Offshore Islands IBA comprises many of Antigua’s 51 offshore islands. The majority are concentrated off the north-east coast of the mainland in the North Sound area. These include Redhead, Rabbit, Galley, Lobster, “Jenny”, Great Bird, Hellsgate and the Exchange islands. The islands of York and Green are located off the eastern most tips of the mainland, and the Five-Island islets to the west of the mainland. The islands range in size from c.40 ha (Green Island) to 0.25 ha (most of the Five-Island islets), and are characterized by limestone cliffs, xeric dry scrub and cactus vegetation, and surrounding mangroves and coral reef systems.
This IBA is notable for waterbirds and seabirds. The Vulnerable West Indian Whistling-duck Dendrocygna arborea breeds on some of the islands, and the numbers of Laughing Gull Larus atricilla are globally significant. Populations of Brown Pelican Pelecanus occidentalis, Royal Tern Sterna maxima and Least Tern Sterna antillarum are important regionally. A range of other seabirds breed in smaller numbers.
Non-bird biodiversity: The Critically Endangered Antiguan racer Alsophis antiguae is found on Great Bird Island and, as a result of reintroductions since 1999, Rabbit, Green and York islands. Significant numbers of the Critically Endangered hawksbill turtle Eretmochelys imbricata nests on the beaches of a number of the offshore islands (e.g. 60 nesting females on Pasture Bay, Long Island).
Authors Joseph Prosper, Victor Joseph, Andrea Otto, Shanee Prosper (Environmental Awareness Group)
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Offshore Islands. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 09/12/2022.