St Philip Shooting Swamps

Site description (2007 baseline):

Site location and context
Collectively, the shooting swamps in the eastern parish of St. Philip at: N 13° 07' 30.12', W 59° 27' 40.21"; N 13° 09' 24.83", W 59° 27' 19.31" east to N 13° 09' 26.97, W 59° 26' 56.40" form an IBA. These artificially created and maintained wetlands average 4 to 5 acres in extent and are all situated on private land. The express purpose is to provide habitat for migrating sandpipers so they can be shot. Generally, the immediate environs of these wetlands is pasture.

Key biodiversity
It is reported that a collective total from all these swamps of between 7 and 15 thousand Nearctic-nesting sandpipers are shot annually (see text for target species). Empirical evidence indicates that larger flights (and therefore the number of birds shot) are weather-dependent. More birds stop when affected by adverse weather conditions associated with tropical Atlantic waves, depressions and storms. Thus, numbers stopping vary from year to year in the season from July to October. Estimates vary and numbers shot are an unknown percentage of the total numbers passing. These wetlands also provide necessary habitat for non-target species.

Non-bird biodiversity: Not applicable.

Habitat and land use
These wetlands are situated around a centrally located shooting hut. Ponds (called "trays" locally) vary in depth from shallow mudflats to deeper areas with aquatic vegetation.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Beyond the obvious, if hunting were restricted or banned the shooting clubs would simply stop pumping water and the wetland would no longer be available for other non-target waterbirds.

Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
Not applicable.

Protected areas
Not applicable.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: St Philip Shooting Swamps. Downloaded from on 07/12/2023.