Bokak Atoll

Country/territory: Marshall Islands

IBA criteria met: A4ii, A4iii (2012)
For more information about IBA criteria, please click here

Area: 484 ha

IBA conservation status
Year of assessment (most recent) State (condition) Pressure (threat) Response (action)
2007 not assessed high not assessed
For more information about IBA monitoring, please click here

Site description (2007 baseline)
Bokak (Taongi) is an uninhabited atoll, the northernmost and most isolated in the Marshall Islands. It is low and dry, semi-desert and very stony. Ten islets form the atoll. The atoll is home to congregations of breeding seabirds and a rare semi-arid atoll ecosystem.

Key biodiversity
The entire atoll of Bokak (Bakak, Pakak, Taongi) in the Ratik chain is proposed as an IBA under the A4 criteria (Figure 5). Bokak has consistently shown records of thousands of birds (Fosberg, 1955; Amerson, 1969; Thomas, 1989). Using only the minimum populations recorded (which may have been taken during a non-nesting period), the atoll was still shown to have around 36,750 individual birds, meeting several of the A4 criteria. Bokak meets the A4i criteria, for >1% of the regional biogeographic population for Sooty Terns. The 1% regional biogeographic threshold is 20,000 individuals (Appendix 1). Amerson (1969) reported as many as 20,000 Sooty Terns for the atoll. Bokak meets the A4ii criteria for >1% of the global population for Red-footed Boobies and Great Frigatebirds. The 1% global threshold for Red-footed Boobies is 1,500 pairs, which this report has converted to 3,000 individuals. The recorded populations of Red-footed Boobies ranged from 3,500 to 4,500 individuals, exceeding the threshold. The 1% global threshold for Great Frigatebirds is 850 pairs, which this report converted to 1,700 individuals. The recorded populations of Great Frigatebirds ranged from 5,300 to 7,300, exceeding this threshold. The A4iii criteria requires >20,000 waterbirds or seabirds. At a minimum, the population was 36,750 individual birds, exceeding this threshold.

Non-bird biodiversity: Bokak, together with Bikar, are possibly the only remaining examples in the world of unaltered semi-arid atoll ecosystems. Bokak is also home to a confirmed endemic grass, Lepturus gassparicensis, and to nesting Green Sea Turtles (NBT, 2000). While the atoll has only nine species of flowering plants, all nine are native and the vegetation is completely undisturbed by exotics (Thomas, 1989). The atoll provides the best remaining examples of Scaevola sericea and Sida fallax shrubland in the RMI.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Bokak Atoll. Downloaded from on 27/09/2023.