Latham Island

Site description (2001 baseline):

Site location and context
This tiny island, barely 300 m long, lies 60 km east of Dar es Salaam and 66 km south-east of Zanzibar. It is known locally as Fungu Kizimkazi and is administered from Zanzibar. It is a weathered fossil coral island covered, to varying depths, with bird guano. There are no bushes, but a creeping succulent grows over much of the island. There is a large sand beach on the western side of the island that changes shape through the seasons. The island is oceanic as it lies off the continental shelf and is surrounded by deep water.

Key biodiversity
See Box for key species. The island is one of the most important on the east African coastline for breeding seabirds. A colony of Sula dactylatra occupies virtually the whole of the central plateau. Sterna fuscata occupy the periphery of the plateau with Anous stolidus usually confined to the rocky southern tip, sometimes nesting on a small cliff. Nine Sterna sumatrana observed in November 1987 are the only records of this species from East African waters.

Non-bird biodiversity: Latham is thought to be of importance for nesting turtles.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
There is little information on threats. It is not known whether or to what extent disturbance or the taking of eggs is a problem.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Latham Island. Downloaded from on 04/10/2023.