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Location Bahamas, Abaco
Central coordinates 77o 33.79' West  26o 53.44' North
IBA criteria A4i, B4i, B4ii
Area 41,165 ha
Altitude 0 - 1m
Year of IBA assessment 2007

Bahamas National Trust (Partner Designate)

Site description North Atlantic Abaco Cays covers the range from Walker's Cay southwards to Scotland Cay, excluding Great Guana Cay, Manjack Cay, Powell Cay and Spanish Cay. Gilliam Bay is located at the southeast point of Green Turtle Cay. There are extensive sand flats at low tide.

Key Biodiversity This site is a premier seabird nesting area. Most of them have to be birded from a boat. Bridled, Sooty, Roseate and Least Terns, Audubon's Shearwaters, White-tailed Tropicbirds, Magnificant Frigatebirds, Brown Boobies, Brown Noddies and many other species nest on these isolated rocks and cays each year. Gilliam Bay encompasses a large area of tidal sand/mud flats which is home to many species of resident and migrating shorebirds. It is suggested, if possible to bird this area by boat to avoid flushing the birds.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Puffinus lherminieri breeding  2006  105 breeding pairs  poor  B4ii  Not Recognised 
White-tailed Tropicbird Phaethon lepturus breeding  2006  86 breeding pairs  poor  B4ii  Least Concern 
Magnificent Frigatebird Fregata magnificens breeding  2006  50-249 individuals  poor  B4ii  Least Concern 
Pelecanus occidentalis breeding  2006  < 50 individuals  poor  B4i  Not Recognised 
Laughing Gull Larus atricilla breeding  2006  641 breeding pairs  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Roseate Tern Sterna dougallii breeding  2006  330 breeding pairs  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Least Tern Sternula antillarum breeding  2006  218 breeding pairs  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Bridled Tern Onychoprion anaethetus breeding  2006  1,386 breeding pairs  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Sooty Tern Onychoprion fuscatus breeding  2006  3,555 breeding pairs  medium  B4i  Least Concern 
Brown Noddy Anous stolidus breeding  2006  427 breeding pairs  medium  B4i  Least Concern 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Walker's Cay Marine Park 2,500 protected area overlaps with site 0  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Rocky areas   major
Sea   major
Shrubland   minor
Forest Mangrove  -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
tourism/recreation minor
not utilised major
urban/industrial/transport -
fisheries/aquaculture minor

Further web sources of information 

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

References White, A.W. 1998b. A Birder's Guide to the Bahama Islands (Including Turks and Caicos). American Birding Association. Colorado Springs, CO. 302pp. Kushlan, J.A. 2006. Seabirds Nesting and Conservation in the Northern Bahamas. Unpublished.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: North Atlantic Abaco Cays. Downloaded from on 23/10/2016

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