Muizenberg is an intermittent shallow lake and wetlands, in the northern suburbs of Willemstad, formed from the damming of a stream that drains the surrounding low hills. The perimeter is bounded on all sides by rather heavily travelled roadways which on the west side directly abut the wetlands. On the northeast side the area is flanked by agricultural lands with small farms. Unfortunately the area is used as a dumping ground for garbage. Kaya Fortuna is an unnamed small pond, at the crossing of the Seru Fortuna Road with the Cabo Verde Road, a few hundred meters west of Muizenberg. The IBA covers an area of c. 1.5 km2 from about 5 to 10 m asl.
Caribbean Coot Fulica caribaeacaribbaea is a year-round resident on both lakes, with congregations of up to 800 birds observed during the wet season. Breeding has been confirmed at both lakes; 100s of birds are observed regularly at a time (115 counted in March 2000; Wells pers. Obs.). Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus ruber is occasionally seen, feeding in flocks of up to 170 birds, but does not breed in the area (40+ counted in March 2000). The Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus is also confirmed as a breeding resident.
Area has hosted breeding Pied-billed Grebe, White-cheeked Pintail. Other species documented here include Neotropical Cormorant, Blue-winged Teal, Osprey, Peregrine Falcon, Crested Bobwhite, Black-necked Stilt (40+ in March 2000), Greater Yellowlegs, Solitary Sandpiper, Wilson’s Snipe, Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Frigate Bird, Common Tern (Debrot pers obs. June 2005).
Non-bird biodiversity: The endemic freshwater fish Poecilia vandepolli is present in the ponds (Vonk et al. 2007).
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Pollution, drainage of surrounding wetlands, recreational disturbance.
Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
No conservation or research projects known, although the importance of the area as one of the island’s two most important and rare freshwater areas has been previously indicated (Debrot and de Freitas 1991). Inventory of waterbirds and freshwater fishes has been carried out by the Zoological Museum Amsterdam (2006).
The area is legally designated as protected parklands since 1997 by means of an island ordinance but is not being actively managed.
Habitat and land use
Two artificial lakes, that retain a small amount of typically water even during the dry seasonfor more than 6 months each year. Depending on rainfall patters occasionally water is present year-round. Surrounding areas consist of periodically inundated grassland where the invasive rubbervine Cryptostegia grandiflora and the native Acacia and waterlogging-resistant Prosopis shrubs thrive, and residential areas.
Vincent Nijman and Tineke Prins, Zoological Museum Amsterdam and Jeffrey Wells, International Boreal Conservation Campaign
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Muizenberg, Curaçao. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 23/09/2021.