Ngeriungs, Palau

Country/territory: Palau

IBA Criteria met: A1 (2008)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 38 ha

Protection status:

Palau Conservation Society
Most recent IBA monitoring assessment
Year of assessment Threat score (pressure) Condition score (state) Action score (response)
2018 high unfavourable low
For more information about IBA monitoring please click here

Site description
Ngeriungs is the second largest of the four islands within Kayangel Atoll. Kayangel Atoll and Ngaruangel Atoll, further to the north, form the state of Kayangel, the northernmost state of Palau. The four islands of Kayangel State (Kayangel, Ngeriungs, Ngerbelas, and Orak) comprise a total land area of 3 km2. Forest cover on the islands is of the strand type which is not found on Babeldaob and is limited to a few fragmented patches on Palau’s southern islands. The islands are currently accessed only by boat, and rarely by helicopter, as the atoll is separated from the main Palau archipelago by 40 kilometers of lagoon and open sea. Seaplanes have been used to access the islands in the past. Of the four islands, only one (Kayangel) is inhabited, with a population in 2005 of 188 people. The other three islets are uninhabited, although they are used for camping, hunting, and other recreational uses. It is possible to walk from islet to islet during extremely low tides. Most of the islands are privately and clan owned, although some portions of the inhabited island of Kayangel are owned by the state.

Key biodiversity
The Micronesian Megapode is listed in both the IUCN Red List and the US Endangered Species List. It is locally common on Kayangel Atoll and the Rock Islands but rarely found on the big island of Babeldaob. The range outside of Palau is restricted to the Mariana Islands. Traditionally, the megapode eggs were a high status food and reserved for chiefs and other clan royalty. Today, although protected by law, the raiding of nests poses a threat to this species. Ngeriungs was selected among the four islands of Kayangel as an IBA mainly because it has the highest recorded number of Micronesian Megapodes and nests. While smaller numbers of megapodes were recorded at two other islands in Kayangel, Ngeriungs clearly stood out as being a uniquely important megapode nesting site.

Non-bird biodiversity: The beaches of all the islands in Kayangel are known to be nesting sites for endangered sea turtles, both the green and hawksbill. The islands are also home to a large population of coconut crab that is harvested for subsistence and small-scale commercial sale. All of the islands of Kayangel Atoll contain atoll forest, characterized mostly of strand species. Such forests make up only 1% of Palau’s forest cover and therefore are unique habitats.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Ngeriungs, Palau. Downloaded from on 18/01/2021.