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Location St Helena (to UK), Ascension Island
Central coordinates 14o 22.00' West  7o 57.00' South
IBA criteria A1, A4i, A4ii, A4iii
Area 9,700 ha
Altitude 0 - 859m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

Site description The site comprises the whole of Ascension Island and the 14 inshore stacks, as well as the marine habitat out to three nautical miles, and is described in the ‘General introduction’.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Red-billed Tropicbird Phaethon aethereus breeding  1959  55 breeding pairs  A4ii  Least Concern 
Ascension Frigatebird Fregata aquila breeding  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Sooty Tern Onychoprion fuscatus breeding  1997  194,000 breeding pairs  A4i  Least Concern 
Black Noddy Anous minutus breeding  1990  5,000 breeding pairs  A4i  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds breeding  500,000-999,999 individuals  unknown  A4iii   

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
fisheries/aquaculture -
military -
nature conservation and research -
urban/industrial/transport -
not utilised -

Other biodiversity The beaches of Ascension are important breeding grounds for turtles, Chelonia mydas (EN), protected locally since 1926. Hatchlings are taken by feral cats. There is a long list of invertebrates, including two endemic pseudoscorpions Apocheiridium cavicola and Allowithius ascensionis. Yellow and purple land-crabs Gecarcinus lagostoma occur throughout the main island, returning to the sea to breed, laying in shell-sand or soft ash. A shrimp Procaris ascensionis, found in coastal rock pools, is endemic.

References Allan (1962), Ashmole (1962, 1963a, b), Ashmole and Ashmole (1997, 2000), Ashmole, Ashmole and Simmons (1994), Bell and Ashmole (1995), Blair (1989), Chapin (1954), Cronk (2000), Dorward (1962a, b, 1963), Dorward and Ashmole (1963), Duffey (1964), Hughes (1991, 1992a, b, 1994, 1997), Hughes et al. (1994), Nash et al. (1991, 1992), Olson (1973, 1977), Osborn (1994), Packer (1983), Ratcliffe (1997), Ratcliffe and Roberts (1997, 1998), Rowlands (1992), Simmons (1967, 1968, 1970, 1990), Stonehouse (1960, 1962a, b), Stonehouse and Stonehouse (1963), Walmsley (1991, 1992, 1994).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Ascension Island: mainland and stacks. Downloaded from on 20/10/2014

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