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Location Fiji, Viti Levu
Central coordinates 178o 12.00' East  17o 55.00' South
IBA criteria A1, A2
Area 40,700 ha
Altitude 80 - 1,185m
Year of IBA assessment 2006

NatureFiji- MareqetiViti (Affiliate)



Summary Sovi Basin is the largest (proposed) protected area in Fiji. It is a large, uninhabited, basin with a pristine watershed of lowland rainforest. It supports populations of most of Viti Levu’s birds including Long-legged Warbler and relatively large numbers of Pink-billed Parrotfinches.

Site description Sovi Basin is a large basin or amphitheatre of low rolling hills ringed by steep volcanic peaks rising to 1,185 m. The hills in the western third of the basin are mostly between 300 m and 600 m, otherwise between 80 m and 300 m and drain through a narrow gorge to the east. The basin is composed of plutonic granite surrounded by andesite volcanics while the basin soils are infertile red-yellow podzols. Rainfall has been estimated at over 2,800 mm in the wet season (November–April) and 1,200—1,600 mm in the dry season, and lowland temperatures average 25°C. 

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Fiji Goshawk Accipiter rufitorques resident  2005  rare  A2  Least Concern 
Shy Ground-dove Alopecoenas stairi resident  2005  uncommon  A1, A2  Vulnerable 
Many-coloured Fruit-dove Ptilinopus perousii resident  2005  rare  A2  Least Concern 
Golden Dove Chrysoena luteovirens resident  2005  common  A2  Least Concern 
Barking Imperial-pigeon Ducula latrans resident  2005  common  A2  Least Concern 
Collared Lory Phigys solitarius resident  2005  frequent  A2  Least Concern 
Masked Shining-parrot Prosopeia personata resident  2005  common  A1, A2  Near Threatened 
Wattled Honeyeater Foulehaio carunculatus resident  2005  common  A2  Least Concern 
Giant Honeyeater Gymnomyza viridis resident  2005  abundant  A2  Least Concern 
Orange-breasted Myzomela Myzomela jugularis resident  2005  common  A2  Least Concern 
Fiji Woodswallow Artamus mentalis resident  2005  uncommon  A2  Least Concern 
Polynesian Triller Lalage maculosa resident  2005  common  A2  Least Concern 
Streaked Fantail Rhipidura verreauxi resident  2005  common  A2  Least Concern 
Slaty Monarch Mayrornis lessoni resident  2005  common  A2  Least Concern 
Fiji Shrikebill Clytorhynchus vitiensis resident  2005  frequent  A2  Least Concern 
Black-throated Shrikebill Clytorhynchus nigrogularis resident  2005  uncommon  A1, A2  Vulnerable 
Vanikoro Flycatcher Myiagra vanikorensis resident  2005  frequent  A2  Least Concern 
Blue-crested Flycatcher Myiagra azureocapilla resident  2005  common  A2  Least Concern 
Long-legged Thicketbird Trichocichla rufa resident  2005  3 individuals  poor  A1, A2  Endangered 
Fiji Bush-warbler Cettia ruficapilla resident  2005  abundant  A2  Least Concern 
Layard's White-eye Zosterops explorator resident  2005  abundant  A2  Least Concern 
Polynesian Starling Aplonis tabuensis resident  2005  frequent  A2  Least Concern 
Fiji Parrotfinch Erythrura pealii resident  2005  frequent  A2  Least Concern 
Pink-billed Parrotfinch Erythrura kleinschmidti resident  2005  uncommon  A1, A2  Vulnerable 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Sovi Basin National Park 19,260 protected area contained by site 19,260  
Sovi Basin Conservation Area Other Area 19,620 protected area contained by site 19,620  

Habitats

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

Land ownership Sovi Basin is under traditional ownership of 13 mataqali, belonging to the three Tikina; Waimaro (97%), Nadaravakawalu and Namosi. As well as these Native Lands, there are eight small Crown Lands (totalling about 1,306 ha) and two Freehold Lands (80 ha). The basin was inhabited a few generations ago but abandoned because of poor soils and accessibility into the basin. Sovi is only 35 km from the capital, Suva.

Land use

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

Other biodiversity The endemic Fijian Burrowing Snake (VU) is known historically from Sovi and several other endemic reptiles occur including Green Tree Skink and Fijian Copper-headed Skink. The Fijian Tree Frog (NT) also occurs. Recent PABITRA surveys suggest that the basin supports about 680 species of vascular plants, one third of Fiji’s total. This includes large numbers of Schefflera euthytrica (DD) in a very rare lowland rainforest formation on plains around creeks dominated by Verbenaceae trees.

Protection status Proposed conservation area. Site of National Significance.

References BIRDLIFE INTERNATIONAL (2003) Fiji Programme IBA project field reports Nos 6, 7, 10, 14 and 32. CABANIUK, S., LEES, A. AND WRIGHT, S. (1995) A Future for the Sovi Basin, Waimaro – Integrating Conservation and Development. Final Report. Suva: Native Lands Trust Board. USP (2003) PABITRA Survey Report – Sovi Basin May 2003. Suva: University of the South Pacific. Unpublished report. USP (2004) PABITRA Survey Report – Sovi Basin October 2004. Suva: University of the South Pacific. Unpublished report.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Sovi Basin. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 20/09/2014

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