Species Conservation Plan for Colonial Nesting Seabirds

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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.

Download the full Conservation Plan

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