|Location||St Vincent and the Grenadines, The Grenadines|
|Central coordinates||61o 16.78' West 12o 47.54' North|
|IBA criteria||A4i, A4iii, B4i, B4ii|
|Altitude||0 - 55m|
|Year of IBA assessment||2008|
Ornithological information Though data does not exist for species abundance, combined nesting populations may number several tens of thousands (D. Hazell, O. King and E. Bess, pers. comm.). The most populous of birds must be the Sooty Tern whose numbers are said to darken the skies as they migrate at the end of nesting season (D. Hazell, pers. comm.). They can also be seen in their thousands early in the mornings and late at evenings prior to and after foraging at sea. Thus, although access of the island can be dangerous, these large numbers are a feature that makes poaching attractive, because the returns for effort can be quite rewarding. Based on reports obtained on the size of the breeding population of seabirds on Petit Canouan, particularly that of the Sooty Tern (Plates 24 & 25) and Magnificant Frigatebird, this island is considered critical to the survival of seabirds on St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and by extension, the rest of the Americas. Accordingly, Petit Canouan easily qualifies as a category A4i IBA. The Brown Noddy is also a regular on this island.
Site description This small, uninhabited island is located approximately 5 miles (8 km) north-north-east of Canouan. Much of the island’s vegetation, which years ago comprised of Dry Scrub Woodland, has in recent times been converted to coastal grassland, with few shrubs intermixed. Portions of the island have been left bare and eroded. This phenomenon has been caused primarily by the annual burning of the vegetation to facilitate poaching of eggs by fishermen. This burning is normally conducted just prior to laying of the first eggs, at the beginning of the migratory season (March/April) (E. Bess and D. Hazell, pers. comm.). Annually, Petit Canouan supports the largest numbers of nesting seabirds, numbering several tens of thousand individuals. It is known among the poachers as the island for the “egg birds”. Law enforcement is limited on the island due to a lack of presence by enforcement agencies. The island is identified as a scuba diving site under the SPAHS.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Magnificent Frigatebird Fregata magnificens||breeding||2006||250-500 individuals||poor||B4ii||Least Concern|
|Brown Booby Sula leucogaster||breeding||2006||250-500 individuals||poor||B4ii||Least Concern|
|Laughing Gull Larus atricilla||breeding||2007||250-500 individuals||poor||A4i||Least Concern|
|Royal Tern Sterna maxima||breeding||2006||250-500 individuals||poor||B4i||Least Concern|
|Roseate Tern Sterna dougallii||breeding||2007||100-250 individuals||poor||A4i||Least Concern|
|Sooty Tern Sterna fuscata||breeding||2007||present individuals||poor||B4i||Least Concern|
|A4iii Species group - waterbirds||breeding||2007||-||poor||A4iii|
|Protected area||Designation||Area (ha)||Relationship with IBA||Overlap with IBA (ha)|
|Petit Canouan||Wildlife Reserve||0||is identical to site||418|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
|nature conservation and research||-|
Other biodiversity Data on the island's wildlife are unavailable.
Management considerations It is not known whether rats exist on the island but if so are likely to be a major concern particularly during the migratory nesting period. Egging is a common and destructive practice that occurs virtually unimpeded on the island. During the migratory period, buckets of eggs from the different species are removed. One fisherman indicated that there are so many eggs that they cannot all be harvested (E. Bess, pers. comm.). Additionally, over the years the practice of burning the land to clear difficult thicket prior to the nesting season has significantly degraded the landscape and exposed the already poor soils to increased erosion. Law enforcement and education on birds is poor on Grenadine islands. These issues will continue to be limiting factors to the success of any programme geared towards the conservation of bird species.
Protection status Wildlife Reserve
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 (2013) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Petit Canouan. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 24/05/2013
To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife