Country/territory: Haiti

IBA Criteria met: A1, A2 (2008)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 701 ha

Site description
Lagon-aux-boeufs is a 450 hectare brackish estuary lake (20 per 1000) located at N 19 40' 39'' and W71 46' 53'' east of Fort-Liberté, in the coastal plain of Dauphin. Limited to the north by the Baie de Mancenille, east by the Massacre River and the town of Melliac, ouest by Dérac and south by the tertiary road to Melliac. Lagon-aux-Boeufs, together with the Fort-Liberté Bay and the Massacre River delta forms part of an ecoregion of outstanding value for waterfowls and marine birds. It can be considered as a natural extension of the Siete Hermano - Laguna Saladilla and Laguna Salinas of the Dominican Republic. This small wetland is exploited by local fishermen, hunters for migratory ducks and coots, as well as recreation by school and youth groups. A number of farmers use it to clean and quench their cattle, and poor women for washing clothes. Population around this estuarine wetland is estimated at 20,000 people living also on fisheries, agriculture, charcoal making and occasionally boat rides. They are former employees and descendants of the sisal plantation and factory, attracted there by foreign investment during the mid 20th Century, and left alone after this facilities due to progress in plastic that replaced the traditional sisal ropes and bags. Its proximity to Fort-Liberté and Ouanaminth as well as the agricultural infrastructures of the Fort-Dauphin sisal plantation offer an opportunity to develop a multiple use area as suggested to the state of Haiti in 1994 by the Route 2004 project.

Key biodiversity
The bird diversity of this lagoon is far higher than any other area surveyed in the coastal plain of the Northeast. The species diversity will also increase in winter months when migratory species arrive from northern latitudes and utilize the lagoon. Last inventory of July-August 1994 was made with binoculars only between 8:30 am to noon and 2pm to 4 pm twice. Early and nocturnal birds were not inventoried. A bird species of special concern is the flamingo. This species had not been scientifically reported in the area since 1948 (Ottenwalder et al. 1990). In addition, local people do not understand bagging birds. The rings are believed to be unnatural and mystic, therefore the scientific information they carry is unfortunately lost. From surveys, fishermen and local riverines reported that men from Cap-Haitian come to hunt Flamingos for feathers and tongues (Flamingo tongue is considered a delicatessen since colonial time) and ducks (during the cool season). Due to the fact that some rich businessmen from Cap-Haitian rented the land, in 2004 the much-degraded mangrove of 1994 grew back. In June 2004, Coots were reported to be hunted and sold in Fort-Liberté as a substitute to chicken or ducks that are more expensive (a coot was sold for 50 gourdes, a chicken for 200 gourdes). Interestingly enough, some coot consumers are members of environmental associations and don't make the difference between Caribbean and American coots that are both called "poule d'eau" (water chicken). Besides, the surrounding dry forest and the close seashore provides with marine birds. The Bay of Fort-Liberté and coastal zone is home to many species. Birds use the shoreline habitat for homes and for foraging.

Non-bird biodiversity: American Crocodile Sea Turtles West Indian Manatees Flamingo West Indian Whistling Duck, Piping Plover, Caribbean Coot if confirmed.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Lagon-aux-Boeufs. Downloaded from on 29/01/2023.