FJ13
East Kadavu


Year of compilation: 2012

Site description
The terrain is rugged and includes the second and third highest peaks on Kadavu, Mt Niabutubutu at 634 m and Mt Biloniyaqona. 

Key biodiversity
A1 Globally threatened species * Friendly Ground-dove (VU) – uncommon * Kadavu Shining Parrot (VU) – common * [Black-faced Shrikebill (VU) – likely to occur in small numbers] * Whistling Dove (NT) – common * Kadavu Fantail (NT) – common A2 Restricted-range species 16 (out of 18 on Kadavu and 36 in Fiji), including all four endemic to Kadavu. On June 6 1925 Correia (1927-1929) recorded: “many old holes, no birds inside. - only birds found all gray backed; - people went 3 times a week to get [petrels] to eat ; - they start coming in March, and during March and April the people kill many hundreds and take eggs, but they stop killing in May in order to give the younger birds a chance to grow up. In June they start killing the young ones for eating, so this is the reason that very few are left in the holes; - collected about 20 in 2 days.” Harvesting was still reported in east Kadavu in the 1980s (Watling 1986) and 2004 (V. Masibalavu pers. comm.) and may continue today. It is noteworthy that by 2004 the numbers harvested were at least an order of magnitude lower than Correia (1927-1929) reports from 1925 (V. Masibalavu pers. comm.).

Non-bird biodiversity: East Kadavu has not been surveyed for other biodiversity. The lowland dry forests are likely to support species not occurring at Nabukelevu, the other IBA on Kadavu.



Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The main threat to East Kadavu’s birds is forest degradation by logging, fire and agricultural expansion. The IBA is not protected and its borders are not clearly defined within the large areas of degraded forest in east Kadavu, enabling easy encroachment from the logged forests and agriculture around the IBA. This erosion of the main forest block may accelerate if the area attracts infrastructural development such as more tourism facilities and a proposed airstrip. As elsewhere in Fiji, logging roads allow increased access into the forest by invasive alien mammals. Cats are likely to predate Collared Petrel eggs and chicks, and rats are likely to predate various tree-nesting species. The island is currently mongoose-free, but their invasion from the main Fijian island of Viti Levu represents perhaps the greatest threat to Kadavu's seabirds and landbirds. People report the continuing traditional practice of harvesting Collared Petrels for food. Evidence from Correia (1927-1929) and V. Masibalavu (pers. comm.) suggests this has had a significant impact on petrel populations within the IBA.

Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
Research should be undertaken to confirm the presence of Collared Petrel and assess remaining numbers. The current level of harvesting and whether it is a sustainable practice needs urgent attention. Kadavu Shining Parrots may be affected across the island by the collection of nestlings for local use as pets. Finally, Kadavu is the second-largest island in Fiji free of mongoose (after Taveuni); mongoose colonisation is perhaps the greatest threat to its birds. Biosecurity measures to prevent the colonisation of mongoose from elsewhere in Fiji is essential. There are currently no conservation activities in east Kadavu but conservation of a large tract of old-growth forest as a sustainable resource for the land-owning communities should be included in any island-scale planning.

Protected areas
Unprotected

Habitat and land use
Extensive forests remain in east Kadavu but many have been logged, encroached by agriculture or burned. The East Kadavu IBA is the largest block of old-growth lowland and lower montane forest on the island. The higher peaks and steeper slopes support montane forest, sometimes with long slender kiki reeds on the highest peaks. This slowly merges into lowland rainforest across most of the IBA. Forest at the lowest altitudes is dryer, becoming semi-deciduous forest in the driest areas along the north coast, but most of this has been extensively degraded. The IBA is bounded by degraded, mostly logged forest with some agricultural incursions. Old-growth forests extend down to 100 m in some places, but only to 400 m elsewhere.


Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: East Kadavu. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 02/12/2022.