Country/territory: Fiji

IBA criteria met: -
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Area: 42 ha

NatureFiji - MareqetiViti
IBA conservation status
Year of assessment (most recent) State (condition) Pressure (threat) Response (action)
2012 favourable low low
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Site description (2012 baseline)
The Ringgold Isles are an archipelago in Fiji, forming an outlier group to Vanua Levu. The Budd, Nukusemanu, and Heemskercq reefs form part of the group. The small sand cay islands such as Vetauua, Nukubasaga, Nukupureti, and Nukusemanu are uninhabited, while the larger Naqelelevu has a small village with extant residents. The Qelelevu group (Tauraria and Tainibeka) are mainly low, jagged limestone islets. In 1984, Fergus Clunie extensively surveyed the Ringgold group and documented the significant population of breeding seabird colonies. Vetauua or Korotuna islet is situated approximately 50 km north-east of Udu Point in Vanua Levu and 38 km north-west of Naqelelevu. It is covered in thick bushes studded with coconut palm and sits in the middle of its own reef system. The leeward shore is characterized by white sandy beach typical of such cays whereas the windward side is made up of coral rubble. Vetauua harbours an amazing diversity of littoral flora, fauna and associated marine organisms. Along with its seabirds this is one of the few islets known to be a safe haven for the rare coconut crabs (Birgus latro) in Fiji.

Key biodiversity
The first record of seabirds breeding on Vetauua is from the Whitney South Sea Expedition, 1924. Rollo Beck in his journal records the breeding of Black Noddies. He reported Black Noddies getting ready to nest on the west side of the islet. Clunie (Jenkins 1986) surveyed Vetauua and found large numbers of Brown Booby, Red-footed Booby, Common Noddy and Black Noddy nesting. Several White Terns were observed flying over trees during the day while others flew over the lagoon, alone or in flocks of up to six. A few dozen Lesser Frigatebirds were recorded nesting in 1924, but no nesting was noted in 1984. Subsequent surveys took place in 2007, 2008 and 2010 (Jit et al. 2007, Seniloli et al. 2009, BirdLife International 2010).

Non-bird biodiversity: Along with its seabirds this is one of the few islets known to be a safe haven for the rare coconut crabs (Birgus latro) in Fiji. The area supports globally and regionally significant populations of marine turtles, humpback whales, seabirds and semi-nomadic reef fish, and may hold concentrations of cold-water corals. The site is the main foraging areas for Fiji‘s most significant nesting sites for hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricate Critically Endangered) and green turtles (Chelonia mydas, Endangered). Taveuni, the third-largest island in Fiji is located next to a major shipping passage and some of the most significant soft coral walls in the country.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Vetauua. Downloaded from on 27/09/2023.