This coastal site lies west of the town of Boké on the international border with Guinea-Bissau, which forms its western boundary. It consists of an estuarine complex comprising two main islands, Ile Katarak (the largest) and Ile Kapken, and two smaller ones, Niémé Souri and Foré Souri, at the mouth of the River Kogon. Much of the area is covered in mangroves as well as fresh and brackish water marshes, rice-fields and extensive intertidal mudflats (2,300 ha). Secondary forest and wooded savanna occurs on the highest points (5 m) of the islands. To the south-west of Ile Katarak lies a sandy islet known as Pani Bankhi, which is covered with halophytic vegetation.
See Box for key species. Counts of between 5,000–10,000 Phoenicopterus minor have been made. The breeding colonies of Platalea alba and Sterna caspia, as well as of Threskiornis aethiopica (75 pairs) and Larus cirrocephalus are located on Pani Bankhi. In addition, Ardea goliath,Ciconia episcopus, Scopus umbretta, Haliaetus vocifer and Balearica pavonina are suspected to breed. The mudflats surrounding the islands, particularly those adjacent to the village of Katchek on Ile Katarak, hold more than 20,000 wintering waders and it is likely that further counts would reveal that more species exceed 1% thresholds.
Non-bird biodiversity: Among mammals, Trichechus senegalensis (VU) is found in the mangroves, and the dolphin Sousa teuszii (DD) has been recorded from the channel between Ile Katarak and Pani Bankhi.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The Iles Tristao were designated a Ramsar Site in 1992 and have been proposed as a National Park. Raiding of the breeding colonies on Pani Bankhi is an occasional problem. In the 1990s some basic infrastructure was installed at Pani Bankhi (signs, etc.), but it was destroyed shortly afterwards.
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Iles Tristao. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 26/03/2023.