St Helena

Country/Territory St Helena (to UK)
Area 0 km2
Altitude 0 - 0m
Priority -
Habitat loss -
Knowledge -

General characteristics

The island of St Helena covers 122 km2 and rises to 823 m. It is a UK dependent territory (see also EBAs 079, 080) in the South Atlantic Ocean, lying some 1,960 km from the nearest point on the south-west coast of Africa and 2,900 km east of South America. The majority of the original vegetation has been almost entirely destroyed, with over 60% of the island now covered by eroded areas of rock or prickly pear, aloe and other exotic species. The island is a Secondary Area on account of its one surviving endemic landbird, the St Helena Plover Charadrius sanctaehelenae, which occurs only in the northern flatter parts of the interior. Intensive study during 1988-1989 showed that some 450 birds were then present, at highest densities in relatively dry, flat pasture, and that the only threat appeared to lie in potential land-use changes. However, more recent censuses suggest a steady decline, and the species has been classified as Endangered (Collar et al. 1994). The fossil record on St Helena is well represented including evidence of at least four, presumably endemic, landbirds (two flightless rails, a cuckoo and a hoopoe) which were probably present when the island was discovered in 1502, after which they quickly succumbed to the effects of predation by man and his commensal animals and deforestation.

Restricted-range species

Species IUCN Category
St Helena Plover (Charadrius sanctaehelenae) VU

Important Bird Areas (IBAs)
IBA Code Site Name Country
SH003 North-east St Helena St Helena (to UK)
SH004 South-west St Helena St Helena (to UK)
SH013 Gumwood Hill St Helena (to UK)
SH014 Donkey Plain St Helena (to UK)
SH016 Fishers Valley Flat St Helena (to UK)

Threat and conservation

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Endemic Bird Areas factsheet: St Helena. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 07/12/2021.