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Location Sint Maarten (to Netherlands), Sint Maarten
Central coordinates 63o 2.37' West  18o 0.73' North
IBA criteria A2, B4i
Area 278 ha
Altitude 0 - 20m
Year of IBA assessment 2007

Site description The site is a peninsula of land approximately 2.5 kilometers long. Fort Amsterdam is a registered historical site, composed of several ruins. The pelican breeding colony is located on the west side of the point, on a slope below the fort. Vegetation is characterized by thorny scrub, composed mainly of Acacia macracantha and A. tortuosa, reaching over 2 m in height. The colony was on the western side of the point, below the fort. A smaller group of about 10 pelicans has also nested on the eastern side of Fort Amsterdam.

Key Biodiversity The breeding population of Brown Pelicans at Ft. Amsterdam varies greatly between years. The highest count was 60 nests in 2001, which qualifies as regionally important to the Caribbean Brown Pelican population. The presence of nesting pelicans at Pelikan Rock is noted in the literature, but no mention of the Fort Amsterdam colony has been found (Danforth 1930; Voous 1954, 1955a, 1955b, 1983; Voous and Koelers 1967; Pinchon 1976; Hoogerworf 1977; Halewyn and Norton 1984; Rojer 1997; Raffaele et al. 1998; Collazo et al. 2000). The only exception is a note by David Johnston from the same year as the initial sighting in 2001 (Norton and White 2001). The size of the Fort Amsterdam colony would seem to make it more obvious than the smaller and more distant Pelikan Key colony. The area may have been overlooked in the past or possibly it was recently colonized. Regionally limited species found at this site include Green-throated Carib Eulampis holosericeus, Antillean Crested Hummingbird Orthorhyncus cristatus, Pearly-eyed Thrasher Margarops fuscatus, and Lesser Antillean Bullfinch Loxigilla noctis.

Non-bird biodiversity: The island endemic Anolis pogus may be present at this site.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Pelecanus occidentalis breeding  2001-2006  60 nests  poor  B4i  Not Recognised 
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  2007  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Pearly-eyed Thrasher Margarops fuscatus resident  2006  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Loxigilla noctis resident  2006  unknown  A2  Not Recognised 


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Shrubland Second-growth or disturbed scrub  major

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
tourism/recreation -
Notes: Fort Amsterdam is a registered historical site, which affords it some protection.
urban/industrial/transport -

Protection status Fort Amsterdam is a registered historical site, which affords it some protection. The adjacent resort has, in the past, attempted to expand the resort buildings over this registered historical area. Thus far, legal challenges to this action have protected the site. Public access to the site is controlled by the resort’s security checkpoint.

Further web sources of information 

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

References COLLIER, N.C., A.C. BROWN, and M. HESTER. 2002;COLLAZO, J. A., J. E. SALIVA, AND J. PIERCE. 2000; DANFORTH, S. T. 1930; HALEWYN, R. VAN, AND R. L. NORTON. 1984; HOOGERWERF, A. 1977; NORTON, R., AND A. WHITE 2001;ROJER, A. 1997;VOOUS, K. H. 1955a;VOOUS, K. H. 1955b;VOOUS, K. H. 1983;VOOUS, K. H. AND H. J. KOELERS. 1967

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Fort Amsterdam, Sint Maarten. Downloaded from on 27/10/2016

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