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Location Antigua and Barbuda, Antigua
Central coordinates 61o 50.91' West  17o 8.61' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i, B4i
Area 78 ha
Altitude 0 - 2m
Year of IBA assessment 2007

Site description McKinnon’s Saltpond IBA is on the west facing coast of north-west Antigua, 3 km north of St John’s and just inland from Runaway Bay. It was once a mangrove-lined lagoon (the largest natural pond on the island), but a road along the western and northern seaward side has cut it off from the sea (except for a small culvert that allows limited exchange of water). The resultant increased water levels (now c.1 m deep) have killed the majority of the mangroves so that most of the shoreline is open (albeit fringed by the “skeletons” of the dead mangroves). Small stands of degraded mangroves remain on the southern and western (seaward) edges. A man-made causeway (accommodating fuel lines from a facility 3 km offshore to the storage area of an oil refinery) runs through the pond, isolating the southernmost section from the main body of water. There is extensive resort development around and adjacent to the pond, as well as private homes.

Key Biodiversity This IBA is notable for its waterbird populations. Numbers of Brown Pelican Pelecanus occidentalis and Least Tern Sterna antillarum are regionally significant, while those of Laughing Gull Larus atricilla are globally so. The Vulnerable West Indian Whistling-duck Dendrocygna arborea is often present at the site (although not all year) with 56 adults and 18 ducklings found in 2006. Little Egret Egretta garzetta breeds in this IBA: three nests found in 2008 represent a significant percentage of the New World breeding population. Numerous Neotropical migratory shorebirds use this site.

Non-bird biodiversity: The Critically Endangered hawksbill turtle Eretmochelys imbricata nests on the nearby beaches.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
West Indian Whistling-duck Dendrocygna arborea resident  2006  74 individuals  poor  A1  Vulnerable 
Egretta garzetta resident  2008  3 breeding pairs  poor  A4i  Not Recognised 
Pelecanus occidentalis resident  2007  110 individuals  poor  B4i  Not Recognised 
Laughing Gull Larus atricilla resident  2007  800 individuals  poor  A4i  Least Concern 
Least Tern Sternula antillarum breeding  2007  500 individuals  poor  B4i  Least Concern 


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

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
tourism/recreation major
urban/industrial/transport major

Acknowledgements Authors: Joseph Prosper, Victor Joseph, Andrea Otto, Shanee Prosper (Environmental Awareness Group)

Further web sources of information 

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

References Bacon, PR., (1991);Bunce, L., (1993);Caribbean Conservation Association. (1991);Lindsay, k. and Horwith, B. (1997);MacPherson, J. (1973);Martin-Kaye, P., (1969);Martin-Kaye, P., (1959);Pregill, GKD et al.(1994);Raffaele, H., et al. (1998); Spencer, W (1981)

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: McKinnons Salt Pond. Downloaded from on 28/10/2016

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