Bluff Forest

Country/territory: Cayman Islands (to UK)

IBA criteria met: A1, A2 (2007)
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Area: 473 ha

IBA conservation status
Year of assessment (most recent) State (condition) Pressure (threat) Response (action)
2014 not assessed high not assessed
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Site description (2006 baseline)
The site occupies 427 ha of tall dry forest on karstic limestone, of which 82 ha is protected as the Parrot Reserve, owned by the National Trust. The forest is highly diverse with Cedrela odorata (the majority are mature or dead trees, main parrot nesting habitat), Sideroxylon salicifolium, Exothea paniculata, Chionanthus caymanensis and Bursera simaruba as dominants. There has been a long history of disturbance by logging and the forest is a mosaic of primary and second growth trees with, on the south of the bluff, Pilosocereus sp., Agave sobolifera, Tillandsia sp. and orchids.

Key biodiversity
These include 60-70 pairs of the Near-threatened Cuban Parrot hesterna. It is estimated that 29-42 nests per year may be necessary to sustain the population - a concern since all active parrot nests located in surveys (1999-2003) were in dead or dying Cedrela odorata cavities in the Bursera-Exothea- Chionanthus community, and while cedars were common there was no recruitment of seedlings or young trees. Since 1999, a total of 18 active nests have been located, together with other pairs holding territories but not nesting. Also, about 9% of the global population of the Near-threatened restricted-range Vitelline Warbler crawfordi. The restrictedrange Thick-billed Vireo alleni is common and the biome species Loggerhead Kingbird caymanensis is uncommon.A total of 19 taxa breed, three additional species with endemic races: Red-legged Thrush Turdus plumbeus coryi confined to Cayman Brac), Caribbean Elaenia caymanensis and Bananaquit sharpei. Indigenous species are the Whitecrowned Pigeon, Zenaida Dove, White-winged Dove, Common Ground-dove, Mangrove Cuckoo, Smooth-billed Ani, Barn Owl, Northern Mockingbird and Yellow-faced Grassquit Tiaris olivaceus; summer breeding migrants are the Grey Kingbird, Antillean Nighthawk and Blackwhiskered Vireo.Regular migrant landbirds include Yellow-bellied sapsucker, Grey Catbird, White-eyed Vireo, Yellow-throated Vireo, and 28 species of warbler, most commonly Northern Parula, Cape May Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Yellow-throated Warbler, Palm Warbler, Prairie Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, American Redstart and Ovenbird.

Non-bird biodiversity: Plants endemic to the Cayman Islands: Allophylus cominia var. caymanensis; Crossopetalum caymanense and Cocothrinax proctorii. Endemic plants to Little Cayman and Cayman Brac: Chionanthus caymanensis var. caymanensis, Encyclia kingsii, Phyllanthus caymanensis and Myremecophila thompsoniana var. minor. Verbesina caymanensis endemic to Cayman Brac occurs on the north-eastern bluff. It is a priority site for cacti in a regional context Pilosocereus sp. Bats, Caribbean endemics: Macrotus waterhousii minor and Erophylla sezekorni syops. Amphibians: Osateophilus septentrionalis and Eleutherodactylus p. planirostris. Reptiles endemic to Little Cayman and Cayman Brac: Alsophis cantherigerus fuscicauda, Anolis sagrei luteosignifer, Aristelliger p. praesignis, Cyclura nubila caymanensis, Celestus crusculusmaculates and Sphaerodactylus argivus argivus. Lepidoptera endemic to the Cayman Islands: Cyclargus ammon erembis and Memphis echemus danielana.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Bluff Forest. Downloaded from on 08/12/2023.