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Location Japan, Tokyo
Central coordinates 140o 18.00' East  30o 29.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A4ii
Area 453 ha
Altitude 0 - 400m
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Wild Bird Society of Japan

Site description Torishima is an uninhabited islet of 453 ha with an active volcano, which is located about 600 km south of Tokyo metropolitan area, and this also belongs to the Tokyo administrative district. Its soil consists of basalt and andesite. It has few trees, but has grasses and bare ground can be seen. Torishima islet was once the largest breeding site in the world for Short-tailed Albatross. In 1887 feather traders landed on the islet, then their excessive hunting of Short-tailed Albatross and Black-footed Albatross began. Until the hunting was prohibited in 1933, about 200,000 albatrosses were killed in a certain year and totally 5,000,000 albatrosses were estimated to be killed at least. It was reported in 1949 that Short-tailed Albatross had become extinct. However since a small number of them were rediscovered in 1951, they have been carefully protected and designated as a National Natural Monument, an Internationally-protected Bird, and a National Special Natural Monument. In 1965, when volcanic activities became active, Torishima became an uninhabited islet. The observation of albatrosses in 1973 led to the restart of the successive protection projects for Short-tailed Albatross, raising the breeding success ratio of chicks and forming another new colony. As a result, the population of Short-tailed Albatross was increased from about 500 in 1992, to about 1,000 in 1999 and about 1,900 in 2006. Estimated population in 2008 was about 2,140. For fear of possible volcanic eruptions, a big project of moving a part of Short-tailed Albatross' chicks on Torishima to Mukojima islet of Ogasawarashoto islands, and forming a new breeding site started in February, 2008 with international cooperation. The project is going on fairly as expected.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Black-footed Albatross Phoebastria nigripes breeding  2004  present  A1  Near Threatened 
Short-tailed Albatross Phoebastria albatrus breeding  2004  present  A1, A4ii  Vulnerable 
Japanese Murrelet Synthliboramphus wumizusume breeding  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 

IBA Monitoring

2010 low not assessed low
Poor - based on little, or potentially unreliable/unrepresentative, data

No known threats no known threats happening now whole area/population (>90%) no or imperceptible deterioration low

Whole area of site (>90%) covered by appropriate conservation designation  Unknown  Unknown  low 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Torishima National Wildlife Special Protected Area 453 is identical to site 453  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Grassland   -

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2015) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Torishima island. Downloaded from on 25/11/2015

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