Cay Sal

Country/territory: Bahamas

IBA Criteria met: A1, A4i, B4i, B4ii (2007)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 858 ha

Bahamas National Trust

Site description
This remote group of cays are located due south of Miami midway between Florida and Cuba, although it is part of the Bahamas it is closer to Florida and Cuba than to Andros. They are presently uninhabited except for providing ideal harbour for yachts sailing between Cuba and Florida, however, plans are afoot to build a marina on Cay Sal. Cays making up this group are Double Headed Shot Cays, Elbow Cay, Damas and Anguilla Cays and Cay Sal.

Key biodiversity
This site is a seabird nesting haven, healthy colonies of Terns and Audubon's Shearwaters is reported to nest on the Cay Sal Bank. Elbow Cay the northwest corner is considered the principal nesting site for Audubon's Shearwaters, Royal Terns, Roseate Terns, Bridle Terns, Sooty Terns, and Brown Noddies. Smaller colonies of Terns including Sandwich Terns nest on Dog Rocks, Damas and Anguilla Cays. Resident non-breeding seabirds include Brown Pelicans, Magnificant Frigatebirds, Double-crested Cormorants and Brown Boobies. Landbirds are few, Green Herons, Yellow-crowned Night Herons, Antillean Nighthawks, Gray Kingbirds,White-crowned Pigeons, Mourning Doves and Common Ground Doves. It is used as a stopover site for migrating landbirds. There is also a saltwater logoon on Cay Sal that is used as a resting place for shorebirds.

Non-bird biodiversity: An endemic anole is found on Cay Sal and one of the Anguilla Cays. Bahamian Brown Anoles, Worm Snakes, and Pygmy Boas are also found on this site. Loggerhead Turtles are known to nest on the sandy beaches, Hawksbill and Green Turtles may also nest here according to reports in 1994 and 1995

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Cay Sal. Downloaded from on 01/02/2023.