|Location||Aruba (to Netherlands)|
|Central coordinates||69o 54.18' West 12o 25.26' North|
|IBA criteria||A4i, B4i|
|Altitude||1 - 3m|
|Year of IBA assessment||2007|
Site description Five small (1.75km2) low lying (max height 3m), boulder-coral reef islets located at the south-east corner of Aruba. The islands are located within San Nicolas Bay separated from the mainland by a shallow lagoon (3m-15m) adjacent to a large oil refinery and the town of San Nicolas. Hurricanes, winter storms and heavy rains have changed the size, substrate and extent of vegetative cover on the islands. Human disturbance and egg collecting has been minimized through public awareness and education. Informal protection provided by the refinery staff with regular patrols by the coastguard.
Key Biodiversity A significant regional site for Cayenne tern (1,300 – 3,500 prs.), black noddy (26-48 prs.) , roseate tern (25-75 prs.) and common tern (10-30 prs.). The site also includes sooty terns (2,000 - 6,600 prs.), brown noddy (120-180 prs.), bridled terns (3-150 prs.), least tern (5-85 prs.), and up to 10 prs of sandwich tern and royal tern. The timing of nesting is primarily between early April and mid-August, although black noddies may nest outside of this period.
Non-bird biodiversity: Aruban whiptail lizards Cnemidophorus arubensis have been recorded on the islets; turtles are occasionally seen in the waters surrounding the islands; they are not known to breed on the islets. Queen conch (Strombus gigas) is relatively abundant (but not quantified) south of the San Nicolas Bay Reef Islands.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Laughing Gull Larus atricilla||resident||2007||800 individuals||good||A4i||Least Concern|
|Royal Tern Thalasseus maximus||breeding||2007||10 breeding pairs||good||B4i||Least Concern|
|Sandwich Tern Thalasseus sandvicensis||breeding||2007||1,300-3,500 breeding pairs||good||A4i||Least Concern|
|Roseate Tern Sterna dougallii||breeding||2007||25-75 breeding pairs||good||A4i||Least Concern|
|Common Tern Sterna hirundo||breeding||2007||10-30 breeding pairs||good||A4i||Least Concern|
|Least Tern Sternula antillarum||breeding||2007||5-85 breeding pairs||good||B4i||Least Concern|
|Bridled Tern Onychoprion anaethetus||breeding||2007||132 individuals||good||B4i||Least Concern|
|Sooty Tern Onychoprion fuscatus||breeding||2006||14,340 individuals||good||B4i||Least Concern|
|Brown Noddy Anous stolidus||breeding||2007||520 individuals||good||B4i||Least Concern|
|Black Noddy Anous minutus||breeding||2007||26-48 breeding pairs||good||B4i||Least Concern|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
|nature conservation and research||major|
Protection status The islands were designated for protection in 1996.
Acknowledgements We are very thankful to the author of this information Dr. Adrian del Nevo, and Theo Wools and Facundo Franken for their review.
References AES (2006 and 2007), Bridge et. al (2005),Halewyn (1985), Voous (1983)
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: San Nicolas Bay Reef Islands. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 29/11/2014
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