Codrington Lagoon and Creek IBA is on the north-western side of Barbuda. It is a large (c.12 km long and 2 km wide),almost enclosed salt-water lagoon that is bordered by
mangroves and sand ridges. The best developed mangroves border the lagoon along the eastern and north-western sides, and also along Codrington Creek which connects the lagoon to the sea in the north. Dry scrub vegetation borders the lagoon on the north-east side.
This IBA supports the largest breeding colony of Magnificent Frigatebird Fregata magnificens in the Caribbean, estimated at 1,743 nests and 5,300 birds in March 2008. A significant population (c.200) of Vulnerable West Indian Whistling-ducks
Dendrocygna arborea occurs in the lagoon, as do four (of Antigua and Barbuda’s 11) Lesser Antilles EBA restrictedrange birds. The Near Threatened endemic Barbuda Warbler Dendroica subita occurs and the presence of up to 1,000 Laughing Gulls Larus atricilla is globally significant.
Non-bird biodiversity: This is a major nesting site for the Critically Endangered leatherback Dermochelys coriacea and hawksbill Eretmochelys imbricata turtles. The lagoon is also of considerable importance as a major breeding ground for (economically important) fish and lobster.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Codrington Lagoon and Creek IBA is publicly owned by the people of Barbuda (as is all land in Barbuda) and administered by the Barbuda Council. The frigatebird colony is within a “Wildlife Reserve” (on the north-west side of the creek), and the lagoon has been declared a Ramsar site. The government Environment Division in conjunction with the Barbuda Council has embarked on a project to help set up proper management systems for the lagoon and associated wetland areas. The EAG carried out a survey of the lagoon (late-1990s)and developed a monitoring plan for the area. Resources were not available to implement the plan, but it is being used to inform management decisions for the area. The government and EAG are educating tour boat operators in an attempt to minimise the disturbance from visitors being taken to see the frigatebird colony. Tour boats (and even helicopters) do approach too close to the colony on occasions. The lagoon’s
biodiversity needs more study to reinforce the case for minimal development within the IBA.
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Codrington Lagoon and the Creek. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 08/08/2020.