Flint Island

Year of compilation: 2012

Site description
Key biodiversity
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Climate change is listed as the third greatest threat to seabirds globally (Croxall et al. 2012). It is predicted to decrease the land area of low-lying Pacific islands and cause complete inundation of some islands (IPCC 1997) leading to substantial population declines (Hatfield et al. 2012). Although no current data or predictions are available specific to this IBA climate change represents a potential threat to this site owing to the risk of future sea level rise leading to inundation, and increased frequency of storms. Flint Island was planted with palms for copra and mined for phosphate in the past. Mining ceased during the 1930's and the last recorded visit to harvest copra took place in 1975 (Garnett, 1983). It is unknown if there is currently regular disturbance occurring on Flint Island and if this would affect the seabird populations present. Invasive Alien Species represent the greatest threat to seabirds globally (Croxall et al. 2012), causing adult mortality and reduced productivity owing to egg and chick predation. Polynesian Rat is ubiquitous throughout the Pacific (IUCN SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group 2012) and is know to be present on Flint Island along with feral dogs (Garnett, 1983). Polynesian Rat has been recorded predating adult seabirds as well as eggs and chicks (Kepler 1967). They have precipitated island extinctions in small-bodied, ground-nesting seabirds, but their impacts on larger or arboreal nesting seabirds appear to be lower (Atkinson 1985, Jones et al. 2008). Black Rat, Brown Rat, Feral Cat, Feral Pig and Feral Goat are all plausible but unconfirmed residents. Each can potentially cause declines in seabird colonies, and ungulates can exacerbate the threat from other invasive mammals through habitat modification (Atkinson 1985, Rodríguez et al. 2006, Jones et al. 2008, Duffy 2010). Overall, invasive mammals are suspected to be present and are likely to be having a limiting effect on seabirds, or causing population declines.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Flint Island. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 03/12/2020.