Year of compilation: 2005
Non-bird biodiversity: The Middle and East Caicos wetlands comprise interrelated ecosystems complete with submerged mangroves, algal flats and seagrass beds. It is a wetland site of international importance containing a variety of marine and coastal habitat types, and complex natural transitions. Noteworthy are mangrove swamps, diverse bird life, numerous Arawak sites and several inlet cays. The whole area is a particularly good example of coastal wetland habitat in the Caribbean, providing shelter and nursery locations for various species of waterfowl, turtles and commercial fish species.The East Caicos cave system is probably important for bats and endemic invertebrates.Internationally important species occurring on the site include the following Turks & Caicos Islands endemic species of lizard: the gecko Aristelliger hechti (CR), Curly Tail Leiocephalus psammodromus, Caicos Islands Reef Gecko Sphaerodactylus caicosensis; and the one endemic species of snake: the Caicos Islands Trope Boa Tropidophis greenwayi. In addition there are further lizards that are endemic at the subspecific level: Turks & Caicos Bark Anole Anolis scriptus scriptus, Mabuya Skink (or slippery back or snake-doctor) Mabuya mabouya sloanei; and one snake: Bahaman Rainbow Boa Epicrates chrysogaster chrysogaster. The reef is important for marine ecosystems, and is a feeding area for some seabirds. The waters and reef are important for turtles Chelonia midas (EN), Eretmochelys imbricata (CR), Caretta caretta (EN), and most nesting beaches are thought to occur on East Caicos and Long Bay. Additionally, submerged mangroves and algal flats are important in contributing suspended material to nearby sand banks and by virtue of circulation to and from the cuts and creeks, the mangroves also contribute materials to the coral reefs. The wetlands are thought to play a major role in providing a nursery and feeding grounds for numerous fauna. They act also as land-protection against hurricane damage. The shallow flats where the seagrasses grow serve as major nursery areas of the inshore marine environment. They are the immediate recipients of nutrients produced from the mangrove areas themselves. The areas often do not contain many species, but some exist in high numbers. Thus the economic value of these areas, particularly with regard to edible species such as mullets and shrimp and sport species such as bonefish, is high.
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: East Caicos and adjacent areas. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 04/12/2020.