Important Bird Areas

Alligator River Lowlands

North Carolina

This site includes the Alligator River
National Wildlife Refuge and the Dare County Bombing Range. The refuge, established in 1984, includes a vast area of dense pocosin and nonriverine swamp forest with small blackwater streams. Although the majority of the refuge is wild and inaccessible, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service has established several access areas where one can explore the refuge by canoe or on foot. The refuge is one of a few places in the United States where red wolves (Canis rufus) have been reintroduced successfully.

Ornithological Summary

The site holds a significant suite of species associated with pocosin, Atlantic white cedar and hardwood swamp forests, including several Watchlist species. In addition the site holds a significant diversity of migratory landbirds. Anhingas and Red-cockaded Woodpeckers are also found on the refuge, but no current population estimates are available. This is near the northern limit of the breeding range for both species. This is one of North Carolina's most important sites for Black-throated Green Warblers.

Conservation Issues

Introduced plants and animals, natural pests and disease, sea level rise due to global climate change.

The peat soils and low elevation of the site make it especially vulnerable to the effects of sea level rise. Fire suppression has also had a detrimental impact on Redcockaded Woodpecker populations here as well as on other fire-dependent species. The National Wildlife Refuge portion of this Important Bird Area has a comprehensive conservation plan in place.

Ownership

Most of the site is in federal ownership, protected and managed by the United States Fish and
Wildlife Service and United States Department of Defense.

Habitat

deciduous forest, coniferous forest, mixed forest, shrub/scrub, pocosin, brackish marsh, and lake/pond, agricultural.?? Forest includes stands of Atlantic white cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides), pond pine (Pinus serotina), loblolly pine (Pinus taeda), and cypress-gum swamp

Land Use

Wildlife conservation, other conservation, recreation and tourism, hunting, agriculture and cultivation.

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