Matsu (Mazu) Islands Tern Refuge

Country/territory: Taiwan, China

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

Area: 72 ha

Site description
Extent of this site: includes Hsuangtsi Reef of Dongyin Village; Sanlian Islet, Middle Island, Tiejian Island, Baimiao, and Jin Islet of Beigan Village; Liuchuan Reef of Nangan Village; and Sheshan of Chuguang Village including the marine area extending 100 m out from the low tidal line. The Matsu Islands are primarily composed of granite, and many of the islands are uninhabited. The geography and climate are not conducive for agriculture here. For example, there are no mountains sheltering the land, so winds are very strong year round. The annual average temperature is 19°C, and the annual precipitation is less than 1,000 mm. Therefore, the natural condition is not advantaged to agricultural development. However, Matsu has very special geographic location, southwest of the Danshan Archipelago of Mainland China. It is also located near the convergence of cold and warm ocean currents, so the fishery resources are abundant. For these reasons, tens of thousands of birds migrate through, winter, and breed here.

Key biodiversity
IBA Al criterion species: Chinese Crested Tern • Eight adult Chinese Crested Terns were observed in June 2000. Four nests were found, and 1 young bird successfully fledged from each nest. IBA A4iii criterion species: a variety of gulls and terns that breed here in summer. • The greatest numbers of Greater Crested Terns in Taiwan occur here, with a maximum of 4,190 birds recorded in July 1997. This is the only known site where the Black-tailed Gulls breed in Taiwan, with a maximum of 1,200 birds recorded in April 1999. • The maximum number of Bridled Terns is 3,300 birds. The average number of Roseate Terns is around 800 and 2,200, and Black-naped Terns is 250. • At this site, 250 species of birds have been recorded. • Other rare or protected birds include Red-throated Diver, White-faced Shearwater, Bulwer’s Petrel, Short-tailed Shearwater, Japanese Cormorant, Black-necked Grebe, Red-breasted Merganser, and Chinese Egret.

Non-bird biodiversity: • More than 500 native plants can be found in this area. Some endemic plants, ex: Lycoris radiata, Lilium sp., Pyrus sp., Chionauthus retusus var Serrulatus.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Matsu (Mazu) Islands Tern Refuge. Downloaded from on 20/01/2022.