Birds and conservation significance of the Namib Desert's least known coastal wetlands: Baia and Ilha dos Tigres, Angola

  • RE Simmons Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch 7701, South Africa
  • A Sakko 113 Noorsekloof Road, Jeffreys Bay 6330, South Africa
  • J Paterson Ministry of Environment and Tourism, PB 5001, Swakopmund, Namibia
  • A Nzuzi Ministry of Urbanism and Environment, National Directorate of Natural Resource, Avenida 4 de Fevereiro, Edificio Atlantico, CP 83, Luanda, Angola


The Ilha dos Tigres of Angola is the only sandy island off the coast of the 2 000km-long Namib Desert and it remains the least known coastal wetland on a desert coast rich in shorebirds. Two surveys of the Baia dos Tigres region in 1999 and 2001 indicated a rich wetland bird diversity consisting of 25 species, with a total of 11 000 birds, at a density of 33 birds km–1 of beach. We established breeding by three species of seabirds — two cormorants and the great white pelican Pelecanus onocrotalus — and confirmed northward range extensions for two of these species. The region supports seven regionally threatened Red Data birds. Several threatened marine turtles occur at the nearby Cunene River mouth, and given the possibility that turtles and other Red Data birds may breed at Ilha dos Tigres, it is recommended that it should become an integral part of the Iona National Park on the adjacent mainland.

Keywords: coastal wetland, Iona National Park, marine turtles, Namib Desert, seabirds, shorebirds

African Journal of Marine Science 2006, 28(3&4): 713–717

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1814-2338
print ISSN: 1814-232X