Gough Island

Country/territory: St Helena (to UK)

IBA criteria met: A1, A2, A4i, A4ii, A4iii (2006)
For more information about IBA criteria, please click here

Area: 6,500 ha

IBA conservation status
Year of assessment (most recent) State (condition) Pressure (threat) Response (action)
2013 not assessed very high low
For more information about IBA monitoring, please click here

Site description (2021 baseline)
The site comprises the whole of Gough Island as well as the offshore islets and stacks, as described in the ‘General introduction’.

Key biodiversity
See Box and Table 2 for key species, but note that some of the information is outdated and taxonomy has changed. The site has been described as ‘a strong contender for the title of most important seabird colony in the world’. As many as 54 bird taxa are recorded, of which 20 are non-breeding seabirds and two are endemic landbirds. The seabirds include Eudyptes moseleyi, Diomedea dabbenena, Thalassarche chlororhynchos, Phoebetria fusca, Macronectes giganteus, Pterodroma brevirostris, P. macroptera, P. mollis, P. incerta, Pachyptila vittata, Pachyptila macgillivrayi, Halobaena caeruleaProcellaria cinerea, Ardenna gravis, Puffinus elegans, Garrodia nereis, Pelagodroma marina, Fregetta grallaria, Pelecanoides urinatrix, Catharacta antarctica, Sterna vittata and the southernmost breeding site of Anous stolidus. The terrestrial species are Gallinula comeri and Rowettia goughensis (1550–2500 individuals, 2020 estimate). Non-breeding visitors include Thalassarche melanophris, Macronectes halli, Fulmarus glacialoides, Daption capense, Pachyptila desolata, Procellaria aequinoctialis, Procellaria conspicillata, Ardenna griseus, Oceanites oceanicus, Fregetta tropica, Bubulcus ibis, Hirundo rustica and Larus dominicanus.

Non-bird biodiversity: Arctocephalus tropicalis (200,000 individuals and increasing) and Mirounga leonina (< 50 individuals) are the only two native breeding mammals. Of 100 free-living species of terrestrial invertebrates recorded, at least eight are endemic, while 14 are native to the Dependency as a whole. Only eight species of freshwater invertebrates are known.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2024) Important Bird Area factsheet: Gough Island. Downloaded from on 22/02/2024.