Redonda IBA is a small, uninhabited island situated 56 km west-south-west of Antigua, in the waters between the islands of Nevis (St Kitts and Nevis) and Montserrat (to the UK). It lies 22 km north-west of Montserrat, and 32 km south-east of Nevis. The IBA is a remnant of an extinct volcano, and protrudes steeply from the sea, mostly as sheer cliffs. It is 1.6 long and 0.5 km wide, with an area calculated at somewhere between 160 and 260 ha. Redonda has one beach (accessible by boat), but is otherwise completely surrounded by steep cliffs. The summit slopes at c.39º and the only “flat” land is
a saddle of 0.4 ha at the southern end of the island, about 230 m up. This is accessible only by helicopter. Vegetation comprises coarse grasses and Opuntia cacti. A few individual short-leafed fig Ficus citrifolia cling to the western cliff-face.
This IBA is notable for its breeding seabirds. Breeding colonies of Magnificent Frigatebird Fregata magnificens, Masked Booby Sula dactylatra, Red-footed Booby S. sula and Brown Booby S. leucogaster are regionally significant. Other species breed, including over 140 Brown Noddy Anous stolidus. Burrowing Owl Athene cunicularia is thought to be resident.
Non-bird biodiversity: Of the six reptile species recorded from Redonda, three (lizards) are endemic to the island: Ameiva atrata, Anolis nubilus, and a potentially new Sphaerodactylus sp. The Endangered green Chelonia mydas and Critically Endangered hawksbill Eretmochelys imbricata turtles have both been seen in the waters around the island.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Redonda is state owned. From the 1860s until c.1920 the island was mined for its guano (phosphates), yielding 7,000 tons per year. In 1901, the human population was 120, but the island has been uninhabited since the First World War when mining operations were abandoned. The island supports a healthy population of goats which may indirectly impact the seabird populations. Rats are present (as would be expected after at least 40 years of human habitation) and in the last few years brown rats Rattus norvegicus have become established and will no doubt be having a serious impact on the seabird (and
endemic reptile) populations.
Authors: Joseph Prosper, Victor Joseph, Andrea Otto, Shanee Prosper (Environmental Awareness Group)
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Redonda. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 24/05/2022.