|Location||Aruba (to Netherlands)|
|Central coordinates||70o 2.35' West 12o 30.58' North|
|Altitude||0 - 1m|
|Year of IBA assessment||2007|
Ornithological information The islets represent the only alternative nest sites for Cayenne terns on Aruba. In most years the Cayenne terns are divided roughly 70% and 30% between San Nicolas Bay Reef Islands and the Oranjestad Reef Islands. Individually banded Cayenne tern chicks originally banded within San Nicolas Bay have been observed as nesting adults on the Oranjestad islets. Several instances of multiple movements back and forth between these two locations by the same birds in subsequent years have been observed. Up to 26 pairs of Common tern have nested on the islets.
Site description Two or more variably sized sand/boulder coral islets adjacent to the central harbor in Oranjestad and the east end of the bay under the flight path of the Queen Beatrice Airport. The islets are subject to considerable variation in size, shape and substrate following winter storms.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis||resident||2007||1,300 individuals||medium||A4i||Least Concern|
|Common Tern Sterna hirundo||breeding||2007||26 breeding pairs||medium||A4i||Least Concern|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
Other biodiversity Marine turtles are occasionally observed in the surrounding waters, but with no evidence of nesting on the islets. The seaward side of these reef islands contain large (but not quantified) numbers of conch - a CITES protected species.
Management considerations Largely natural threats from island erosion and substrate change associated with winter storms and hurricanes.
Protection status Uncertain protective status. However, the islands are patrolled by the coastguard and observed by the harbor authorities and the police.
Conservation response Limited research opportunities due to location and relatively difficult access. Islands are monitored annually using both ground counts and aerial photographs. More extensive surveys would draw attention from the mainland and cause unnecessary disturbance to nesting birds.
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 A. J. del Nevo pers. comm.
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2013) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Oranjestad Reef Islands. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 26/05/2013
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