Pearl Archipelago

Country/territory: Panama

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

Area: 33,300 ha

Sociedad Audubon de Panamá

Site description
The Pearl Archipelago is located in the Gulf of Panama, the northernmost islands being located 28 km from the mainland. The largest islands are the Isla del Rey (24,113 ha), Isla San José (4,455 ha), Pedro González (1,461 ha). There are dozens of smaller islands. Most of the archipelago is sparsely inhabited, mainly by afrocoloniales.

Key biodiversity
The archipelago is an important nesting site for colonial waterbirds, especially Brown Pelican. The largest colony of this species in Panama is found on Isla Pedro González, and other significant colonies occur on Señora, Pacheca, Pachequilla, San Telmo, and San Pablo. Other colonially nesting species include Brown Booby, Blue-footed Booby, Neotropic Cormorant, Magnificent Frigatebird, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Tricolored Heron, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, and White Ibis. Bare-throated Tiger-Heron is common coastally throughout the archipelago. San José, Pedro González, and Rey are the only localities in Panama for the nationally endangered White-fringed Antwren, represented by an endemic subspecies. The next closest locality for the species is northern Colombia. The nationally threatened Yellow-crowned Amazon also occurs. Research in the Pearl Archipelago has yielded important information on island biogeography, ecology, and genetic differentiation in isolated populations (MacArthur et al. 1972, Wright et al. 1985, Brawn et al. 1996). The archipelago, with 13 endemic subspecies, is an important center of subspecific differentiation.

Non-bird biodiversity: American Crocodile occurs.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Pearl Archipelago. Downloaded from on 29/11/2021.