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Location Antigua and Barbuda, Antigua
Central coordinates 61o 43.87' West  17o 8.16' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i, B4i
Area 9,021 ha
Altitude 0 - 50m
Year of IBA assessment 2007

Site description Offshore Islands IBA comprises many of Antigua’s 51 offshore islands. The majority are concentrated off the north-east coast of the mainland in the North Sound area. These include Redhead, Rabbit, Galley, Lobster, “Jenny”, Great Bird, Hellsgate and the Exchange islands. The islands of York and Green are located off the eastern most tips of the mainland, and the Five-Island islets to the west of the mainland. The islands range in size from c.40 ha (Green Island) to 0.25 ha (most of the Five-Island islets), and are characterized by limestone cliffs, xeric dry scrub and cactus vegetation, and surrounding mangroves and coral reef systems.

Key Biodiversity This IBA is notable for waterbirds and seabirds. The Vulnerable West Indian Whistling-duck Dendrocygna arborea breeds on some of the islands, and the numbers of Laughing Gull Larus atricilla are globally significant. Populations of Brown Pelican Pelecanus occidentalis, Royal Tern Sterna maxima and Least Tern Sterna antillarum are important regionally. A range of other seabirds breed in smaller numbers.

Non-bird biodiversity: The Critically Endangered Antiguan racer Alsophis antiguae is found on Great Bird Island and, as a result of reintroductions since 1999, Rabbit, Green and York islands. Significant numbers of the Critically Endangered hawksbill turtle Eretmochelys imbricata nests on the beaches of a number of the offshore islands (e.g. 60 nesting females on Pasture Bay, Long Island).

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  65 individuals  poor  A1  Vulnerable 
Pelecanus occidentalis resident  2007  40 individuals  poor  B4i  Not Recognised 
Laughing Gull Larus atricilla resident  2007  1,000 individuals  poor  A4i  Least Concern 
Royal Tern Thalasseus maximus resident  2007  20 individuals  poor  B4i  Least Concern 
Least Tern Sternula antillarum breeding  2007  50 individuals  poor  B4i  Least Concern 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Great Bird and Guiana Bay Islands Marine Sanctuary 1,038 protected area contained by site 0  
Great Bird Island (North Sound) Wildlife Reserve 0 protected area contained by site 0  
Green Island (Mill Reef) Wildlife Reserve 0 protected area contained by site 0  
Green Island Reefs Park Reserve 0 protected area contained by site 0  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Rocky areas   -
Sea Sea inlets  -
Shrubland Arid lowland scrub  -
Forest Mangrove  -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research -
not utilised -

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 (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Offshore Islands. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016

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