Kemp Cay to Pigeon Cay

Country/territory: Bahamas

IBA criteria met: A1, A4i (2012)
For more information about IBA criteria, please click here

Area: 2,040 ha

Bahamas National Trust
IBA conservation status
Year of assessment (most recent) Threat (pressure) Condition (state) Action (response)
2013 high not assessed negligible
For more information about IBA monitoring, please click here

Site description (baseline)
Kemp Cay to Pigeon Cay IBA. The IBA is located approximately 6 km south of Great Harbor Cay in the Berry Islands. The IBA extends from Kemp and Water Cay to the north, to Pigeon and Money Cay to the south. Ambergris Cay and Fanny Cay are the largest of the cays within the IBA. The IBA also includes the expansive sandy shoals and tidal flats associated with the cays, which provide vital foraging habitat for shorebirds during low tides. The cays are generally long a narrow. Ambergris is the longest at approximately 2.6km in length and 0.3km at the widest point. Pigeon Cay is approximately 1.1 km long and 0.3km at the widest point. Fanny Cay is approximately 1.4 km in length and 0.4km at the widest point. The other cays are considerably smaller. The cays are separated by inlets with small creeks that extend westward to the tidal flats, eventually ending on the flats. The flats are vast at low tide and cover approximately 1,500 ha. The beaches are generally narrow and made up of sand and limestone. The beaches, especially at inlets, and the small sand bars south of Ambergris Cay provide high tide roosting and resting areas for birds. Extensive shallow water in the area excludes most recreational boaters, but beaches are visited occasionally by boaters and anglers in small, shallow-draft boats.

Key biodiversity
This IBA is significant for the high numbers of migrant wintering Piping Plover Charadrius melodus and other species of shorebirds recorded at the site during surveys in 2011 and 2012. This site being newly discovered in 2011 has no historical data for comparison, except that it is relatively near to north central Andros where about 85 Piping Plover were recorded during winter 2010. It will be considered a key site by U.S. Shorebird Conservation Plan and Council - August 2004 standards due to the presence of globally ‘highly imperiled’ Piping Plover and North American populations of Red Knot together with ‘high concern’ North American populations of Wilson’s Plover Charadrius wilsonia and American Oystercatcher Haematopus palliates. Large numbers of Sanderling Calidris alba and Short-billed Dowitcher Limnodromus griseus were also recorded although not significant in terms of conservation they are significant in numbers present.

Non-bird biodiversity: Bonefish Lemon Shark Green Sea Turtle Loggerhead Sea Turtle Queen Conch

Compilers: Matt Jeffery and Walker Golder (National Audubon Society), Predensa Moore (Bahamas National Trust), Caleb Spiegel (US Fish and Wildlife Service) and Sue Abbott (Bird Studies Canada).

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Kemp Cay to Pigeon Cay. Downloaded from on 08/06/2023.