Font Hill IBA is located 13 km west of Black River Morass IBA (JM007) in St. Elizabeth Parish, on the south coast of south-western Jamaica. It includes 1 km offshore of marine habitat.
This IBA is significant for supporting 19 (of the 36) Jamaica EBA restricted-range birds. Sixty-one percent (17 of 28) of Jamaican endemic birds have been recorded in the IBA. More than 50 Vulnerable West Indian Whistling-duck Dendrocygna arborea breed in the wetlands, and there is presence of the Near Threatened White-crowned Pigeon Patagioenas leucocephala and Masked Duck Nomonyx dominicus . Other wetland and coastal bird species breeding or wintering in the area include gulls, terns, grebes, herons, egrets and gallinules. At least 35 (of the 72) species of Neotropical migratory birds recorded use the IBA in winter, such as the Swainson's Warbler Limnothlypis swainsonii, which is found regularly along the mangrove margins at the Font Hill site, but is infrequent elsewhere in Jamaica. The wetlands comprise more than 10 fresh to brackish (mangrove-fringed) ponds and sloughs that tend to dry out during the dry season (January-March), but retain at least some water in the deepest ponds every year, and thus provide one of the only sources of fresh water within tens of km of the site. These ponds provide a focus of activity (feeding, bathing, nesting) for many birds, both aquatic and terrestrial species, especially in the driest years.
Non-bird biodiversity: The Vulnerable West Indian Manatee Trichechus manatus occurs, and the coast is a nesting area for sea turtles such as the Critically Endangered Hawksbill Eretmochelys imbricata , Endangered Green turtle Chelonia mydas and Loggerhead Caretta caretta . Font Hill IBA along with Black River Great Morass IBA have been identified as the most important American Crocodile Crocodylus acutus habitats in Jamaica.
Pete Marra, Tom Sherry, Ann Sutton
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Font Hill. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 20/08/2022.