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Location Timor-Leste, Ermera
Central coordinates 125o 30.36' East  8o 53.58' South
IBA criteria A1, A2
Area 30,245 ha
Altitude 600 - 2,972m
Year of IBA assessment 2007

Site description The highest mountain on Timor (and second highest in the Lesser Sundas) with extensive land (c.100 km2) above 1,500 m. It has various names including the ‘Ramelau Mountains’ (Pegunungan Ramelau), and is apparently known locally as ‘Rama Mailau’. In the early 1980s this site was characterised by “extensive forest cover and the fullest representation of montane Timor fauna including several endemic species” (FAO/UNDP 1982). However, there appear to have been substantial environmental change in the intervening years, as observations in 2005 suggest that very little natural tree cover persists in this IBA. During a visit in March 2002, P. Wurm (in litt. 2002) found that “Much of the surrounding countryside was cleared for grazing (goats, buffalo and horses) or presumably security reasons. There appeared to be few stands of original (“old growth”) forest, which were mainly near mountain crests. Most slopes were grass covered, or with upper slopes supporting even-sized eucalyptus regrowth. The mount itself supported eucalypt (Eucalyptus alba) open shrubland to closed shrubland, with a heath understorey (epacrids and herbaceous species). Towards the summit there was an upper story of emergent eucalyptus trees (E. urophylla), a middle story of reshooting eucalypts and a understorey of heath. The site is visited by religious processions and so has makeshift wooden structures and cleared areas just below the summit, including a beautiful wooden alter, much of which is surrounded by grassy lawns (presumably grazed)”.

Key Biodiversity Only limited ornithological survey work has been carried out in the Tata Mailau area, by G. Stein (in April–May 1932) and M. Bruce (in August 1972) (Mayr 1944, White and Bruce 1986, BirdLife International 2001), and Trainor et al. (2004) considered this IBA a priority for further fieldwork. Ten restricted-range species have been recorded to date, including the Endangered Timor Imperial-pigeon, but it is likely that more of these birds will be found there in the future.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Black Cuckoo-dove Turacoena modesta resident  2007  present  A2  Near Threatened 
Timor Imperial-pigeon Ducula cineracea resident  1932-1972  present  good  A1, A2  Near Threatened 
Olive-headed Lorikeet Trichoglossus euteles 2007  present  A2  Least Concern 
Jonquil Parrot Aprosmictus jonquillaceus resident  2007  present  A2  Near Threatened 
Plain Friarbird Philemon inornatus 2007  present  A2  Least Concern 
Yellow-eared Honeyeater Lichmera flavicans 2007  present  A2  Least Concern 
Plain Gerygone Gerygone inornata 2007  present  A2  Least Concern 
Timor Leaf-warbler Phylloscopus presbytes 2007  present  A2  Least Concern 
Black-banded Flycatcher Ficedula timorensis resident  2007  present  A2  Near Threatened 
Timor Blue-flycatcher Cyornis hyacinthinus 2007  present  A2  Least Concern 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Tata Mailau Protected Wild Area 20,000 is identical to site 20,000  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest   minor
Artificial - terrestrial   minor
Shrubland   minor

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research major

Protection status Proposed as a Wildlife Sanctuary by FAO/UNDP (1982), and apparently a portion (2,000 ha) of the IBA was gazetted as a Wildlife Sanctuary in 1996 (SK Menhut 660/Kpts II/1996) (Ora 2000). Recognised by UNTAET (2000) as a Protected Wild Area under Regulation Number 2000/19.

References Important Bird Areas of Timor-Leste 2007

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Monte Tatamailau. Downloaded from on 21/10/2016

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