The National Conservation Council (NCC) is seeking public commentary on a (draft) Species Conservation Plan to protect six species of native nesting seabirds across the Cayman Islands. Of the Brown Booby, Red-footed Booby, Magnificent Frigatebird (Man o’ War), White-tailed Tropicbird (Bo’sun bird), Least Tern and Bridled Tern, most populations in Cayman have experienced significant declines in the last century, and for several of these species local extinction is imminent. There are no new proposed restrictions on “take” as these bird species are each fully protected under the National Conservation Act. However, their nesting habitats remain at continued risk from threats of development, human traffic and invasive predators. The Conservation Plan therefore aims to designate critical habitats for the most densely populated, unprotected nesting sites and to provide appropriate protections to mitigate disturbance from human and animal activity.

The public consultation period will begin on 28 September and end on 4 November, 2022.

The proposed Conservation Plan and Landowners FAQ may be accessed by clicking the links below or at the Department of Environment offices at 580 North Sound Road, George Town. Comments on the proposal may be emailed to, received at the DoE offices, or mailed to PO Box 10202, Grand Cayman, KY1-1002.

A survey aimed at obtaining public feedback on the Conservation Plan may be accessed via the link below. Public comments will be taken into consideration before presenting the final Conservation Plan to Cabinet for approval.

Click to view the full Conservation Plan

Click to view the Landowners FAQ

Click to view the 2022 White-tailed Tropicbird Report for Grand Cayman

Click to view the 2017 White-tailed Tropicbird Report for Cayman Brac

Click to take the survey

Conservation Objective

The objective of this Conservation Plan is to ensure that the colonial nesting seabirds of the Cayman Islands become stable or growing breeding populations.

Conservation Status

All of the seabird species covered by this Conservation Plan are protected species in part 1 of schedule 1 of the National Conservation Act 2013 (NCA). As per section 33(1) of the NCA it is an offence to “take”, or permit “take”, of any seabird species in the Cayman Islands at any time.

All Cayman’s seabird species are widespread species with global tropical distributions, and are not listed as globally threatened on the IUCN Red List. However, within the Cayman Islands, historic accounts and assessments to date suggest substantial declines in the numbers of nesting Red-footed Boobies, Brown Boobies and White-tailed Tropicbirds over the last century. Bridled Terns in the Cayman Islands are restricted to a single, very small, nesting site on Grand Cayman (Vidal Cay or Barkers’ Cay) off of Barkers in the North Sound and Least Terns, once using numerous nesting sites, now largely use Sand Cay in the South Sound of Grand Cayman. Magnificent Frigatebirds are maintaining stable populations in the Cayman Islands at this time.
While no National Red List assessments have been carried out for Cayman’s seabird species, they should all be regarded as locally threatened due to nesting habitat limitations and/or low population sizes.

The current nesting colony of Red-footed Boobies and Magnificent Frigatebirds, in the Booby Pond Nature Reserve on Little Cayman, is protected through the National Trust Law (2010), the NCA, and in part as a RAMSAR site. The RAMSAR Convention (1971) has been extended to the Cayman Islands, requiring a commitment to work towards the wise use of our mangroves and other wetlands through national plans, policies and legislation, management actions and public education.

Vidal Cay on Grand Cayman, where the Bridled Terns breed, is a Protected Area under the NCA part 3, section 7, as is Sand Cay on Grand Cayman, which supports the largest nesting colony of Least Terns in the Cayman Islands. Brown Booby and White-tailed Tropicbird nesting cliffs on Cayman Brac have also been nominated and proposed for protection under the NCA.

Read the complete Conservation Plan and Landowner FAQ below.

Click to view the full Conservation Plan

Click to view the Landowners FAQ

Click to take the survey

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