Banana River is home for 22 species of threatened or endangered animals and one plant. The mangroves and seagrass beds are nursery grounds for many species of fish such as redfish, black drum, snapper, snook, seatrout and tarpon. The lagoon is also an important wintering area for migratory birds and manatees.


The major natural communities of the Banana River are mangrove forests, seagrass meadows, algal beds and salt marsh. It also contains oyster bars and tidal flats.

Spoil Island Bird Rookery

Banana River Aquatic Preserve is an important home and nursery for an extensive array of fish and wildlife. Spoil islands within the preserve act as a haven for many coastal bird species that have been displaced from nesting sites due to habitat destruction.

Honeymoon East and West are natural islands that were spoiled upon during dredging activities of the 1940s and 1950s. Many bird species, including brown pelican, great egret, snowy egret, reddish egret and roseate spoonbill have been observed nesting on these islands. Locations throughout the aquatic preserve are monitored each breeding season to record species and number of birds nesting. In previous years, over 200 nesting pairs were observed on Honeymoon East. Flight line surveys reported over 1000 birds flying to and from the island at dawn, when movement is most frequent. Trash often washes up on spoil islands, where birds may become entangled or mistakenly ingest the debris. Indian River Lagoon Aquatic Preserve Staff with the help of volunteers were able to remove debris and place signs before nesting season to prevent disturbance to birds.

Listed Species of Banana River Aquatic Preservebird watching

Great Blue Heron – Ardea herodias

Roseate Spoonbill – Ajaia ajaja

Little Blue Heron – Egretta caerulea

Belted Kingfisher – Megaceryle alcyon

Reddish Egret – Egretta rufescens

Snowy Egret – Egretta thula

Tricolored Heron – Egretta tricolor

White Ibis – Eudocimus albus

American Oystercatcher – Haematopus palliatus

Bald Eagle – Haliaeetus leucocephalus

Wood Stork – Mycteria americana

American White Pelican – Pelecanus erythrorhyncus

Brown Pelican – Pelecanus occidentalis

Least Tern – Sterna antillarum

Roseate Tern – Sterna dougallii

West Indian Manatee – Trichechus manatus latirostris

Bottlenose dolphin – Tursiops truncatus

River Otter - Lontra canadensis

American Alligator – Alligator mississippienisis

Diamondback terrapins – Malaclemys terrapin

Atlantic Loggerhead Turtle – Caretta caretta

Atlantic Green Turtle – Chelonia mydas mydas

Leatherback Turtle – Dermochelys coriacea

Eastern Indigo Snake – Drymarchon corais couperi

Atlantic Salt Marsh Snake – Nerodia fasciata taeniata

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