Lüderitz Bay islands

Country/territory: Namibia

IBA Criteria met: A1, A4i, A4iii (2001)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 80 ha

Protection status:

Site description
The Lüderitz Bay island complex consists of four coastal islands, all situated within one kilometre of the shore. The rocky shoreline, including Lüderitz fishing harbour, is included within the IBA. Halifax Island (3 ha) is located at the south end of Guano Bay near Diaz Point, a promontory at the western entrance of Lüderitz Bay, and one of the first landfalls of Portuguese explorers in the 1400s. The whole area lies within the intense upwelling cell off the Lüderitz coastline, creating a node of high marine productivity resulting in large congregations of seabirds. The other three islands, Penguin (36 ha), Seal (44 ha) and Flamingo, lie to the east of Halifax, within Lüderitz Bay. The islands hold some abandoned guano-scrapers’ buildings. They support no vegetation other than subtidal kelp and other seaweed on their shores.

Key biodiversity
See Box for key species. The island complex regularly supports over 10,000 seabirds. Halifax Island is an important coastal seabird breeding island; it supports over 2,000 breeding seabirds, including important numbers of breeding Spheniscus demersus (c.400 pairs), Sterna bergii and Phalacrocorax coronatus. Penguin and Seal islands are utilized mostly for roosting, but Phalacrocorax coronatus, P. neglectus, P. capensis (2,000 pairs) and P. carbo (20 pairs) all breed on Penguin Island. The latter also holds large numbers of Haematopus moquini (possibly 20% of the world population), which probably breed, and roosting Sterna balaenarum. Seal Island is important for Phalacrocorax coronatus, as it holds some 3% of the world population. It also holds many pairs of Larus dominicanus, which occasionally depredate cormorant eggs when the latter are disturbed.

On the adjacent mainland, the harbour supports dense nesting populations of Larus hartlaubii and Sterna bergii. In 1994, at least 2,470 pairs of S. bergii (40% of the southern African population) nested successfully there and on the rocky promontory called Shark Island. The shoreline is completely rocky and the Lüderitz peninsula, excluding the islands, holds about 14,000 shorebirds. At 30 birds/km it is locally dense, but supports a lower linear density than shores farther north in central Namibia.

Non-bird biodiversity: Among the cetaceans that occur, Cephalorhynchus heavisidii (DD), Lagenorhynchos obscurus (DD) and Tursiops truncatus (DD) are frequently seen, while Megaptera novaeangliae (VU) and Eubalaena australis (LR/cd) are rarer.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2019) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Lüderitz Bay islands. Downloaded from on 17/11/2019.