Seabirds and other colonial waterbirds nesting in the northern Bahamas are nearly undocumented. This study is the first complete inventory of seabirds and other colonial waterbirds nesting in the northern Bahamas (including the islands of the Abacos, Grand Bahamas, Biminis, and Berries). The survey found 20,267 nests of 19 species of seabirds and other colonial waterbirds at 113 colony sites. The over 40,000 seabirds and other colonial waterbirds found nesting in the northern Bahamas doubles population estimates previously published for The Bahamas as a whole, which included few of these sites. Sooty Tern (Sterna fuscata) was the most abundant species, having a nesting population of over 10,000 pairs. Next most abundant were the Bridled Tern (Sterna anaethetus), Laughing Gull (Larus atricilla), and Brown Noddy (Sterna stolidus). This paper documents the first nesting record in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas of the White Ibis (Eudocimus albus), the first recent nesting in northern Bahamas of the Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregatta magnificens), and the first recent nesting in Grand Bahama of the Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis). Based on the results, 27 sites may be recognized as of special importance to seabird conservation in the northern Bahamas. Opportunities for conservation, including community-based colony site stewardship and protection of the most important sites within twelve protected areas are discussed.
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Vol. 30 • No. 4