Laughing Bird Caye - Belize
Laughing Bird Caye is a beautiful Belizean isle situated on the western side of Victoria Channel, only 11 miles off the coast of Belize. Laughing Bird Caye is the southern most island in the central lagoon of the Belize Barrier Reef. This long narrow isle stands on an elongated ridge of reef known as a faro. A faro is an angular atoll on a continental shelf, also known as a shelf atoll. Like an atoll, a faro is steep sided and encloses a central lagoon. The Laughing Bird Faro is separated from the mainland, the barrier reef and other cayes by deep channels on all sides. The uniqueness of this structure contributes to both the abundance and variety of corals and marine life. The Caye gets its name from the Laughing Gull (Larus artricilla) that once use to breed on the Caye, but due to a growing human presence, the colonies have moved to nearby undisturbed cayes for breeding. Due to the uniqueness of the Caye, the Faro, and the abundant and diverse marine life, the Caye was declared one of the premiere protected areas within the World Heritage of the Belize Barrier Reef in 1996.