Annobón is a volcanic island of 2,088 ha and is surrounded by a number of scattered rocky islets, all within 2.5 km of the shore. The site includes the whole island, the islets and surrounding seas up to three nautical miles offshore. The coastline is rugged with a predominantly rocky coast and a few small beaches. Forest, including the now-abandoned cocoa and coffee plantations, covers around 75% of the island. The Natural Reserve, and the IBA, includes the surrounding sea to a distance of three nautical miles.
See Box and Table 2 for key species. Although information on Annobón’s birds has been recently updated, the last complete survey was undertaken in the 1950s. Nineteen species of bird have been so far been recorded, of which 12 are thought to be resident; only eight are terrestrial species. In addition to that listed below, other breeding seabirds include Sula leucogaster, Phaethon lepturus (50 pairs), Sterna anaethetus (200 pairs) and Anous stolidus (1,500 pairs).
Non-bird biodiversity: Fourteen angiosperm plants, nine land-snails and two reptiles are endemic to the island and a further six plants, three land-snails and one reptile occur which are endemic to more than one of the Gulf of Guinea islands. At least two species of turtle—Eretmochelys imbricata (CR) and Dermochelys coriacea (EN)—nest on the beaches of Annobón. The whales Balaenoptera musculus (EN), B. physalis (EN), B. borealis (EN) and Megaptera novaeangliae (VU) reach the offshore coasts of Annobón.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Although Annobón has been identified as a protected area since 1988, no official protection measures have been implemented, nor are any research or conservation projects being undertaken or planned. The human population of the island does not appear to be increasing significantly and no major clearance of forest is anticipated. Hunting of birds and the collection of eggs, particularly of Sulaleucogaster, the largest bird, indeed wild animal, on the island is, however, a problem. Introduced mammals, particularly domestic cats Felis catus and rats Rattus norvegicus, are not thought to significantly affect the two endemic birds, since their nests are inaccessible, but these predators probably do have an impact on Columba malherbii. Plans for tourism have been made repeatedly, but have hitherto come to nothing. However, a new airfield is being finished which may change things.
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Annobón. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 30/05/2020.