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Location Tonga, Ha'apai Group
Central coordinates 175o 4.32' West  19o 45.01' South
IBA criteria A2
Area 5,506 ha
Altitude 0 - 558m
Year of IBA assessment 2007

Site description The Tofua IBA comprises the whole island of Tofua, a 46.6 sq. km active volcanic island which retains the largest area of biodiversity rich moist tropical forest in Tonga. The island has seven of the ten central Polynesian restricted range species, and is particularly important for the Tongan populations of the Fiji shrikebill Clytorhynchus vitiensis and the blue-crowned lorikeet Vini australis. The island is inhabited and the on-going clearing of forest for kava plantations is a significant conservation concern as is the presence of feral pigs. Very little is documented on the avifauna and biodiversity of Tofua, for instance there are no seabird records from the island.

Key Biodiversity Ornithological information The volcanic islands of Tofua (55.4 km2) and Late (17 km2) are recognised as having some of Tonga’s best remaining high diversity native forest and still support large populations of birds and reptiles (Steadman 1998) with Tofua’s forest complement being nearly three times the area of that of Late. However, Tofua’s birds and biodiversity in general is very poorly documented and there are no seabird records from the island. Confirmed records from the island still rely greatly on the Whitney South Seas Expedition which collected on 27-28 July 1925. Dieter Rinke and colleagues visited the island briefly in October 1990 with a single observation documented (Rinke et al 1992). Steadman (2006) records observations made in July 1995 and July 1996 which confirmed one additional species. These are summarised in the table below. Of particular significance is the suite of seven ‘central polynesian’ restricted range species (A2).

Non-bird biodiversity: No records.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Ptilinopus porphyraceus breeding  1996  present  A2  Not Recognised 
Many-coloured Fruit-dove Ptilinopus perousii breeding  1996  present  A2  Least Concern 
Blue-crowned Lorikeet Vini australis breeding  1996  present  A2  Least Concern 
Wattled Honeyeater Foulehaio carunculatus breeding  1996  present  A2  Least Concern 
Polynesian Triller Lalage maculosa breeding  1996  present  A2  Least Concern 
Fiji Shrikebill Clytorhynchus vitiensis breeding  1996  present  A2  Least Concern 
Polynesian Starling Aplonis tabuensis breeding  1996  present  A2  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

2007 high not assessed not assessed

Agriculture and aquaculture annual & perennial non-timber crops - small-holder farming happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) slow but significant deterioration high
Invasive & other problematic species, genes & diseases invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - named species happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) slow but significant deterioration high

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Kao National Park 1,250 protected area contained by site 1,250  
Tofua National Park 4,990 protected area contained by site 4,990  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest Lowland evergreen rain forest (tropical)  50%
Wetlands (inland) Freshwater lakes and pools  16%
Shrubland   34%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture major
Notes: Kava plantations

References Jenkins, J.A.F. 1980. Seabird records from Tonga-an account based on the literature and recent observations. Notornis 27:205-235. Prescott, N. and P. S. Folaumoetu’i (Editors). 2004. Tonga Biodiversity Stocktaking. Technical Report 1 for the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan. Dept. of Environment, Nuku’alofa. Rinke, D. 1986a. Notes on the avifauna of Niuafo’ou Island, Kingdom of Tonga. Emu 86:145-151. 1986b. The status of wildlife in Tonga. Oryx 20:146-151. 1991. Birds of ‘Ata and Late, and additional notes on the avifauna of Niuafo’ou Island, Kingdom of Tonga. Notornis 38: 131-151. Rinke, D., L.H.Soakai and A.Usback. 1993. Koe Malau: Life and future of the Malau. Brehm Fund for International Bird Conservation, Bonn. Stattersfield, A.J., M.J. Crosby, A.J. Long, and D.C. Wege. 1998. Endemic Bird Areas of the World: Priorities for biodiversity conservation. BirdLife Conservation Series no. 7, BirdLife International, Cambridge, UK. 846 pp. Steadman, D.W. 1998. Status of land birds on selected islands in the Ha’apai Group, Kingdom of Tonga. Pacific Science 52:14-34. 2006. Extinction and Biogeography of Tropical Pacific Birds. University of Chicago Press. Chicago & London. WWF 2001.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Tofua and Kao. Downloaded from on 22/10/2016

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