|Location||Trinidad and Tobago, Trinidad|
|Central coordinates||61o 29.16' West 10o 28.87' North|
|IBA criteria||A4i, A4iii, B4i|
|Year of IBA assessment||2007|
Ornithological information 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.
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
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Brown Pelican Pelecanus occidentalis||resident||2007||1,500-2,000 individuals||poor||B4i||Least Concern|
|Semipalmated Plover Charadrius semipalmatus||passage||2007||1,000-2,000 individuals||poor||A4i||Least Concern|
|Collared Plover Charadrius collaris||passage||2007||250-500 individuals||poor||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|
|Greater Yellowlegs Tringa melanoleuca||passage||2007||250-500 individuals||poor||Least Concern|
|Lesser Yellowlegs Tringa flavipes||passage||2007||5,000-10,000 individuals||poor||Least Concern|
|Willet Catoptrophorus semipalmatus||passage||2007||250-500 individuals||poor||Least Concern|
|Semipalmated Sandpiper Calidris pusilla||passage||2007||5,000-8,000 individuals||poor||Near Threatened|
|Western Sandpiper Calidris mauri||passage||2007||5,000-8,000 individuals||poor||Least Concern|
|Laughing Gull Larus atricilla||winter||2006||4,000-5,000 individuals||poor||B4i||Least Concern|
|Royal Tern Sterna maxima||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||present individuals||poor||A4iii|
|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||-|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
|nature conservation and research||-|
Other biodiversity Other fauna is limited to the benthic invertebrates upon which the shorebirds feed.
Management considerations The main threats are continued industrialization of the west coast of Trinidad and the likely pollution of inland watercourses and the Gulf of Paria. Current plans include the establishment of an offshore aluminum smelter on an artificial island to be built south of San Fernando. Hunting of ibis and herons occurs along the margins of the mangrove. Rising sea level as a result of global warming is likely to greatly impact all coastal ecosystems.
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.
Conservation response There have been attempts at planting mangrove along the coast to reduce coastal erosion. A community group in the village of Brickfield, immediately south of Caroni Swamp, has received assistance from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to protect a short but important stretch of coastline for the benefit of the birdlife.
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 (2013) Important Bird Areas factsheet: West Coast Mudflats. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 25/05/2013
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