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Location South Africa, Eastern Cape
Central coordinates 26o 2.00' East  33o 49.00' South
IBA criteria A1, A4i, A4ii, A4iii
Area 40 ha
Altitude 0 - 58m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

BirdLife South Africa

Site description Located to the east of Port Elizabeth, in the large arc of Algoa Bay, this group of coastal islands is clustered in two groups of three islands each. One group comprises the large St Croix Island with the much smaller stacks of Jahleel and Brenton Rocks closer inshore. St Croix Island lies 4 km from the mainland and is situated between the Coega and Sundays river mouths, 21 km north-east of the harbour at Port Elizabeth. This rocky 12 ha island rises to 58 m and supports minimal vegetation. The second island group consists of Bird, Seal and Stag Islands, and lies some 40 km east of the first group (i.e. 53 km due east of Port Elizabeth) and 7 km from the nearest land fall at Woody Cape Nature Reserve (IBA ZA073). Bird Island (19 ha) is the largest of the Algoa Bay islands; it is relatively flat and rises to only 9 m. Seal Island is a small island (0.6 ha) lying 360 m north of Bird Island, and Stag Island is even smaller (0.1 ha), lying 320 m north-west of Bird Island. Much of the island group is covered by sparse growth of mixed vegetation dominated by the fleshy herb Mesembryanthemum. Tetragonia and Chenopodium form localized thickets that provide cover for some seabirds. The Algoa Bay Islands are of considerable importance as they are the only islands along a 1,777 km stretch of coastline between Cape Agulhas and Inhaca Island in Mozambique.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Jackass Penguin Spheniscus demersus resident  21,200 breeding pairs  A1, A4ii  Endangered 
Jackass Penguin Spheniscus demersus winter  60,000 individuals  A1, A4ii  Endangered 
Cape Gannet Morus capensis resident  59,000 breeding pairs  A1, A4ii  Vulnerable 
Cape Gannet Morus capensis winter  140,000 individuals  A1, A4ii  Vulnerable 
African Oystercatcher Haematopus moquini resident  16-20 breeding pairs  A1, A4i  Near Threatened 
African Oystercatcher Haematopus moquini winter  40-50 individuals  A1, A4i  Near Threatened 
Antarctic Tern Sterna vittata winter  500-5,000 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus breeding  500-900 breeding pairs  A4i  Least Concern 
Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus winter  1,000-1,950 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Roseate Tern Sterna dougallii breeding  180 breeding pairs  A4i  Least Concern 
Roseate Tern Sterna dougallii non-breeding  400 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - seabirds resident  100,000-499,999 individuals  unknown  A4iii   

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Bird Island Other Area 4 protected area contained by site 19  
Black Rocks (Algoa Bay) Unknown 1 protected area contained by site 1  
Brenton Island (Algoa Bay) Unknown 3 protected area contained by site 3  
Jahleel Island (Algoa Bay) Unknown 3 protected area contained by site 3  
Seal Island (Algoa Bay) Unknown 1 protected area contained by site 1  
St. Croix Island (Algoa Bay) Unknown 14 protected area contained by site 14  
Stag Island (Algoa Bay) Unknown 1 protected area contained by site 1  


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

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research 100%

Other biodiversity St Croix Island holds significant populations of two lizards, the Algoa-Bay endemic Cordylus tasmani and Pachydactylus maculatus.

References Adams (1991), Branch (1991), Broekhuysen et al. (1961), Brooke and Prins (1986), Brooke et al. (1988), Cooper and Berruti (1989), Cooper and Brooke (1986), Cooper et al. (1982, 1983, 1984, 1990), Crawford (1995), Crawford and Dyer (1995), Crawford and Shelton (1978, 1981), Crawford et al. (1982a, 1983, 1989, 1990, 1994, 1995c), Every (1970), Frost et al. (1976), Furness and Cooper (1982), Hockey (1983), Hockey and Hallinan (1981), Jarvis (1971), Klages (1994), Klages et al. (1992), la Cock (1995), McGill (1970), McLachlan (1974a,b), McLachlan and McLachlan (1974), Morant et al. (1981), Rand (1963), Randall and Randall (1984, 1987), Randall and Randall (1980, 1981a,b, 1982), Randall et al. (1980, 1981, 1991), Randall and Ross (1979), Ross (1971, 1978), Shelton et al. (1982), Siegfried (1982), Summers and Cooper (1977), Underhill (1992), Urquhart and Klages (1996), Wilson et al. (1988).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Algoa Bay Island Nature Reserve. Downloaded from on 29/07/2014

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