Sites - Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs)
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Tonga, Ha'apai Group
175o 4.00' West 19o 45.00' South
0 - 558m
Year of IBA assessment
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).
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. www.worldwildlife.org/wildworld/profiles/terrestrial/oc/oc0114_full.html
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BirdLife International (2015) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Tofua. Downloaded from
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