Volcano area, Ilha do Fogo

Year of compilation: 2001

Site description
The site comprises the highest parts of the island of Fogo, including the bordeira (outer rim), caldeira (inner floor) and cone of the volcano, Pico Novo. The cone reaches a height of 2,829 m, and the rim c.2,700 m; the lowest elevation of the floor of the caldeira is 1,625 m. The volcano is the only one remaining active in the islands and erupted last in April 1995. There are, within the caldeira, two villages which were evacuated during the last eruption. Traditionally, grapes are grown on the inner slopes of the bordeira and there is some subsistence agriculture on the caldeira floor. The scenery of the whole area, with many old and new lava-flows, is fascinating, and is of great geological, botanical and zoological interest.

Key biodiversity
See Box and Table 2 for key species. Fogo is one of four islands in the archipelago where the endemic Pterodroma feae is known to breed, and the island is thought to have the second-largest population of the species. Of particular importance are the breeding sites on the inner walls of the bordeira, although the species has also been found breeding at lower altitudes on the outer slopes. Surveys in 1998 gave an estimate of c.80 pairs breeding on Fogo, although it was thought likely that there remain further colonies to be discovered. Puffinus (assimilis) boydi breeds on Fogo, probably on the outer slopes of the bordeira. Of all the islands, Apus alexandri is commonest on Fogo and nearby Brava; it has been observed at the highest elevations of Fogo and probably breeds here. Other breeding species include Halcyon leucocephala, Sylvia conspicillata, S. atricapilla and probably Falco (peregrinus) madens.

Non-bird biodiversity: The endemic plants Echium vulcanorum and Erysimum caboverdeanum are only known to occur on the outer rim of the volcano.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The fat of Pterodroma feae is believed by residents to cure rheumatism. In 1988–1990, inhabitants of the caldeira confirmed that the birds were still used for this purpose, though less often than in the past. The number of petrels now taken is thought to be small but, according to local people in 1998, several birds were still being taken each year. The distribution of alternative medicines may eventually eliminate the problem. Predation of nesting birds by feral cats is a further threat. Many recommendations have been made for designating the volcano and surrounding region a protected area under the NPPAP, in which the areas including the outer crater wall, the inner crater and the volcano peak would be designated a reserve or natural monument. The reserve would include almost all endemic plants on the island as well as the main breeding sites of P. feae. Within the reserve, an area including both sides of the south-western portion of the outer crater bordeira, has been proposed for strict protection. The area has good potential for tourism.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Volcano area, Ilha do Fogo. Downloaded from on 17/04/2021.