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Location St Lucia, Choiseul,Soufriere
Central coordinates 61o 3.19' West  13o 49.55' North
IBA criteria A1, A2, B4i
Area 1,617 ha
Altitude 0 - 777m
Year of IBA assessment 2007

Site description The Pitons are located on the southwest coast of St. Lucia, near the coastal town of Soufriere, and provide an area of outstanding natural beauty, spectacular geological features, and highly productive biological ecosystems. The Pitons Management Area (PMA) is a World heritage Site comprising of 2 majestic volcanic spires that rise from the sea to 777m and 730m respectively. The Gros Piton and Petit Piton are volcanic plugs that are part of our national and international identity. The area comprise of 1450 hectares. Communities within the PMA are Fond Jens Libre and Chateau Belair. Two resorts Ladera and Jalousie Hilton also lie within the PMA.

Key Biodiversity The species of national importance in this site include the following: St. Lucia Black Finch Melanospiza richardsoni, St. Lucia Oriole Icterus laudabilis, St. Lucia Pewee (Lesser Antillean Pewee) Contopus oberi (Contopus latirostris) , St. Lucia Warbler Dendroica delicata, St. Lucia Flycatcher (Lesser Antillean Flycatcher) Myiachus oberi sanctae luceae (Myiachus oberi ) and St. Lucia Wren (House Wren)Troglodytes aedon sanctae luceae (Troglodytes aedon). Other species that inhabit the area are: Banana Quit (Bananaquit) Coereba flaveola, Lesser Antillean Bullfinch Loxigila noctis, Black-faced Grass Quit (Black-faced Grassquit) Tiaris bicolor, Broad-Winged hawk (broad-winged Hawk) Buteo platypterus, Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis, Green Heron Butorides virescens, Grey Trembler Cinclocerthia gutturalis, Brown Trembler Cinclocerthia ruficauda, Mangrove Cuckoo Coccyzus minor , Common Ground-dove Columbina passerina, Red-Necked Pigeon (Scaly-naped Pigeon) Patagioenas squamosa, Caribbean Elaenia Elaenia martinica, Purple-throated Carib Eulampis jugularis, Antillean Euphonia Euphonia musica, American Kestrel Falco sparverius, Ruddy Quail Dove Geotrygon montana, Scaly-Breasted Thrasher Margarops fuscus, Antillean Crested Hummingbird Orthorhyncus cristatus, Carib Grackle Quiscalus lugubris, Lesser Antillean Saltator Saltator albicollis, Bare-eyed Thrush (Spectacled Thrush) Turdus nudigenis, Grey Kingbird Tyrannus dominicensis, Black-whispered Vireo (Black-whiskered Vireo) Vireo altiloquus, Zenaida Dove Zenaida aurita.

Non-bird biodiversity: Other endemic species found in the area include St. Lucia anole Anolis luceae and St. Lucia Pygmy Gecko Sphaerodactylus microlepis, Boa constrictor (endemic subspecies) Fer de lance; a newly described mollusc(?). The Pitons have also a very high floristic diversity, including many endemics, for St Lucia.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Royal Tern Thalasseus maximus resident  2007  < 50 individuals  medium  B4i  Least Concern 
Purple-throated Carib Eulampis jugularis resident  2007  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Antillean Crested Hummingbird Orthorhyncus cristatus resident  2007  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Caribbean Elaenia Elaenia martinica resident  2007  < 50 individuals  medium  A2  Least Concern 
Lesser Antillean Pewee Contopus latirostris resident  2007  < 50 individuals  medium  A2  Least Concern 
Lesser Antillean Flycatcher Myiarchus oberi resident  2007  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Scaly-breasted Thrasher Margarops fuscus resident  2007  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Brown Trembler Cinclocerthia ruficauda resident  2007  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Grey Trembler Cinclocerthia gutturalis resident  2007  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
St Lucia Warbler Dendroica delicata resident  2007  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
St Lucia Oriole Icterus laudabilis resident  2007  100 individuals  medium  A1, A2  Near Threatened 
Loxigilla noctis resident  2007  unknown  A2  Not Recognised 
St Lucia Black Finch Melanospiza richardsoni resident  2007  200 individuals  medium  A1, A2  Endangered 
Antillean Euphonia Euphonia musica resident  2007  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Lesser Antillean Saltator Saltator albicollis resident  2007  unknown  A2  Least Concern 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Pitons Management Area Other Area 2,000 protected area contained by site 0  
Pitons Management Area World Heritage Site 2,909 protected area contained by site 0  
Soufriere (SMMA) Marine Management Area 0 protected area overlaps with site 0  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest   major
Shrubland   minor

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
tourism/recreation minor
nature conservation and research major

Protection status The Area is a World Heritage Site and as a result the 2 pitons are protected while the surrounding lands are under some form of management. Part of the marine area is a marine reserve. The Wildlife Protection Act, The Fisheries Act and Crown Lands Ordinance all play a role in protecting the area. The protected area is contained by the proposed IBA.

Further web sources of information 

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

References Anthony D. 1977 Inventory of Flora and fauna of Gros Piton, St. Lucia. World Wildlife Fund /USAID /ENCORE St. Lucia Cox C. 1999. A rapid inventory of the Flora and Fauna of Petit Piton and the Ridge Between the Pitons. St. Lucia World Heritage Committee Jn. Pierre L.L. 1988. Report on the Status of the Flora and Fauna of the area of the Proposed Piton National Trust. St. Lucia national Trust Raffaele, H. Wiley J., Garrido, O., Keith A. and Raffaele J., 1998 A Guide to the Birds of the West Indies. Princeton University Press, Princeton New Jersey St. Lucia Biodiversity Country Report of St. Lucia. Castries: Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. 2000. St. Lucia Environmental Profile, 1991.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Pitons Management Area. Downloaded from on 22/10/2016

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