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FJ12 NABUKELEVU

Other names

 Mt Washington



Coordinates

 19°7’S, 177°59’E (west Kadavu)  



Area

 79 km


2

  

Altitude

 0–805 m

Status

 Unprotected. Site of National Significance.



IBA criteria

 A1 (globally threatened birds); A2 (restricted-range birds)

Important Bird Areas in Fiji – Site accounts

Clearing.

(

PHOTO



: G

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UTSON

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L

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N a b u k e l e v u

Vu n i s e a

L o m a j i

D a v i q e l e

S o s o


Nacomoto

K a d a v u

O n o

F J 12

F J 13

0

3



6

km


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is usually shrouded in cloud and receives a high level

of rainfall. Nabukelevu is under traditional ownership

of local people. Daviqele, the chief village of the

Nabukelevu  Tikina, owns the south slope,

Nabukilevuira owns the west side, and Lomati owns

the north-eastern side and the summit, including the

only trail to the top.

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Birds

A1 Globally threatened species

[Polynesian Storm-petrel (VU) – one breeding

record in September 1876; current status

unknown]




Kadavu Shining Parrot (VU) – common in adjacent

agricultural land, probably nesting in the IBA



[Collared Petrel (NT) – many hundreds breeding

in 1925; current status unknown]



Whistling Dove (NT) – fairly common at lower

altitudes





Kadavu Fantail (NT) – common, especially at

lower altitudes

A2 Restricted-range species

15 species (out of 18 on Kadavu and 36 in Fiji),

including all four endemic to Kadavu. See

Appendix 2.

[A4ii Congregatory seabird species



Collared Petrel – may meet the threshold of >10

pairs]


Nabukelevu is the only known nesting site in Fiji for

the Polynesian Storm-petrel and one of a handful of

sites for the Collared Petrel but the current status of

these species is unknown (none were seen during the

BirdLife survey). It supports all the four species and

eight subspecies endemic to Kadavu, including good

numbers of Kadavu Honeyeaters and probably the

largest population of the montane Island Thrush

subspecies T. p. ruficeps. Current breeding colonies

of seabirds on the headland west of Davigele and

other rocky headlands are thought to be Wedge-tailed

Shearwaters not Collared Petrels. Two other globally

threatened species that occur on Kadavu, Friendly

Ground-dove (VU) and Black-faced Shrikebill (VU),

are likely to occur in small numbers in old-growth

forest at lower altitudes.

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Other biodiversity

Nabukelevu is believed to support several species of

plants endemic to the mountain itself as the high

montane plateau is unique within Kadavu. Its

herpetofauna and other biodiversity are poorly known.

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Conservation

There are two main threats to Nabukelevu’s birds:

clearance of lower altitude forest for agriculture, and

predation by invasive alien mammals. With increasing

human population pressure, there is slow ongoing

clearance of forest for agricultural land. People are

being forced to walk further to their gardens and

would welcome help to improve the productivity of

land closer to the villages which should reduce the

pressure for further clearance. Alternative income

activities such as promoting tourist treks to the

summit could help to demonstrate an economic

reason for conserving the forest and its birds and

relieve the agricultural expansion. It is unlikely that

the limited human pressure will impact on the steep

slopes and summit. However, there is evidence of feral

cats on the summit and they are likely to predate any

ground-nesting seabirds, notably Polynesian Storm-

petrel and Collared Petrel. These seabirds urgently

require surveying and may need protection against

cats and other invasive alien mammals. Kadavu

Shining Parrots may be affected by the collection of

nestlings for local use as pets. An investigation into

the numbers collected and destinations for any traded

birds should be undertaken across Kadavu.

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References

B

IRD


L

IFE


 I

NTERNATIONAL

 Fiji Programme IBA project field

report No. 29.

C

ORREIA


 (1924) Whitney South Sea expedition diary N: 180

(in American Museum of Natural History). Unpublished.

C

ORREIA


 (1925) Whitney South Sea expedition diary O: 1 (in

American Museum of Natural History). Unpublished.

F

INSCH


, O. (1877) On a new species of petrel from the Feejee

islands. Proceedings of the London Zoological Society 722.

Jenkins, J. A. F. (1986) The seabirds of Fiji. Australasian

Seabird Group Newsletter 25:1–70.

W

RIGHT



, S. 

AND


 C

ABANIUK


, S. (1996) Towards an Integrated

Environmental  Conservation and Tourism Development

Plan for Kadavu Province. Suva: Native Lands Trust

Board. Unpublished Report.

Important Bird Areas in Fiji – Site accounts

Kadavu Fantail 

Rhipidura personata.

(

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: G

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UTSON

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L

IFE


)

Wedge-tailed Shearwater 

Puffinus pacificus.

(

PHOTO



: J

AMES


 M

ILLETT


)

44

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Summary



East Kadavu has the largest area of old-growth forest

in Kadavu including extensive areas of lowland

rainforest. It supports the largest populations of the

four bird species endemic to Kadavu, and probably

also nesting colonies of Collared Petrels (NT).

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Site description



Extensive forests remain in east Kadavu but many

have been logged, encroached by agriculture or

burned. The East Kadavu IBA is the largest block of

old-growth lowland and lower montane forest on the

island. The terrain is rugged and includes the second

and third highest peaks on Kadavu, Mt Niabutubutu

at 634 m and Mt Biloniyaqona. The higher peaks and

steeper slopes support montane forest, sometimes

with long slender kiki reeds on the highest peaks. This

slowly merges into lowland rainforest across most of

the IBA. Forest at the lowest altitudes is dryer,

becoming semi-deciduous forest in the driest areas

along the north coast, but most of this has been

extensively degraded. The IBA is bounded by

degraded, mostly logged forest with some agricultural

incursions. Old-growth forests extend down to 100

m in some places, but only to 400 m elsewhere.

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Birds



A1 Globally threatened species



Friendly Ground-dove (VU) – uncommon



Kadavu Shining Parrot (VU) – common

[Collared Petrel (NT) – reported to breed but

unconfirmed]

[Black-faced Shrikebill (VU) – likely to occur in

small numbers]



Whistling Dove (NT) – common



Kadavu Fantail (NT) – common

A2 Restricted-range species



16 (out of 18 on Kadavu and 36 in Fiji), including

all four endemic to Kadavu. See Appendix 2.

[A4ii Congregatory seabird species





Collared Petrel – may meet the threshold of 10

pairs]


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Other biodiversity

East Kadavu has not been surveyed for other

biodiversity. The lowland dry forests are likely to

support species not occurring at Nabukelevu, the

other IBA on Kadavu.

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Conservation

The main threat to East Kadavu’s birds is forest

degradation by logging, fire and agricultural

expansion. The IBA is neither protected nor clearly

defined from the large areas of degraded forest in east

Kadavu, enabling easy encroachment from the logged

forests and agriculture around the IBA. This erosion

of the main forest block may accelerate if the area

attracts infrastructural development such as more

tourism facilities and a proposed airstrip. As

elsewhere in Fiji, logging roads allow increased access

into the forest by invasive alien mammals. Cats are

likely to predate Collared Petrel eggs and chicks, and

rats are likely to predate various tree-nesting species.

People report the continuing traditional practice of

harvesting Collared Petrels for food. Research should

be undertaken to confirm the species, and assess

whether harvest rates are sustainable. Kadavu

Shining Parrots may be affected across the island by

the collection of nestlings for local use as pets. Finally,

Kadavu is the second-largest island in Fiji free of

mongoose (after Taveuni); mongoose colonisation is

perhaps the greatest threat to its birds. There are

currently no conservation activities in east Kadavu

but conservation of a large tract of old-growth forest

as a sustainable resource for the land-owning

communities should be included in any island-scale

planning, alongside actions to prevent the arrival of

mongoose.

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References

B

IRD


L

IFE


 I

NTERNATIONAL

 Fiji Programme IBA project field

report No. 43.

C

ORREIA


 (1925) Whitney South Sea expedition diary O: 1 (in

American Museum of Natural History). Unpublished.



FJ13 EAST KADAVU

Other names

 Mt Biloniyaqona; Mt Challenger



Coordinates

 18º59’S, 178º22’E (east Kadavu)  



Area

 78 km

2

  



Altitude

 c.100–634 m



Status

 Unprotected



IBA criteria

 A1 (globally threatened birds); A2 (restricted-range birds)

Important Bird Areas in Fiji – Site accounts

Friendly Ground-dove 

Gallicolumba stairi.

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PHOTO


: G

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UTSON

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Summary



This IBA covers the world range of the Ogea Monarch

(VU) which inhabits forest on three small islands. It

is a remote and poorly known island group, and the

threats and possible conservation work for the IBA

and the Ogea Monarch need research.

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Site description



The IBA covers the entire range of the Ogea Monarch:

the two principal islands of Ogea, Ogea Levu and

Ogea Driki (13 km

and 5 km



2

 respectively, 2 km

apart), and the smaller island of Dakuiyanuya

(immediately adjacent to Ogea Levu). In 1986, the

islands were estimated to have a total population of

c. 2,000 people who subsist on farming and fishing.

These are raised coralline islands which retain

extensive forest as the soil is too poor for commercial

agriculture or coconut plantations. Less than 10% was

estimated to have been cleared for subsistence

agriculture. The remaining land is old-growth forest

which varies in structure depending on the substrate

and is stunted in higher land exposed to the south-

east trade-winds. As the threats to this species are

likely to be threats to the whole island group, the

entirety of the islands are included in the IBA.

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Birds



A1 Globally threatened species



Ogea Monarch (VU) – entire world population

A2 Restricted-range species



11 species (out of 36 in Fiji), including the Blue-



crowned Lory which is not in any other Fiji IBA.

See Appendix 2.

This IBA has six endemic subspecies which are

restricted to the Lau group or other small islands in

the south of Fiji and are not included in any other

IBAs (Appendix 5). The Blue-crowned Lory is also

restricted to the South Lau group within Fiji but is

more widespread around Tonga and Samoa.

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Other biodiversity

No surveys have been undertaken.

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Conservation



The threats to the Ogea Monarch are poorly known

but it may be threatened by chance catastrophic

events (such as cyclones), predation and other impacts

of invasive alien species, and hybridisation with the

closely related Slaty Monarch which also occurs on

Ogea. Research is needed on the potential impacts of

alien species such as feral cats and Black Rats. The

proportion of birds showing plumage features of Slaty

Monarch does not appear to have increased,

suggesting that hybridisation is not a new or

increasing threat. The threat from habitat loss is low

as it is (currently) uneconomic to clear the forest, and

it/F8 p2 ktro 445.1@55 h4 4542 Twof iı˝-0.00peci63 inv12luats.9 Tcı˝0.495 (eor on thor 1.7431 entsÞ)Tjı˝/F12 1 T482 l1.7at0.03 0 oirel 51 24.78 lı˝359


46

successional forest. Ornithologists have visited the

island on three occasions (in 1924, 1986 and 2004)

and the population was estimated at approximately

2,000 birds in 1986. Some basic monitoring of this

species is required, but all work is confounded by the

difficulty of finding transport to this isolated island.

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References



H

OBCROFT


, D. in litt. 2005

M

AYR



, E. (1933) Birds collected during the Whitney South Sea

Expedition. XXV. Notes on the genera Myiagra and



MayrornisAmerican Museum Novit. 651.

W

ATLING



, D. (1988) Notes on the status and ecology of the

Ogea Flycatcher Mayrornis versicolorBulletin of the British



Ornithologists Club 108: 103–112.

POSSIBLE ADDITIONAL IBAS

The following three sites may qualify as IBAs if

further surveys confirm populations of key threatened

birds.


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Serua

The extensive lowland and upland forests west of the

Viti Levu Southern Highlands IBA are heavily logged

and have many further logging concessions. No bird

surveys have been undertaken. A possible site for

Red-throated Lorikeet (CR) and Long-legged

Warbler (EN) and likely to support most of Viti

Levu’s Vulnerable and range-restricted (endemic)

species. However, the extensive and ongoing forest

degradation reduces the importance and long-term

viability of the site.

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Ovalau

The forests above about 200 m on Ovalau island are

largely old-growth but with evidence of historical

inhabitation and degradation. A Friendly Ground-

dove (VU) was recorded on recent surveys (BirdLife

International Fiji Programme IBA project field

reports Nos 17 and 28), and Black-faced Shrikebill

(VU) has been reported historically. The hills are a

historical nesting site for Collared Petrel (NT)

(Watling 1986) but no evidence of this species was

found during a recent survey. There are unconfirmed

recent reports of Red-throated Lorikeet (CR) and

Long-legged Warbler (EN). Ten specimens of Red-

throated Lorikeet were taken on the island between

1875 and 1887 (Swinnerton and Maljkovic 2002).

[Swinnerton, K. and Maljkovic, A. (2002) The Red-

throated Lorikeet Charmosyna amabilis in the Fiji

Islands. Suva: National Trust for Fiji and World

Parrot Trust. Unpublished report. Watling, D. (1986)

Notes on the Collared Petrel Pterodroma (leucoptera)

brevipes. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists Club

106: 63–70.]

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Vanuabalavu

The upland forest on this small island is a historical

nesting site for Collared Petrel (NT) (Watling 1986)

but there have been no recent surveys. [Watling, D.

(1986) Notes on the Collared Petrel Pterodroma



(leucoptera) brevipes. Bulletin of the British

Ornithologists Club 106: 63–70.]

GAPS AND REPRESENTATION

The IBA network effectively covers its target species:

all the known populations of the two CR and one

EN species and >40% of the populations of the eight

VU, six NT and 36 endemic/range-restricted species

are protected in these IBAs. (This is based on the total

area of IBAs approximating to 39% of the total forest

area using FAO (2005) figures or 41% of the area of

‘dense’ and ‘medium-dense’ natural forest on the main

islands listed in Table 1.)

Two exceptions are the range-restricted Crimson-

crowned Fruit-Dove, which occurs in only two IBAs

(Rotuma and Ogea) and Blue-crowned Lory, on only

one IBA (Ogea). No additional IBAs are proposed

for these species as they are common in other

countries but only just extend into Fiji, where they

occur on small islands with little other bird

conservation interest. Moreover, both species are

tolerant of degraded forest, probably move between

islands, and are best conserved by activities at the

national or archipelago level, not at the site or IBA

level.


More survey work is needed for the three CR and

EN species (Fiji Petrel, Red-throated Lorikeet and

Long-legged Warbler), and any new populations

should be protected as new IBAs or extensions to

existing IBAs. Additional sites known to support VU

and NT species are generally extensively logged,

otherwise degraded, or too small to support viable

populations. It is unknown whether these birds are

breeding ‘sustainably’ in logged forest with its

networks of logging roads, increased numbers of

invasive alien species and patches of cultivation as

well as the damaged habitat.

Only one site qualifies as an IBA based on the

number of congregatory birds. Fiji does have large

numbers of nesting seabirds but most colonies are not

globally significant in comparison with the vast

numbers of the same species in Polynesia, the Coral

Sea and the Indian Ocean. Vatu-i-Ra is the only

known site exceeding the threshold of 1% of the

population of a waterbird or seabird – here the Black

Noddy. The next closest candidate sites for seabirds

are Namenalala, where 1,000 pairs, and Yabu, where

>300 pairs of Red-footed Boobies have been counted

(Clunie 1985; Tarburton 1978), significantly short of

the qualifying threshold of 1,500 pairs. Similarly,

most of Fiji’s waterbirds do not occur in globally

significant numbers. The closest candidate site, the

Suva Point mudflats, regularly supports 150

Wandering Tattlers (Watling, D. in litt. 2005), for

which the qualifying threshold is 250 birds. [Clunie,

F. (1985) Seabird nesting colonies of the Ringgold

Islands. Domodomo 3: 90–109. Tarburton, M. K.

Important Bird Areas in Fiji – Site accounts


47

(1978) Some recent observations on seabirds breeding

in Fiji. Notornis 25: 303–316.]

Fiji’s non-forest birds are poorly conserved by the

IBA network because none are of global conservation

importance. Seabird, shorebird, wetland and

grassland birds are poorly represented, and some may

not occur in any IBAs, e.g. the White-faced Heron

and Mangrove Heron. Most of these species are

widespread and some are introduced, including the

Java Sparrow, which is categorised as Vulnerable in

its native country of Indonesia, but no IBAs have

been identified for its introduced population on Fiji.

Seabirds are well represented and waders (shorebirds)

are partially represented in the Sites of National

Significance (see below).

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Other Sites of National Significance

Sites which do not qualify as global IBAs may still

be of regional or national importance for bird

conservation. The IBA process could be extended for

use at a regional or national level but it is clearer to

use the ‘IBA’ label only for sites of global importance.

Sites of Fijian importance are best proposed as ‘Sites

of National Significance’ (SNS) as this is a term

already used by the Fiji government. The Fiji BSAP

has a preliminary register of SNS, many of which were

nominated because of their birds, or have significant

bird populations. All IBAs are already designated as

SNS, except for the Wailevu/Dreketi Highlands IBA,

Viti Levu Southern Highlands IBA and East Kadavu

IBAs which contain extensive areas outside SNS. No

new SNS were identified during the project but it is

noted that several endemic bird subspecies are not

covered by either IBAs or SNS (Appendix 5). The

following SNS were listed for their bird conservation

importance but do not qualify as global IBAs.



Seabird colonies: Vatu-i-Lami, Mubulau,

Namenalala, Cikobia, Nukubasaga, Nukusimanu,

Vetaua, Yabu, Sovu, Wailagilala Atoll, Naiabo,

Vanuamasi, Reid Reef, Lateviti, Kibobo Island,

Nuku Cikobia, Vekai Island, Nukusoge, Yagasa

Levu Island, White Rock, Kadomo Island,

Monoriki Island, Vatu-i-Ra, Nanuyaira Island

and Vunivadra Island





Migratory waders: Suva Point and Saweni flats



White-browed Crake: Naulu Lokia Swamp.

Important Bird Areas in Fiji – Site accounts

Wandering Tattler.

(

PHOTO



: K. V

ANG


 

AND


 W. D

ABROWKA


/B

IRD


 E

XPLORERS


)

White-tailed Trpicbird 

Phaethon lepturus. (

PHOTO


: J

AMES


 M

ILLETT


)

48

Fiji’s other threatened biodiversity

The 2004 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (www.redlist.org) lists 170 globally threatened species in Fiji:

• 17 bird species, as listed in Table 5.

• 3 turtles, 2 iguanas, 1 snake, 1 frog, 4 bats and the Coconut Crab – some are known well enough to designate

Key Biodiversity Areas for most species

• 50 marine species – these are mostly widespread hunted species (e.g. whales, sharks and tuna) but the status of

most coral reef species, including species endemic to Fiji, is poorly known

• 90 plants – this number is likely to be greatly under-estimated as plants are so poorly known; about 63% of

Fiji’s 1,600 native plant species are endemic to Fiji, and many are likely to be threatened.

Ideally, conservation plans would be based on these species as well as birds. Key Biodiversity Areas or Sites of

National Significance could be identified for some the few species with adequate data (e.g. iguanas, Fiji Ground

Frog, some bat colonies, some plants). The IBA network is likely to include populations of most of the other

terrestrial species but much more basic survey work is needed.

Important Bird Areas in Fiji – Site accounts

The Critically Endangered Crested Iguana 

Brachylophus vitiensis. (

PHOTO

: T


IM

 L

AMAN



)
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