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Location Antigua and Barbuda, Antigua
Central coordinates 61o 53.31' West  17o 3.54' North
IBA criteria A1, A2, B4i
Area 20 ha
Altitude 0 - 10m
Year of IBA assessment 2007





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.

Key Biodiversity 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.

Non-bird biodiversity: The Critically Endangered hawksbill Eretmochelys imbricata and leatherback Dermochelys coriacea are known to occur in the bay.

Populations of IBA trigger species

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 
Fulica caribaea resident  2007  40 individuals  poor  A1  Not Recognised 
Laughing Gull Larus atricilla resident  2007  200 individuals  poor  B4i  Least Concern 
Least Tern Sternula antillarum breeding  2007  100 individuals  poor  B4i  Least Concern 
Purple-throated Carib Eulampis jugularis resident  2007  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Green-throated Carib Eulampis holosericeus resident  2007  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Antillean Crested Hummingbird Orthorhyncus cristatus resident  2007  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Caribbean Elaenia Elaenia martinica resident  2007  5 individuals  poor  A2  Least Concern 

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Coastline Intertidal mud, sand & salt flats  major
Wetlands (inland)   -
Forest Mangrove  -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
tourism/recreation major
urban/industrial/transport major

Acknowledgements Authors: Joseph Prosper, Victor Joseph, Andrea Otto, Shanee Prosper (Environmental Awareness Group)

Further web sources of information 

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

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 (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Valley Church Bay. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 28/11/2014

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife