Starbuck Island

Year of compilation: 2007

Site description
Starbuck Island is a low-lying island with a dry climate. The interior contains several dark-coloured saline lagoons which at times dry out completely. Starbuck rises from its reef fringed coast to a steep beach crest before descending into a slight interior depression.

Key biodiversity
The island is importantly primarily for its large sooty tern population. There is little information on other species present.

Non-bird biodiversity: Green turtles may use the island for egg-laying, although there is no information on counts. An endemic plant, Bidens kiribatiensis has been identified from the island (Garnett 1983).

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Cats are present on the island, but at low densities, so may not be able to impact substantially on the sooty tern colony. Also pacific rats were reported in the 1970s.

Protected areas
The island has been a restricted access nature reserve since 1975.

Habitat and land use
A small scale phosphate mining industry took place at the end of the 19th Century, since when there has been no activity on the island. The island is vegetated with sparse atoll scrub, herbs and low grasses.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2019) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Starbuck Island. Downloaded from on 22/04/2019.