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Location Antigua and Barbuda, Antigua
Central coordinates 61o 44.31' West  17o 2.16' North
IBA criteria A1, A2, A4i
Area 1 ha
Altitude 0 - 10m
Year of IBA assessment 2007

Site description Bethesda Dam IBA is a man-made reservoir in the south-eastern part of the island, just north-west of Bethesda village. The reservoir is surrounded by grass and scrub covered hills to the west and south, and an agricultural area to the north. Bethesda Dam was constructed (by the government) in the 1970s to provide irrigation water for the agricultural area. Water levels vary, but during the rainy season the reservoir covers c.5 ha and provides good feeding and cover for waterbirds.

Key Biodiversity This IBA is significant for its populations of the Near Threatened Caribbean Coot Fulica caribaea (up to 110 have been recorded) and Vulnerable West Indian Whistling-ducks Dendrocygna arborea. During 2006-2007, 204 whistling-ducks were seen at the reservoir. The species can be highly mobile, but is usually present and does breed at this site. Four (of the 11) Lesser Antilles EBA restricted-range birds occur in the shrublands around the reservoir.

Non-bird biodiversity: This reservoir was one of the first places where an invasive alien species of reed was observed. The reed has since spread rapidly to other freshwater sites.

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  134 individuals  poor  A1, A4i  Vulnerable 
Fulica caribaea resident  2007  110 individuals  poor  A1  Not Recognised 
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  10 individuals  poor  A2  Least Concern 


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Wetlands (inland)   major

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
water management 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 (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Bethesda Dam. Downloaded from on 27/10/2016

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