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Location Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba (to Netherlands)
Central coordinates 68o 16.85' West  12o 14.36' North
IBA criteria A1, A2, A3, B4i
Area 5,959 ha
Altitude 0 - 45m
Year of IBA assessment 2007

Site description Area extending along coast inland to escarpments from Washikemba in the south to Playa Grandi in the north and including the natural springs and cliffs of Fontein and the cliffs and intermittent ponds at Washikemba, Onima dam, and inland from Playa Grandi. There is very limited human settlement in this area as it is generally on the more barren northeastern side of the island but it does include a number of sites of cultural and historic significance with ancient inscriptions of the original pre-European aboriginal inhabitants of Bonaire.

Key Biodiversity likely meets 1% global threshold for Yellow-shouldered Amazon, possibly Caribbean Coot occasionally • meets 1% regional threshold for Least Tern • breeding area for Pearly-eyed Thrasher and suite of thorn scrub species Surveys of Least Terns in 2002 documented 452 birds (>10% of regional population) within this IBA along the eastern coast from near Boca Onima south to near Washikemba. Caribbean Coot, has been documented as an intermittent breeder largely at three reservoir/water impoundment sites all within this IBA—Onima Reservoir, Playi Grandi Reservoir, and Washikemba Reservoir. Records from the period 1974-2001 indicate that at Onima Reservoir has had as many as 200 birds with confirmed breeding, Playa Grandi Reservoir as many as 26 birds with confirmed breeding, and Washikemba Reservoir as many as 20 birds with confirmed breeding. There are no estimates of global population size available against which to evaluate the significance of these numbers. Yellow-shouldered Amazon are also known to nest within the cliffs that extend from Onima to Fontein and have long-frequented Fontein for its permanent freshwater and the (introduced) fruit trees as well as a roosting site. Winter roost counts estimate over 100 birds (Williams and Martin, personal comments).

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Fulica caribaea resident  2007  246 individuals  poor  A1  Not Recognised 
Least Tern Sternula antillarum breeding  2002  452 individuals  poor  B4i  Least Concern 
Bare-eyed Pigeon Patagioenas corensis resident  2007  unknown  A3  Least Concern 
Yellow-shouldered Amazon Amazona barbadensis winter  2007  100 individuals  poor  A1, A2, A3  Vulnerable 
Caribbean Elaenia Elaenia martinica resident  2007  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Pearly-eyed Thrasher Margarops fuscatus resident  2007  20 individuals  poor  A2  Least Concern 


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Shrubland   -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
tourism/recreation -
nature conservation and research -

Protection status None currently in protected areas but approximately half of the area is within regions recommended for status as “Island Park” or “Protected Landscape” in the Bonaire Nature Management Plan 1999-2004.

Further web sources of information 

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

References Ligon (2005);De Freitas et al (2005);Debrot et al. (2006);Island Resource Foundation (no date); Prins, T.G. & Nijman, V. (2005);Prins et al. (2005);Voous(1983);Wells, J. V. and A. C. Wells (2006);Williams, S. (2003)

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Washikemba - Fontein - Onima, Bonaire. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016

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