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Location Trinidad and Tobago, Trinidad
Central coordinates 61o 29.16' West  10o 28.87' North
IBA criteria A4i, A4iii, B4i
Area 4,768 ha
Year of IBA assessment 2007

Site description The west coast mudflats occur along the west coast from Port of Spain to Godineau River. The coast is occupied by a variety of land uses including mangrove swamp, residential areas and heavy industry. Several fishing villages occur along the coast. The Gulf of Paria lies between Trinidad and continental South America. The waters of the gulf are influenced by the outflow of the Orinoco River and are generally brackish, with salinity falling to 10-25 parts per thousand in the wet season

Key Biodiversity Major congregations of gulls, terns, pelicans and coastal shorebirds in Trinidad can be found in association with the mudflats along the west coast. Indeed this area may represent the most important location for over-wintering gulls in northern South America with an estimated 4000-5000 Laughing Gulls. Populations of herons and ibis, roost in mangrove swamps and feed on the adjacent mudflats. 10000-20000 shorebirds regularly over-winter or are transient visitors to the west coast mudflats. The predominant species are Semipalmated and Western Sandpipers. Visits of Caribbean Flamingo have been increasing in regularity.

Non-bird biodiversity: Other fauna is limited to the benthic invertebrates upon which the shorebirds feed.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Pelecanus occidentalis resident  2007  1,500-2,000 individuals  poor  B4i  Not Recognised 
Semipalmated Plover Charadrius semipalmatus passage  2007  1,000-2,000 individuals  poor  A4i  Least Concern 
Short-billed Dowitcher Limnodromus griseus passage  2007  1,000-2,000 individuals  poor  A4i  Least Concern 
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus passage  2007  500-1,000 individuals  poor  A4i  Least Concern 
Laughing Gull Larus atricilla winter  2006  4,000-5,000 individuals  poor  B4i  Least Concern 
Royal Tern Thalasseus maximus resident  2007  100-250 individuals  poor  B4i  Least Concern 
Black Skimmer Rynchops niger resident  2007  750-1,250 individuals  poor  B4i  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds 2007  20,000-49,999 individuals  poor  A4iii   

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Caroni Swamp Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 8,398 protected area is adjacent to site 0  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Coastline Intertidal mud, sand & salt flats  -
Forest Mangrove  -

Land use

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

Protection status The section of mudflats bordering Caroni Swamp is legally protected, but in general the shoreline is not protected. Several areas adjacent to industrial installations are not accessible.

Further web sources of information 

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

References ffrench, R. (1991);Morrison, R. I. G. and Ross, R. K. (1989);Hayes, F.E., White, G., Kenefick, M. and Kilpatrick, H. (2004);G. White and Kenefick, M. (2004);

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: West Coast Mudflats. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016

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