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Location Curaçao (to Netherlands), Curaçao
Central coordinates 68o 39.02' West  11o 59.31' North
IBA criteria A3, A4i
Area 1,131 ha
Year of IBA assessment 2007

Site description Klein Curaçao is a small, flat, 1.7 km2 offshore reef island about 10 km to the east of Curaçao. The island was originally well-vegetated but was extensively mined for phosphate in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and overgrazed by livestock since the 1800s. As a consequence the island has been devoid of all trees and bushes for more than 100 years.Historically it was an important seabird nesting location and West Indian monk seal beach. Today it remains an important Least Tern nesting location with the potential for becoming an increasingly important tern and seabird nesting location now that feral goats and cats have been eliminated.

Key Biodiversity 286 Least Terns nesting in 2002, reaching 1% regional poplation threshold. The shores are frequented by flocks of migratory shore birds among which plovers and sandpipers. Birds recently documented on the island are Bare-eyed Pigeon, Eared Dove, Tropical mockingbird, Flamingo, Osprey, Merlin, Blue-winged teal, Great Blue Heron, Great White Heron, Green Heron, Sora, Black-crowned Night heron, Yellow-crowned night heron, Blackpoll Warbler, unidentified other warblers, Common Snipe, Barn Swallow, Northern Waterthrush, Ovenbird, Yellow-billed Cuckoo. The only resident landbird is the invasive House Sparrow, present and breeding on the island since the late 1990s, and numbering 40-60 birds.

Non-bird biodiversity: Three species of endangered sea turtle (Loggerhead, Caretta caretta (Debrot, pers. obs. October 2005, Green turtle, Chelonia mydas, and Hawksbill, Eretmochelys imbricate) currently nest on the island, which constitutes the most important sea turtle nesting beach of the Curacao jurisdiction Debrot et al. 2005.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Least Tern Sternula antillarum breeding  2002  286 breeding pairs  poor  A4i  Least Concern 
Bare-eyed Pigeon Patagioenas corensis resident  2007  unknown  A3  Least Concern 


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Sea Open sea  -
Shrubland Arid lowland scrub  -

Land use

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

Protection status The island is legally designated as “open land” by Curaçao island ordinance and has no protected status. However, feral goats and cats have been eliminated which opens up the way for ecological recovery. A protected status for the island has been requested by Carmabi.

Further web sources of information 

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

References Debrot et al.(2005);Debrot (2000)

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Klein Curaçao, Curaçao. Downloaded from on 21/10/2016

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