Tinhosas islands

Year of compilation: 2001

Site description
The two islands of Tinhosa Pequena (3 ha) and Tinhosa Grande (20 ha) lie 22 km south-west of Príncipe. They are unvegetated rocky islets that reach altitudes of 65 m (Tinhosa Pequena) and 56 m (Tinhosa Grande). Tinhosa Pequena is inaccessible because of its almost sheer slopes, but there is a small platform on Tinhosa Grande which enables landing.

Key biodiversity
See Box for key species. The Tinhosas islands shelter the largest seabird colonies in the Gulf of Guinea. In addition to the species listed below, a fifth, Phaethon lepturus, also breeds regularly at the site in small numbers. The status of two other species, Sterna anaethetus and Oceanodroma castro, is unclear—they are sometimes seen around the islets, but there is no proof of breeding. There are two breeding seasons, coinciding with the two dry seasons, December–January and June–August. Non-breeding visitors include, in small numbers, Phaethon aethereus, Sula dactylatra, Sula sula and the globally threatened Fregata aquila. These birds are presumed to come from colonies on Ascension Island, 2,500 km to the south-west.

Non-bird biodiversity: An unidentified gecko has been found.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The site is not protected, but proposals for its conservation were made as long ago as 1973. Fishermen from Príncipe regularly visit the seas around the Tinhosas, which are rich in fish. They occasionally harvest young Sula leucogaster from Tinhosa Grande for food or for sale in the town of Santo António, Príncipe. The construction of a lighthouse, in 1995, also resulted in birds being killed for food by workmen.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Tinhosas islands. Downloaded from on 07/03/2021.