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Location Bahamas, San Salvador
Central coordinates 74o 30.59' West  24o 0.42' North
IBA criteria A2, A4i, B4i
Area 1,530 ha
Altitude 0 - 3m
Year of IBA assessment 2013

Bahamas National Trust (Partner Designate)

Site description San Salvador is a small island only 5 miles by 12 miles with a population of less than 1,000 persons. It contains a high proportion of wetlands.

Key Biodiversity The Great Lake occupies a considerable proportion of the inland of this island, accessable from only a few places. Here can be found Double-crested Cormorants, egrets and herons. West Indian Woodpeckers present on San Salvador.

Non-bird biodiversity: The Endangered San Salvador Rock Iguana is the smallest West Indian Rock Iguana and it is believed that there are only approximately 500 individuals survivors. They can be found on nearby remote cays and in the interior lake areas.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Sterna nilotica breeding  2006  5 breeding pairs  medium  B4i  Not Recognised 
Laughing Gull Larus atricilla breeding  2006  50-249 breeding pairs  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Bahama Woodstar Calliphlox evelynae resident  2007  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Thick-billed Vireo Vireo crassirostris resident  2006  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Bahama Mockingbird Mimus gundlachii resident  2007  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Pearly-eyed Thrasher Margarops fuscatus resident  2007  unknown  A2  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

2013 medium not assessed low

Residential and commercial development tourism and recreation areas likely in short term (within 4 years) some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium

Little/none of site covered (<10%)  No management plan exists but the management planning process has begun  Some limited conservation initiatives are in place  low 


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

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
not utilised major

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. Bainton, Aileen M. and Anthony W. White. 2006. A Bibliography of Birds, Ornithology and Birding in The Bahamas and Turks & Caicos Islands. Media Enterprises Ltd. Nassau, Bahamas. 96pp.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Southern Great Lake. Downloaded from on 28/10/2016

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