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Location Virgin Islands (to USA), St. Thomas
Central coordinates 64o 58.88' West  18o 20.50' North
IBA criteria A2
Area 269 ha
Altitude 0 - 50m
Year of IBA assessment 2007

Site description The site is located on the south central coast of St. Thomas and includes the sandy beach of Brewer’s Beach, Range Cay, Range Cay lagoon, marsh along the north side of the airport tarmac, and the arid semi-deciduous forest watershed inland from the bay, an area of approximately 150 hectares. The shoreline runs from Black Rock Point to the western end of the Cyril King airport runway extension. The uplands extend inland and up the slopes above the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) campus northward and transitions into a steep slope of rocky terrain forming the watershed of the bay. A ghut (gully) about 2 meters wide runs down the steep slope and opens to the bay between Brewer’s Beach and the historical ruins next to the defunct restaurant Xanadu. The entire beach area is maintained as an open public beach and picnic area. There is also a mixed open field & tree area from the highway up to the UVI Reichold Center. Along the highway are un-restored ruins of an original estate residence and other unidentified structures. There is a narrow footpath from behind (north side) the UVI library that winds up through the forest to the “Rock Caves”. The property is publicly owned by the University and includes dense second growth forest on the south facing slopes, overgrown water catchments, the landscaped campus with woody hedgerows, golf course, athletic fields, and a narrow marsh along the airport that drains into a shallow mangrove tidal lagoon open to the Bay.

Key Biodiversity Beach, lagoon, & open water Brown Pelican, Brown Booby, Magnificent Frigatebird, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Tri-colored Heron, Little Blue Heron, Snowy Egret, Cattle Egret, Green Heron, Yellow-crowned Night-heron, White-cheeked Pintail, Red-tailed Hawk, Common Moorhen, American Oystercatcher, Lesser Yellowlegs, Spotted Sandpiper, Willet, Laughing Gull, Sandwich Tern, Royal Tern, Brown-throated Parakeet, Antillean Crested Hummingbird, Belted Kingfisher, Gray Kingbird, Yellow Warbler, Black-faced Grassquit. Upland dry forest Scaley-naped Pigeon, Zenaida Dove, Brown-throated Parakeet, Mangrove Cuckoo, Smooth-billed Ani, Green-throated Carib, Antillean Crested Hummingbird, Gray Kingbird, Pearly-eyed Thrasher, Yellow Warbler, Bananaquit, Black-faced Grassquit. Campus & golf course Cattle Egret, Red-tailed Hawk, American Kestrel, American Golden Plover, Spotted Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper, Laughing Gull, Scaley-naped Pigeon, Zenaida Dove, Common Ground Dove, Antillean Crested Hummingbird, Green-throated Carib, Gray Kingbird, Northern Mockingbird, Pearly-eyed Thrasher, Bananaquit, Blue Grosbeak.

Non-bird biodiversity: Green Sea Turtles are common in the bay. The bay contains modest coral reef areas that warrant protection from boat anchoring and terrestrial runoff. Extensive seagrass beds in the bay provide habitat for fish, vital for the seabirds. Major introduced terrestrial pest species include mongoose, feral cats, and rats.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Green-throated Carib Eulampis holosericeus resident  2006  20 individuals  poor  A2  Least Concern 
Antillean Crested Hummingbird Orthorhyncus cristatus resident  2006  20 individuals  poor  A2  Least Concern 
Pearly-eyed Thrasher Margarops fuscatus resident  2006  12 individuals  poor  A2  Least Concern 


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Coastline   major
Wetlands (inland) Freshwater lakes & pools; Freshwater marshes & swamps  -
Shrubland Arid lowland scrub  -
Rocky areas Inland cliffs  minor
Sea   -
Forest Mangrove  -

Land use

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

Protection status Brewer’s Bay waters are managed by the USVI Dept. of Planning and Natural Resources (DPNR) with restricted boat moorings and anchorages. The beach is managed by the University of the Virgin Islands as a public beach. The narrow marsh above the lagoon has restricted access for airport security.

Further web sources of information 

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

References Boulon, Ralf H. & D. M. Griffin (1999); McLaughlin, M.(Editor)(1976);Platenberg et al. (2005);Raffaele H. (1989)

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: John Brewer's Bay. Downloaded from on 27/10/2016

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