email a friend
printable version
Location Malaysia, Sabah
Central coordinates 116o 20.00' East  6o 43.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A2, A4ii
Area 61 ha
Altitude 0 - 30m
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Malaysian Nature Society

Summary Situated in the district of Kota Belud, Sabah, the area consist of three islands. The islands are gazetted as a Bird Sanctuary too.

Site description Pulau Mantanani consists of three islands namely Pulau Mantanani Besar, Pulau Mantanani Kecil and Pulau Lungisan, a small island just off the western shore of Pulau Mantanani Besar. Pulau Mantanani Besar is about 3 km across and 1.5 km at its widest point. The island is surrounded by sandy, calcareous beaches, except on its northern side. Pulau Mantanani Kecil is a thin island 2.5 km by 0.7 km. The island is composed mostly of limestone bluffs and rocky shores, with little strand or kerangas vegetation (Sheldon, 1983). Pulau Lungisan is a 40 m high limestone stack covered with low trees and steep slopes close to Pulau Mantanani Besar (Møller, 2002).

Key Biodiversity The islands are important to pelagic species, wintering migrants and residents although the diversity is not great (28 species). Pelagic species such as the Frigatebirds (Christmas Island, Great and Lesser) have been recorded roosting in great numbers on Pulau Mantanani Kecil and Pulau Lungisan, one of the very few localities in Sabah where these migratory species can be found. These islands are estimated to hold 2,000-3,000 Frigatebirds Fregata spp. during peak season, with mostly juveniles and sub-adults (Møller, 2002).Other Near Threatened species that has been recorded are the endemic Mantanani Scops-owl Otus mantananensis, Malaysian Plover Charadrius peronii, Nicobar Pigeon Caloenas nicobarica and Blue-naped Parrot Tanygnathus lucionensis (Boden Kloss, 1930; Møller, 2002; Sheldon, 1983; Smythies, 1981). The Megapode Megapodius freycinet was found breeding on Pulau Mantanani Besar in March 1982, where eight birds and six active nest mounds were examined (Sheldon, 1983).

Non-bird biodiversity: (I) Globally threatened mammals (IUCN, 2002): VULNERABLE: Dugong Dugong dugon (Elliott, 2003).(II) Globally threatened reptiles (IUCN, 2002): CRITICAL: Hawksbill Turtle Eretmochelys imbricata; ENDANGERED: Green Turtle Chelonia mydas(III) Globally threatened plants (IUCN, 2002): No information.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Christmas Frigatebird Fregata andrewsi non-breeding  2004  present  A1, A4ii  Critically Endangered 
Lesser Frigatebird Fregata ariel non-breeding  2004  present  A4ii  Least Concern 
Grey Imperial-pigeon Ducula pickeringii resident  2004  present  A1  Vulnerable 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Pulau Mantanani Bird Sanctuary 300 protected area contains site 61  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest   -
Coastline   -

Protection status The islands are gazetted as a Bird Sanctuary in 1960 under the Land Ordinance 1960 (amended 1967) and Sabah Cap 68 (Regis, 2001; Smythies, 1999).

References Boden Kloss, C. 1930. The Birds of Mangalum and Mantanani Islands off the West Coast of British North Borneo. Bulletin of the Raffles Museum 4: 117-123.Elliott, G. 2003. The Dugongs of Mantanani. Malaysian Naturalist 56(3): 32-35.IUCN. 2002. 2002 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. (23 June 2003).Møller, H.S. 2002. Bird Observations: Mantanani Islands, Sabah, Malaysia 2002. (Unpublished).Regis, P. 2001. The Management of Protected Areas in Sabah. Pp. 67-98 in Zahra Yaacob, Moo-Tan, S. and S. Yorath (eds.). Proceedings of the International Conference on In-situ and Ex-situ Biodiversity Conservation in the New Millennium, 20-22 June 2000, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. Kota Kinabalu: Yayasan Sabah/Innoprise Corporation Sdn. Bhd. And Sabah Museum. Sheldon, F.H. 1983. The Birds of the Mantanani Islands. Sabah Society Journal 7(3): 165-175.Smythies, B.E. 1981. The Birds of Borneo (3rd Edition). Kota Kinabalu: The Sabah Society, and Kuala Lumpur: The Malayan Nature Society.Smythies, B.E. 1999. The birds of Borneo. Fourth edition. Revised by G.W.H. Davison. Kota Kinabalu: Natural History Publications (Borneo).Yeap, C.A., Sebastian, A. and Siti Hawa Yatim (compilers) 2003. The Asian Waterbird Census 2003 Country Report (Malaysia). Kuala Lumpur: Malaysian Nature Society.

Contribute  Please click here to help BirdLife conserve the world's birds - your data for this IBA and others are vital for helping protect the environment.

Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Mantanani islands. Downloaded from on 24/10/2016

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife