|Location||Virgin Islands (to USA), St. Thomas|
|Central coordinates||65o 0.00' West 18o 18.34' North|
|IBA criteria||A4i, B4i|
|Altitude||0 - 80m|
|Year of IBA assessment||2007|
Site description The site is located just off the south central coast of St. Thomas and includes Saba Island plus the smaller Turtledove Cay and Flat Cays, a total area of approximately 14 hectares. The islands are about 2 km S-SW of the western end of the Cyril King airport runway extension. Saba has 2 salt ponds (east and west) with coral rubble shoreline on the northern side and rocky cliffs on the seaward south. The Saba terrain rises to about 80 m while the other cays have very low and flat terrain. A shallow sandbar reaches north to Turtledove Cay. There is a protected cove on the northwestern side of Saba with a small sandy beach. Behind the beach is a relative open, flat area adjacent to the west pond. A nature trail was developed some years ago but has mostly grown over. A bird observation blind is located near the east pond shore and overlooks the pond and vicinity. Offshore of both Saba and Flat Cay are modest sized coral reefs.
Key Biodiversity Islands & surrounding waters Audubon’s Shearwater, Red-billed Tropicbird, White-tailed Tropicbird, Brown Pelican, Brown Booby, Magnificent Frigatebird, White-cheeked Pintail, Lesser Yellowlegs, Laughing Gull, Sandwich Tern, Royal Tern, Roseate Tern, Sooty Tern, Bridled Tern, Brown Noddy, Zenaida Dove, American Oystercatcher, Black-necked Stilt, Smooth-billed Ani, Yellow Warbler.
Non-bird biodiversity: The crested anole, Puerto Rican Racer snake, Slipperyback skink, dwarf gecko, and house mouse are also present. Green and Hawksbill Sea Turtles are common in the surrounding waters. There are small coral reef areas in adjacent waters that warrant protection from boat anchoring and terrestrial runoff. Seagrass beds provide habitat for fish, vital for the seabirds.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Laughing Gull Larus atricilla||breeding||2007||800-1,000 breeding pairs||poor||A4i||Least Concern|
|Royal Tern Thalasseus maximus||breeding||2007||20-80 breeding pairs||poor||B4i||Least Concern|
|Sandwich Tern Thalasseus sandvicensis||breeding||2007||50-250 breeding pairs||poor||B4i||Least Concern|
|Roseate Tern Sterna dougallii||breeding||2007||20-600 breeding pairs||poor||A4i||Least Concern|
|Bridled Tern Onychoprion anaethetus||breeding||2000-2007||50-200 breeding pairs||medium||A4i||Least Concern|
|Sooty Tern Onychoprion fuscatus||breeding||2000-2006||20,000-40,000 breeding pairs||medium||A4i||Least Concern|
|Brown Noddy Anous stolidus||breeding||2007||100-300 breeding pairs||poor||B4i||Least Concern|
|Protected area||Designation||Area (ha)||Relationship with IBA||Overlap with IBA (ha)|
|Caribbean Barrier Resource System||Marine Reserve and Wildlife Sanctuary||0||unknown||0|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Coastline||Sand dunes & beaches; Shallow marine areas, coral reefs & keys||-|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
|nature conservation and research||-|
Protection status Saba Island and Cays are designated as wildlife sanctuaries by the territorial government of the U.S. Virgin Islands and are managed by the Department of Planning and Natural Resources (DPNR) Division of Fish and Wildlife (DFW). Entry beyond the beach and bird blind is by special use permit only.
Acknowledgements Jim Corven and Judy Pierce
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Saba Island and Cays. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 19/12/2014
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