Joulter Cays, Bahamas

Site Details
Assessment Details

Site Overview

KBA status: confirmed

Rationale for qualifying as KBA: This site was originally confirmed as a KBA under legacy criteria for the Short-billed Dowitcher (Limnodromus griseus) and the Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus). Updated shorebird population data from a consolidated database of multi-year censuses across the Bahamas indicates that the Joulter Cays regularly supports wintering aggregations of Piping Plovers. Therefore, the productive sand flats of the Joulter Cays provide critical habitat for this declining species. The boundaries of the Joulter Cays KBA mostly match the boundaries of the Joulter Cays National Park, with the addition of a small area of ​​sand flats to the south that is commonly used by the wintering Piping Plover population of the Joulter Cays.

Global KBA criteria: D1a
Year of assessment: 2021
National site name: Joulter Cays
Central coordinates: Lat: 25.27 Long: -78.15
System: Terrestrial, Marine
Altitude (m): 0 to 7
Area of KBA (ha): 40,390
Protected area coverage (%): 96

Text account

Year of compilation: 2021
Site description:

The Joulter Cays lie on the margins of the Grand Bahama Bank north of Andros Island. It is a large intertidal to shallow subtidal area of stabilized sand flats that covers approximately 403.898 km². The sand flats are penetrated partly by tidal channels with grass beds. The flats area fringed on the windward eastern and northeastern boarders by mobile sands creating roosting habitats for shorebirds. On the seaward side there is a ridge of vegetated islands up to 7 m above mean sea level. The primary vegetation on the Joulter Cays is Red and Black Mangrove. Other vegetated islands are scattered among the sand flats. The sand bars are primarily made up of rare Ooid or Oolite sand. This unique spherical grained sand resembling Fish-roe is developed through a chemical process adding concentric layers around a central nucleus. The sands have a large surface area that promotes bacterial growth and are mainly used in the aquarium industry.

Summary of threats to biodiversity at KBA:



IUCN Habitat Coverage level Coverage % Habitat detail
1. Forest - - -


Threat level 1 Threat level 2 Threat level 3 Timing Scope Severity Impact
8 Invasive & other problematic species, genes & diseases NULL NULL NULL NULL NULL

Recommended citation

Key Biodiversity Areas Partnership (2022) Key Biodiversity Areas factsheet: Joulter Cays. Extracted from the World Database of Key Biodiversity Areas. Developed by the Key Biodiversity Areas Partnership: BirdLife International, IUCN, American Bird Conservancy, Amphibian Survival Alliance, Conservation International, Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, Global Environment Facility, Global Wildlife Conservation, NatureServe, Rainforest Trust, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, World Wildlife Fund and Wildlife Conservation Society. Downloaded from on 08/08/2022.