Prickly Pear (East and West)

Country/territory: Anguilla (to UK)

IBA Criteria met: A4i, A4ii, B4i, B4ii (2013)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 973 ha

Site description
This cay lies 5 miles north of Anguilla. It is a low, rocky island with sandy shores on the north and east coasts and heavily fissured limestone cliffs on the remaining coastline. A small pond lies behind the northern beach and the centre of the island contains areas of scrub. The island also has an inshore coral reef system that is popular with visitors from the mainland and from neighbouring St. Martin. Two restaurants are open at peak visitor times, making Prickly Pear East Anguilla’s most accessible and most visited small island. It is uninhabited and is accessed primarily by water. Prickly Pear West – The larger of the two islands, Prickly Pear West is separated from its sister island by a narrow channel. Apart from one small beach, the island is a low limestone outcrop with low cliffs; it is the more rockier and rugged of the two islands.

Key biodiversity
Prickly Pear East – This cay is important for its large breeding colony of Brown Boobies Sula leucogaster and Laughing Gulls Larus atricilla. Population numbers for these species in 2007 have been estimated to be as high as 700 and 39 breeding pairs, respectively. One of Anguilla’s restricted-range species (Caribbean Elaenia Elaenia martinica) is present within the cay’s scrubland. Yellow Warblers Dendroica petechia, Brown Noddies Anous stolidus, and Bridled Terns Sterna anaethetus are also found on Prickly Pear East. Prickly Pear West – This cay is important for its breeding population of Brown Boobies which numbered as high as 40 pairs in 2007. 875 pairs of Laughing Gulls have also been counted here during that period. The bushes in the centre of the island also provide an occasional nesting area for a few pairs of Red-footed Boobies Sula sula. This is the only breeding site for this species in Anguilla.

Non-bird biodiversity: Nothing recorded.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Prickly Pear (East and West). Downloaded from on 29/11/2021.