|Location||Antigua and Barbuda, Antigua|
|Central coordinates||61o 53.31' West 17o 3.54' North|
|IBA criteria||A1, A2, B4i|
|Altitude||0 - 10m|
|Year of IBA assessment||2007|
Ornithological information This IBA supports populations of four (of the 11) Lesser Antilles EBA restricted-range birds that occur in Antigua. However, it is primarily notable for its waterbirds including important populations of the Vulnerable West Indian Whistling-duck Dendrocygna arborea (96 adults and 38 duckling in 2006 is a maximum count) and Near Threatened Caribbean Coot Fulica caribaea. Regionally significant populations of Brown Pelican Pelecanus occidentalis, Laughing Gull Larus atricilla and Least Tern Sterna antillarum occur. Good numbers of Neotropical migratory shorebirds use this IBA. Masked Duck Nomonyx dominica has been recorded.
Site description Valley Church Bay IBA is on the west coast of Antigua, close to Jolly Harbour and its associated tourist developments. This area was once a large swamp. However, a road has cut it off from the sea, preventing any exchange of water, turning the area into a shallow coastal salt pond encircled by a narrow fringe of mangroves. The area is bordered on the east by a major road and on the west by a narrow beach and seagrass beds. On the seaward side of this IBA are a number of restaurants and a large hotel (which occupies part of the original mangrove). A road divides the pond to give access to the restaurants from the main road.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|West Indian Whistling-duck Dendrocygna arborea||resident||2007||30 individuals||poor||A1||Vulnerable|
|Brown Pelican Pelecanus occidentalis||resident||2007||70 individuals||poor||B4i||Least Concern|
|Caribbean Coot Fulica caribaea||resident||2007||40 individuals||poor||A1||Near Threatened|
|Laughing Gull Larus atricilla||resident||2007||200 individuals||poor||B4i||Least Concern|
|Least Tern Sterna antillarum||breeding||2007||100 individuals||poor||B4i||Least Concern|
|Purple-throated Carib Eulampis jugularis||resident||2007||-||-||A2||Least Concern|
|Green-throated Carib Eulampis holosericeus||resident||2007||-||-||A2||Least Concern|
|Antillean Crested Hummingbird Orthorhyncus cristatus||resident||2007||-||-||A2||Least Concern|
|Caribbean Elaenia Elaenia martinica||resident||2007||5 individuals||poor||A2||Least Concern|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Coastline||Intertidal mud, sand & salt flats||major|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
Other biodiversity The Critically Endangered hawksbill Eretmochelys imbricata and leatherback Dermochelys coriacea are known to occur in the bay.
Management considerations Valley Church Bay is a mix of private and state ownership. However, the wetland is not protected and the surrounding habitat is presently being destroyed by hotel and residential development. Construction rubble and other solid waste have been dumped at the southern end of the pond, and the nesting and feeding areas of Dendrocygna arborea are being encroached upon. There are land reclamation plans by the private owners which would result in the complete destruction of the ponds. The Environmental Awareness Group has tried working with landowners (including one of the restaurateurs) to encourage greater awareness, conservation and potentially even the development of bird watching infrastructure.
Acknowledgements Authors: Joseph Prosper, Victor Joseph, Andrea Otto, Shanee Prosper (Environmental Awareness Group)
References Bacon, PR., (1991);Bunce, L., (1993);Caribbean Conservation Association. (1991);Lindsay, k. and Horwith, B. (1997);MacPherson, J. (1973);Martin-Kaye, P., (1969);Martin-Kaye, P., (1959);Pregill, GKD et al.(1994);Raffaele, H., et al. (1998); Spencer, W (1981)
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2013) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Valley Church Bay. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 25/05/2013
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