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Location Bahamas, Exumas
Central coordinates 76o 37.99' West  24o 24.05' North
IBA criteria A4ii, B4i, B4ii
Area 60,827 ha
Altitude 0 - 3m
Year of IBA assessment 2007

Bahamas National Trust (Partner Designate)

Site description The Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park is the first of its kind in the world. It covers 176 square miles beginning at Wax Cay Cut in the north and stretching some 22 miles southward to Conch Cut and extending out approximately four nautical miles on either side of the cays. It is a no-take zone by both land and sea - nothing living or dead, can be removed from the park. The headquarters building and visitors centre is located on Warderick Wells and several moorings sites are situated throughout the park.

Key Biodiversity During April to August each year these isolated cays become home to many species of nesting seabirds.The eastern cliffs of Shroud Cay hosts a large colony of White-tailed Tropicbirds and Clapper rails and Yellow Warblers nest in the mangrove wetlands. The largest known colony of nesting Audubon's Shearwaters in the Exumas is found on Long Rock (also called Long Cay). These birds are nocturnal, they only come ashore as night. The birding highlight on Warderick Wells is the colony of White-tailed Tropicbirds nesting in the seaward cliffs at the north end of the island. Least Terns and Wilson's Plovers also nest here. Other resident birds you are likely to see in the ECLSP are; Bahama Mockingbird, Common Ground Dove, Zenaida Dove, Thick-billed Vireo, Black-faced Grassquit, Bananaquit, Barn Owl,White-cheek Pintail, Black-necked Stilts, Killdeer and Osprey. Gray Kingbirds and Antillean Nighthawks are common summer residents.

Non-bird biodiversity: Hutias have been introduced on Warderick Wells, in 1996 this rodent population was estimated to be about 25,000. They are nocturnal and not usually seen during the day, so you would have to go ashore after dark to look for them.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Puffinus lherminieri breeding  2006  250-999 individuals  poor  B4ii  Not Recognised 
White-tailed Tropicbird Phaethon lepturus breeding  2006  250-999 breeding pairs  poor  A4ii  Least Concern 
Least Tern Sternula antillarum breeding  2005  50-249 individuals  poor  B4i  Least Concern 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park National Park 45,584 protected area contained by site 45,584  


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

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
tourism/recreation -
nature conservation and research major
urban/industrial/transport 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.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park. Downloaded from on 24/10/2016

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