Atauro Island

Country/territory: Timor-Leste

IBA Criteria met: A1, A2 (2007)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 14,184 ha

Site description
Small patches of tropical semi-evergreen and montane forest on the steep ridges and upper slopes (at 700–970 m) of Mount Manucoco are an important biogeographic representation of these habitat types. These forests occur on topographically protected slopes of Mount Manucoco and cover about 40 km2. Atauro is a member of the Inner Banda Arc of islands (in contrast to Timor which is part of the Outer Arc) which includes the volcanic islands of Lombok through to the Banda islands (Monk et al. 1997). There are no active volcanoes: the landscape is dominated by highly eroded Tertiary (Mio-Pliocene) volcanoes of submarine origin with dissected narrow ridges peaking on Mount Manucoco (995 m) and extensive uplifted coralline reef to 600 m (Monk et al. 1997). There is a broad fringing reef (typically 30–150 m wide), but limited development of alluvial plains and no freshwater wetlands, tidal rivers or extensive mangrove. Newly opened (with corn, peanuts, coconut, bananas, papaya and other fruit trees) and older regenerating swidden fields are dominant near villages but there are remains relatively extensive remnants of dry and evergreen tropical forest (particularly on mountain peaks and gullies) and natural grassy savannas woodlands dominated by Eucalyptus alba (authors’ observations).

Key biodiversity
Fourteen restricted-range species have been recorded in this IBA, including during a 10-day survey in November–December 2003 (Ora 2000, Trainor et al. 2004, Trainor and Soares 2004, Trainor and Leitão in press). The Endangered Timor Green-pigeon is listed for this IBA on the basis of reports by local people, but this has not yet been verified by direct observations.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Atauro Island. Downloaded from on 01/10/2022.