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Location St Lucia, Vieux Fort
Central coordinates 60o 55.92' West  13o 40.70' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i, A4iii, B4i, B4ii
Area 3,155 ha
Altitude 0 - 223m
Year of IBA assessment 2007

Site description The area is approximately 774 hectares in size and located along the south to southeast coast. Terrestrially it comprises of a narrow coastal strip and the Moule-a-Chique peninsula. The terrain is low to undulating, with the highest point being at Moule-a-Chique (223 metres), at the southern tip of St. Lucia. The marine area is proportionately larger, consisting of long sandy beaches, the Savannes Bay and Mankòtè Mangroves, Scorpion Island, the Maria Islands, and several coral reefs and nearshore islands. The vegetation is varied with a predominance of tropical dry forest. The area also includes several historical sites, including old fort sites, a lighthouse and a World War II-vintage radar tracking station.

Key Biodiversity Several bird species have been recorded for the entire area. At least thirty-two species were observed at Savannes Bay during a study conducted by Robert L. Norton in 1989. Several residents were identified, including one endemic species, the St. Lucia Black Finch (Melanospiza richardsoni). A number of them were also recorded nesting among the mangrove and other ground vegetation. Some of those include Green-backed Heron (Green Heron) and Yellow-crowned Night Heron. Many migrants have also been recorded in the area, for example egrets, herons, kingfishers, warblers, ducks, and waders. The extreme northern end encompasses a swamp occupying an area of approximately 6 acres. This swamp is almost always flooded with water of slightly brackish nature partially fed by the ocean tides. It attracts several bird species almost throughout the year. Many species of ducks, herons, sand pipers, plovers, egrets, gallinules, rails and other shorebirds and waterfowl find a temporary place of sojourn at the pond. Many of these species are seasonal migrants. This IBA is very important for migrants and water birds as the largest wetlands in St. Lucia occur` in this area.

Non-bird biodiversity: The Pointe Sable National area serves as the habitat for five endemic species of herpetofauna, the most note-worthy of which are two species found on the Maria Islands and nowhere else in the world: the St. Lucia Racer (Llophis ornatus) and the St. Lucia Whiptail (Cnemidophorus vanzoi). Maria Major is free of rats and mongooses and supports 5 endemic reptile species, plus several non-endemics. Marine life is just as important. Juvenile fishes are very common among the mangrove and seagrass areas. This habitat particularly in the Mankote area is dominated by three mangrove types. They are, (Rhizophora mangle), (Avicennia germinans), and (Laguncularia racemosa). A fourth mangrove type, (Conocarpus erecta) also exist, but it is quite rare.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Red-billed Tropicbird Phaethon aethereus resident  2007  < 50 individuals  medium  B4ii  Least Concern 
Royal Tern Thalasseus maximus resident  2007  < 50 individuals  medium  B4i  Least Concern 
Roseate Tern Sterna dougallii breeding  2007  50-100 individuals  medium  B4i  Least Concern 
Bridled Tern Onychoprion anaethetus breeding  2007  250-500 individuals  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Sooty Tern Onychoprion fuscatus breeding  2007  20,000-49,999 individuals  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
St Lucia Black Finch Melanospiza richardsoni resident  2007  unknown  A1  Endangered 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds breeding  2007  20,000-49,999 individuals  medium  A4iii   

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Anse Pointe Sable-Man Kote Mangroves Marine Reserve 0 protected area contained by site 0  
Caesar Point to Mathurin Point reefs Marine Reserve 0 protected area contained by site 0  
Maria Islands Nature Reserve 12 protected area contained by site 0  
Point Sable National Park 0 is identical to site 3,155  


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

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
urban/industrial/transport -
Notes: In the surroundings
agriculture minor
Notes: Past agriculture of coconuts plantations
energy production and mining minor
Notes: Mangroves used for charcoal
tourism/recreation major
fisheries/aquaculture minor
rangeland/pastureland minor
nature conservation and research minor

Protection status Nature Reserves – Maria Islands. These sites were declared nature reserves in 1982, and are contained within the IBA. Marine Reserves – Anse Pointe Sable to Mankoté Mangrove, Savannes Bay Mangrove, Maria Islands’ Reef – declared reserves in 1986; Reef from Ceasar Point to Mathurin Point – declared reserves in 1990. These sites are also found within the IBA

Acknowledgements Donald Anthony, Alwin Dornelly, Lyndon John (St Lucia Forestry Department), Matthew Morton (Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust)

Further web sources of information 

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

References De Beauville, S. 2004. Lessons Learnt during the Development and Implementation of the Coastal Zone Management Project (2001-2), St. Lucia. Castries: Department of Fisheries. Espeut P., 2006. Opportunities for Sustainable Livelihoods in One Protected Area in Each of the Six Independent OECS Territories, for the OECS Protected Areas and Sustainable Livelihoods (OPAAL) Project OECS CONTRACT Number OECS/121/05 Geoghagen, T. and A.H. Smith. 1998. Conservation and Sustainable Livelihoods: Collaborative Management of the Mankòtè Mangrove, St. Lucia. Vieux Fort: Caribbean Natural Resources Institute. Community Participation in Forest Management: Case Study Series 1 Hudson L., Renard Y., and Romulus G. 1992. A System of Protected Areas for St. Lucia. Castries: St. Lucia National Trust. Jennings-Clark, S. and D’Auvergne, C., An Assessment of the Coastal Marine Habitats of Savannes Bay St. Lucia: mangroves, seagrass and reef, The Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, St. Lucia, 1990. St. Lucia Biodiversity Country Report of St. Lucia. Castries: Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. 2000.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2015) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Point Sables. Downloaded from on 05/10/2015

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