Suwarrow Atoll National Park

IBA Justification

Year of most recent IBA criteria assessment: 2012

Populations of IBA trigger species
Species Current IUCN Red List Category Season Year(s) of estimate Population at site IBA criteria triggered
Red-tailed Tropicbird Phaethon rubricauda LC breeding 2008 285 chicks A4ii
Lesser Frigatebird Fregata ariel LC breeding 2008 5,472 chicks A4ii
Sooty Tern Onychoprion fuscatus LC breeding 2008 41,243 chicks A4i
A4iii Species group - waterbirds n/a breeding 2008 42,000 chicks A4iii

Note: The current IUCN Red List category may differ from the category that was valid at the time of IBA criteria assessment.

For more information about the IBA criteria, please click here

IBA Conservation

IBA conservation status - summary
Year of assessment (most recent) Threat (pressure) Condition (state) Action (response)
2018 high very unfavourable medium
Was the whole site assessed? yes Condition (state) assessed by population
Accuracy of information good

Threats to the site (pressure)
Threat level 1 Threat level 2 Timing Scope Severity Result
Biological resource use fishing & harvesting aquatic resources - intentional use: subsistence/sml scale happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) slow but significant deterioration high
Climate change and severe weather habitat shifting and alteration likely in short term (within 4 years) some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Human intrusions and disturbance work and other activities happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Invasive and other problematic species and genes invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - unspecified species past (and unlikely to return) and no longer limiting whole area/population (>90%) slow but significant deterioration low

Condition of the site (state), by habitat
Habitat Habitat detail Reference area (ha) Actual area (ha) Habitat quantity (% remaining) Habitat quality (carrying capacity) Result
Forest Beach and atoll forest 0 0 good (> 90%) good (> 90%) favourable

Condition of the site (state), by species
Scientific name Common name Reference population Actual population Units % of population remaining Result
Phaethon rubricauda Red-tailed Tropicbird 285 371 nests 100 favourable
Fregata ariel Lesser Frigatebird 5509 1758 nests 32 very unfavourable
Onychoprion fuscatus Sooty Tern 41243 28665 nests 70 near favourable

Conservation actions taken at the site (response)
Protected-area designation Management planning Other conservation action Result
Whole area of site (>90%) covered by appropriate conservation designation A management plan exists but it is out of date or not comprehensive Substantive conservation measures are being implemented but these are not comprehensive and are limited by resources and capacity medium
For more information about IBA conservation status, please click here

IBA Protection

Protected area (PA) PA designation PA area (ha) Relationship of PA with IBA Overlap of PA with IBA (ha)
Suwarrow National Park 160 protected area contained by site 160
Cook Islands Marine Park Marine Park 197,600,000 protected area is adjacent to site 0


IUCN Habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest Beach and atoll forest, Dry deciduous forest (tropical) -
For further information about the IUCN habitat classification, please click here.

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research -
For further information about the land-use classification, please click here.

Land ownership
Suwarrow was declared a National Park some thirty years ago by the Cook Islands Government and is under the jurisdiction of the National Environment Service.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Suwarrow Atoll National Park. Downloaded from on 10/06/2023.