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.
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