Fana Island

Country/territory: Palau

IBA criteria met: A4i, A4ii, A4iii (2012)
For more information about IBA criteria, please click here

Area: 40 ha

Palau Conservation Society
IBA conservation status
Year of assessment (most recent) State (condition) Pressure (threat) Response (action)
2018 unfavourable high negligible
For more information about IBA monitoring, please click here

Site description (2008 baseline)
Fana is one of the four uplifted reef flat islands that comprise the state of Sonsorol in the Southwest Islands. It is a densely vegetated island of 0.35 km2. Fana rises only a few feet above sea level and is susceptible to storms and other natural disasters. Currently the island is uninhabited. There is a small population, generally less than 30 people, who live on nearby Sonsorol island. The population of Sonsorol generally increases slightly during the summer months when people return to their home islands from Koror where they live throughout the remainder of the year.

Key biodiversity
Fana qualifies as an IBA because of A4, type iii congregations of nesting Black Noddy (ranging from 8,000-20,000 birds) and common White Terns (3,000-10,000 birds). In addition, the total populations of nesting seabirds and waterbirds on Fana have been estimated at between 23,000 and 31,000. These estimates include Black Noddy, Brown Noddy, Greater Frigatebird, Red-footed Booby, Brown Booby, and common White Tern. The colonies of Red-footed Booby (5,000-8,000 birds) may be the largest in Micronesia, and among the largest in the world (Kepler 1992).

Non-bird biodiversity: Because of its small size and relative isolation, Fana is a unique ecosystem. The Pisonia forest of Fana has been described as one of the “finest representatives of this dwindling habitat in the Pacific” (Kepler 1992). Water resources are extremely limited. The site is not only important for birds but also for its significant coconut crab population and beaches for nesting green turtles. Very few biological assessments have been conducted at Fana, so little has been documented about other terrestrial biodiversity of the island.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Fana Island. Downloaded from on 26/09/2023.