The Turks and Caicos Islands lie on two shallow, limestone banks separated by about 30 km of deep ocean, called the Turks Island Passage or the Columbus Passage. The maximum altitude is about 50 m above sea level. There are about 38,000 hectares of intertidal sand banks and mudflats. Of the 500 square km total “dry land” areas of the Turks and Caicos Islands, over half the land area are wetlands.

The islands are important for resident and migratory water birds and land birds, some of which breed as far north as arctic Canada and winter in TCI, or re-fuel to fly on to South America. Additionally, the islands are important for many endemic plants and other animals. TCI has an impressive number of protected areas, but lack of resources for enforcement leaves many vulnerable to illegal activities.

The Northwest Point area is located on the remote west coast of Providenciales and is typically the best spot for birdwatching on the island. Two protected areas are found at this region. The extensive Northwest Point Marine National Park covers about half of the coast up to the high tide point on the west coast of Providenciales, and much of the shallow ocean inside the barrier reef in the area.

The significantly smaller Northwest Point Pond Nature Reserve is home to two inland saline ponds. Although a haven for grebes and ducks (including the West Indian whistling duck), the interior pond is surrounded by the densest red mangrove forest on Providenciales, and practically inaccessible. The adjacent coastal muddy flat and hyper saline pond is much easier to get to and supports a variety of wading and small coastal birds.

West Harbour Bluff is an excellent spot for pelicans, ospreys and White-tailed Tropicbirds.

White-tailed Tropicbird

White-tailed Tropicbird © Vincent Legrand

Showing the 1 Most Recent Trip Reports Posted

Turks & Caicos Islands, March 2011, author Peter Osborn (added May 23, 2012)
(Provo, Providenciales, North Caicos, Middle Caicos, Key West Quail-Dove, Bahama Woodstar, Thick-billed Vireo, Greater Antillean Bullfinch)

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