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Location Bahamas, Berry Islands
Central coordinates 77o 50.25' West  25o 39.55' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i
Area 2,040 ha
Altitude 0 - 7m
Year of IBA assessment 2012

Bahamas National Trust (Partner Designate)

Site description Kemp Cay to Pigeon Cay IBA. The IBA is located approximately 6 km south of Great Harbor Cay in the Berry Islands. The IBA extends from Kemp and Water Cay to the north, to Pigeon and Money Cay to the south. Ambergris Cay and Fanny Cay are the largest of the cays within the IBA. The IBA also includes the expansive sandy shoals and tidal flats associated with the cays, which provide vital foraging habitat for shorebirds during low tides. The cays are generally long a narrow. Ambergris is the longest at approximately 2.6km in length and 0.3km at the widest point. Pigeon Cay is approximately 1.1 km long and 0.3km at the widest point. Fanny Cay is approximately 1.4 km in length and 0.4km at the widest point. The other cays are considerably smaller. The cays are separated by inlets with small creeks that extend westward to the tidal flats, eventually ending on the flats. The flats are vast at low tide and cover approximately 1,500 ha. The beaches are generally narrow and made up of sand and limestone. The beaches, especially at inlets, and the small sand bars south of Ambergris Cay provide high tide roosting and resting areas for birds. Extensive shallow water in the area excludes most recreational boaters, but beaches are visited occasionally by boaters and anglers in small, shallow-draft boats.

Key Biodiversity This IBA is significant for the high numbers of migrant wintering Piping Plover Charadrius melodus and other species of shorebirds recorded at the site during surveys in 2011 and 2012. This site being newly discovered in 2011 has no historical data for comparison, except that it is relatively near to north central Andros where about 85 Piping Plover were recorded during winter 2010. It will be considered a key site by U.S. Shorebird Conservation Plan and Council - August 2004 standards due to the presence of globally ‘highly imperiled’ Piping Plover and North American populations of Red Knot together with ‘high concern’ North American populations of Wilson’s Plover Charadrius wilsonia and American Oystercatcher Haematopus palliates. Large numbers of Sanderling Calidris alba and Short-billed Dowitcher Limnodromus griseus were also recorded although not significant in terms of conservation they are significant in numbers present.

Non-bird biodiversity: Bonefish Lemon Shark Green Sea Turtle Loggerhead Sea Turtle Queen Conch

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Piping Plover Charadrius melodus winter  2011  min 255 individuals  medium  A1, A4i  Near Threatened 

IBA Monitoring

2013 high not assessed negligible

Climate change and severe weather habitat shifting and alteration likely in long term (beyond 4 years) whole area/population (>90%) very rapid to severe deterioration high
Residential and commercial development housing and urban areas likely in long term (beyond 4 years) some of area/population (10-49%) moderate to rapid deterioration medium

Little/none of site covered (<10%)  No management planning has taken place  Very little or no conservation action taking place  negligible 


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Shrubland Scrub  -
Forest Mangrove; Tropical coniferous  -
Sea Sea inlets  -
Coastline   -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
fisheries/aquaculture -
Notes: The flats are frequented by local fishing guides and recreational anglers seeking bonefish and other sportfish, which are very important to the local economy.

Protection status Not currently protected

Acknowledgements Compilers: Matt Jeffery and Walker Golder (National Audubon Society), Predensa Moore (Bahamas National Trust), Caleb Spiegel (US Fish and Wildlife Service) and Sue Abbott (Bird Studies Canada).

References No other data on this site could be located.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Kemp Cay to Pigeon Cay. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016

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