Oranjestad Reef Islands

Country/territory: Aruba (to Netherlands)

IBA Criteria met: A4i (2007)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 309 ha

Protection status:

Site description
Two or more variably sized sand/boulder coral islets adjacent to the central harbor in Oranjestad and the east end of the bay under the flight path of the Queen Beatrice Airport. The islets are subject to considerable variation in size, shape and substrate following winter storms.

Key biodiversity
The islets represent the only alternative nest sites for Cayenne terns on Aruba. In most years the Cayenne terns are divided roughly 70% and 30% between San Nicolas Bay Reef Islands and the Oranjestad Reef Islands. Individually banded Cayenne tern chicks originally banded within San Nicolas Bay have been observed as nesting adults on the Oranjestad islets. Several instances of multiple movements back and forth between these two locations by the same birds in subsequent years have been observed. Up to 26 pairs of Common tern have nested on the islets.

Non-bird biodiversity: Marine turtles are occasionally observed in the surrounding waters, but with no evidence of nesting on the islets. The seaward side of these reef islands contain large (but not quantified) numbers of conch - a CITES protected species.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Oranjestad Reef Islands. Downloaded from on 12/04/2021.