Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) Range extends from southern Florida, Sinaloa (Mexico), and Yucatan (Mexico) south through Middle America (Pacific and Atlantic) and the West Indies to northern South America (to northern Peru and Venezuela) (Ernst et al. 1999).
Florida: Historical range centered on the southern tip of mainland Florida but extended at least as far north as Sanibel Island and Sarasota County on the west coast and Indian River County on the Atlantic coast, and southward into the Florida Keys (USFWS 2007). The primary historical nesting area in Florida was on the mainland shore of Florida and Biscayne bays, including many of the small islands near shore, in what is today Everglades National Park, and it also included the upper Florida Keys from Key Largo south to Lower Matecumbe Key (see USFWS 2007). Today most nesting occurs on the mainland shore of Florida Bay between Cape Sable and Key Largo, but the nesting range also includes Biscayne Bay and the upper Florida Keys, with unsuccessful nesting north to Marco Island (USFWS 2007).
Middle America: both coasts from Mexico south to Panama. See Kaiser et al. (2001) for information on a breeding population on Roatan, Honduras.
Antilles: Cuba (Isla de la Juventud, and nearby islands), Hispaniola, Jamaica (along south coast and is especially abundant in marshes of Black River in west), Martinique, and Maragarita. The population in Cuba is of uncertain taxonomic status (see Milián-García et al. 2011 and taxonomy comments).
Northern South America: Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, and northern Peru.
Occasional vagrant to Cayman Islands (Schwartz and Henderson 1991).