Priority sites were found throughout Peleliu, and thus the IBA was drawn to include the entire island. This IBA does not include the island of Ngedebus to the north. Peleliu is one of the two southernmost islands in the main Palau archipelago and has extensive flat lands surrounding steep ridges. Most of the flat areas are on the western coast. The island has the greatest concentration of mangrove habitat outside of Babeldaob. It is also famous for its WWII sites including Bloody Nose Ridge and Orange Beach, and the remaining tanks, guns, and other military structures scattered throughout the island. There are 700 people living in five villages in Peleliu. Most of the island is privately or clan owned. The mangroves are managed by the state.
Peleliu is notable because all but one of the restricted- range species were found during the national bird surveys in 2004 and 2005. In fact, during these surveys Peleliu had the highest number of bird species (diversity) and the highest number of individual birds recorded (abundance). Large numbers of migratory birds were seen as well. Forest birds were observed to be particularly abundant at Bloody Nose Ridge. Peleliu is one of two sites in Palau where the Giant White-eye was observed. The Giant White-eye was commonly found in the interior forests, however was not observed in the mangroves.
Non-bird biodiversity: The forests of Peleliu have shown significant recovery after WWII which left the island almost completely deforested. Today thriving secondary vegetation covers about 50% of the island. The remaining forested areas include limestone forest, swamp forest, Casuarina forest and mangroves (Cole et al. 1987). Fruit bats roost in the forests. Occasionally green and hawksbill turtles nest on Peleliu’s beaches, however, the eggs are often poached. Abandoned mining pits from the Japanese era serve as freshwater and saltwater habitats for birds and other important endangered species, such as the saltwater crocodile.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The island of Peleliu currently does not have a terrestrial protected area. Teluleu Conservation Area is a nearshore marine protected area, and the primary dive sites south of the island have recently gained protected status. In addition, the numerous WWII sites throughout Peleliu are on the National Registry of Historic Sites. There is extensive mangrove mostly on the eastern coast of the island, which has been considered for protection (PCS 1998). Other sites proposed for protection include upland limestone forest on the north-south ridge that divides the island, swamp forest between Ledemisang and Ngermelt mangroves on the east side of the island, and the Casuarina forest near Mesubedumail Bay on the southern end of the island. Peleliu’s interior forests are particularly important habitats for birds, and protection of these areas would help to protect Peleliu’s unique and diverse avifauna.
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Peleliu. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 29/11/2022.