antilles). Uitgave Natuurwetenschappelijke Studiekring voor Suriname en de Nederlandse Antillen 115.Collier, N.C., A.C. Brown, and M. Hester. 2002. Searches for Seabird Breeding Colonies in the Lesser Antilles. El Pitirre 15(3).Hoogerwerf, A. 1977. Notes on the birds of St. Martin, Saba, and St. Eustatius. Studies on the Fauna of Curacao and other caribbean islands 54(176):60-123.Lee, D.S. 2000. Status and Conservation Priorities for Audubon's Shearwaters in the West Indies. Pp 25-30 in Status and Conservation of West Indian Seabirds (E.A. Schreiber and D.S. Lee, eds.).Society of Caribbean Ornithology, Special Publication No. 1, Ruston, LA.Rojer, A. 1997a. Biological Inventory of Saba. Unpublished Report. Carmabi Foundation. Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles.Stuffers, A.L. 1956. The vegetation of the Netherlands Antilles. Studies of the Flora of Curaçao and Other Caribbean Islands 1(15). Van Halewyn, R. and R.L. Norton. 1984. The status and conservation of seabirds in the Caribbean. Pp 169-222 in Status and conservation of the world's seabirds (J.P. Croxall, P.G.H. Evans, and R. Schreiber, Eds.). ICBP Technical Publication No. 2 Cambridge, United Kingdom.Voous, K. H. 1955.The birds of the Netherlands Antilles. Curaçao: Uitg. Natuurwet. Werkgroep Ned. Ant.Voous, K. H.1983. Birds of the Netherlands Antilles. 2nd ed. De Walburg Pers, Zutphen, Netherlands.Walsh-McGehee, M. 2000. Status and Conservation Priorities for White-tailed and Red-billed Tropicbirds in the West Indies. Pp 31-38 in Status and Conservation of West Indian Seabirds (E.A. Schreiber and D.S. Lee, eds.). Society of Caribbean Ornithology, Special Publication No. 1, Ruston, LA.Westermann, J. H., H. Kiel. 1961. The Geology of Saba and St. Eustatius, with Notes on the Geology of St. Kitts, Nevis and Montserrat (Lesser Antilles). Uitgaven Natuur Wetenschappelijke Studiekring Voor Suriname en de Nederlandse Antillen 24, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Saba. Downloaded from on 25/10/2014

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