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Location United States Minor Outlying Islands (to USA), Navassa
Central coordinates 75o 0.45' West  18o 24.10' North
IBA criteria A1, A4ii
Area 165,357 ha
Altitude 0 - 76m
Year of IBA assessment 2007

Site description Navassa Island IBA is situated 53 km west of Haiti, 136 km east of Jamaica and 152 km south of Cuba. The IBA includes the 500-ha island and marine areas up to 22 km from it, thus covering 147,600 ha of open ocean. Navassa is a small, pearshaped island plateau that rises abruptly from deep water. It is surrounded by a series of submarine coralline terraces. The karst dolomite terrain slopes from the lower north-western edge towards the south-eastern side and supports upland evergreen woodland and sparse shrubby vegetation. The island is surrounded by a submerged coral reef ecosystem and open sea.

Key Biodiversity This IBA is globally significant for its breeding colony of Redfooted Booby Sula sula, a large majority of which are immature, which is concentrated along the sheltered (leeward) north-western to southern perimeter of the island. The breeding population, conservatively estimated at 175 individuals, of Magnificent Frigatebird Fregata magnificensis is regionally important, and small numbers of Brown Booby Sula leucogaster also breed on the island. Hundreds of Near Threatened White-crowned Pigeon Patagioenas leucocephala occur, and the Vulnerable White-necked Crow Corvus leucognaphalus has been recorded on the island, but is probably a transient visitor.

Non-bird biodiversity: The Critically Endangered hawksbill turtle Eretmochelys imbricata occurs. Four endemic reptiles are abundant on the island, namely Navassa anole Anolis longiceps, Navassa gecko Aristelliger cochranae, Navassa dwarf gecko Sphaerodactylus becki and the Navassa galliwasp Celestus badius.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Red-footed Booby Sula sula resident  2006  5,000-7,000 individuals  poor  A4ii  Least Concern 
White-crowned Pigeon Patagioenas leucocephala resident  2006  150-300 individuals  poor  A1  Near Threatened 

IBA Monitoring

2008 medium unfavourable low
Good - based on reliable and complete / representative data

Biological resource use hunting & collecting terrestrial animals - intentional use (species being assessed is the target) happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium

Coastline Rocky areas  0 0 moderate (70-90%) moderate (70-90%) unfavourable
Shrubland   0 0 moderate (70-90%) moderate (70-90%) unfavourable

Fregata magnificens Magnificent Frigatebird 175 175 individuals 100 favourable
Sula sula Red-footed Booby 6000 6000 individuals 100 favourable

Whole area of site (>90%) covered by appropriate conservation designation  No management plan exists but the management planning process has begun  Some limited conservation initiatives are in place  low 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Navassa Island National Wildlife Refuge 147,690 protected area contained by site 147,690  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest Lowland evergreen rain forest (tropical)  minor
Sea Coral reefs and lagoons; Marine areas; Open Sea  major
Coastline Coral reefs & lagoons; Rocky areas; Shallow marine waters  major
Shrubland   -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research -
hunting minor

Acknowledgements Author: Joseph Schwagerl (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) and Verónica Anadón-Irizarry (BirdLife International) The authors would like to thank Susan Silander, Claudia Lombard (USFWS), Jean W. Wiener (Fondation pour la Protection de la Biodiversité Marine) and John Curnutt (USDA Forest Service Eastern Region) for contributing to this chapter.

Further web sources of information 

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

Contribute  Please click here to help BirdLife conserve the world's birds - your data for this IBA and others are vital for helping protect the environment.

Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Navassa. Downloaded from on 27/10/2016

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