|Location||Trinidad and Tobago, Tobago|
|Central coordinates||60o 31.24' West 11o 21.15' North|
|IBA criteria||A4i, A4ii, B4ii|
|Altitude||0 - 100m|
|Year of IBA assessment||2007|
Ornithological information St. Giles Islands are one of the most important seabird breeding colonies in the southern West Indies. They host the only breeding colonies of Magnificent Frigatebirds and Red-footed Boobies in Trinidad and Tobago. Audubon’s Shearwaters, Brown Boobies, Brown Noddies and Red-billed Tropicbirds also breed in considerable numbers. Up to 80 masked boobies have recently started roosting on one of the outlying rocks. Recent counts of seabird breeding populations are well below what was previously recorded. The alarmingly low numbers recently recorded may in part be due to insufficient sampling effort as the terrain and rough seas make counting very difficult. Seabirds continue to nest at a number of minor sites around Tobago and it is likely that with a cessation of poaching, St. Giles should remain a major breeding colony.
Site description St Giles Islands comprise one main island and several outlying rocks about one kilometer off the northeast of Tobago. The main island is roughly 29 ha of steeply sloping land rising to just over 100m. There is no habitation on the island and the topography makes such development unlikely. Seas around the island are generally rough and landing is hazardous.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Audubon's Shearwater Puffinus lherminieri||resident||1958-1968||100 breeding pairs||poor||B4ii||Least Concern|
|Red-billed Tropicbird Phaethon aethereus||resident||1958-1968||100 breeding pairs||poor||A4i||Least Concern|
|Masked Booby Sula dactylatra||winter||2006||80 individuals||poor||B4ii||Least Concern|
|Red-footed Booby Sula sula||breeding||2000||750 breeding pairs||poor||B4ii||Least Concern|
|Brown Booby Sula leucogaster||resident||1958-1968||50 breeding pairs||poor||B4ii||Least Concern|
|Protected area||Designation||Area (ha)||Relationship with IBA||Overlap with IBA (ha)|
|St. Giles Island||Game Sanctuary||29||is identical to site||0|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Shrubland||Arid lowland scrub||-|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
|nature conservation and research||major|
Other biodiversity The terrestrial fauna of St. Giles has not been studies but it may be similar to that of Little Tobago which houses the endemic Ocellated Gecko Gonatodes ocellatus and endemic subspecies of one lizard Bachia heteropa alleni and one snake Mastigodryas boddaerti dunni.
Management considerations There is a tradition in Tobago of eating seabirds especially at harvest festivals. Brown Boobies and Magnificent Frigatebirds are the preferred species and poachers regularly visit the islands and collect birds. Invasive species which could potentially prey on nesting seabirds (for example rats) are a potential threat. Hurricanes are rare but pose a significant threat especially if the frequency and severity increases with climate change.
Protection status The St. Giles Islands are formally listed as a game sanctuary but enforcement is minimal. The islands are however protected in part by their inhospitable terrain and hazardous waters.
Conservation response There have been no recent detailed surveys of the seabirds nesting on St. Giles Islands. The Department of Natural Resources and Environment of the Tobago House of Assembly is embarking on initiatives to gain a better understanding of the bird populations and management requirements of the St. Giles Islands. If successful and the islands are effectively protected it would address a major omission in the management of birds in Trinidad and Tobago.
References Bacon, P.B. and R.P. ffrench (1972);Dinsmore, J.J. and ffrench, R.P. (1969);ffrench, R., (1991);Hayes, F. E., and S. Bodnar. (2007)
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2013) Important Bird Areas factsheet: St Giles Islands. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 22/05/2013
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