Tofua and Kao

Country/territory: Tonga

IBA Criteria met: A2 (2007)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 5,506 ha

Most recent IBA monitoring assessment
Year of assessment Threat score (pressure) Condition score (state) Action score (response)
2007 high not assessed not assessed
For more information about IBA monitoring please click here

Site description
The Tofua IBA comprises the whole island of Tofua, a 46.6 sq. km active volcanic island which retains the largest area of biodiversity rich moist tropical forest in Tonga. The island has seven of the ten central Polynesian restricted range species, and is particularly important for the Tongan populations of the Fiji shrikebill Clytorhynchus vitiensis and the blue-crowned lorikeet Vini australis. The island is inhabited and the on-going clearing of forest for kava plantations is a significant conservation concern as is the presence of feral pigs. Very little is documented on the avifauna and biodiversity of Tofua, for instance there are no seabird records from the island.

Key biodiversity
Ornithological information The volcanic islands of Tofua (55.4 km2) and Late (17 km2) are recognised as having some of Tonga’s best remaining high diversity native forest and still support large populations of birds and reptiles (Steadman 1998) with Tofua’s forest complement being nearly three times the area of that of Late. However, Tofua’s birds and biodiversity in general is very poorly documented and there are no seabird records from the island. Confirmed records from the island still rely greatly on the Whitney South Seas Expedition which collected on 27-28 July 1925. Dieter Rinke and colleagues visited the island briefly in October 1990 with a single observation documented (Rinke et al 1992). Steadman (2006) records observations made in July 1995 and July 1996 which confirmed one additional species. These are summarised in the table below. Of particular significance is the suite of seven ‘central polynesian’ restricted range species (A2).

Non-bird biodiversity: No records.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Tofua and Kao. Downloaded from on 01/04/2023.