Mercury Island: A Vital Seabird Habitat

Mercury Island: A Vital Seabird Habitat


Mercury Island, located off the Diamond Coast of Namibia, has been designated as an Important Bird Area (IBA) by BirdLife International and other conservation organizations due to its crucial role in coastal seabird breeding.


Syllabus: GS-3, Environment and Ecology

Geographical Facts:

  • Mercury Island is a small, rocky landmass measuring 750 meters in length (north-south) and 270 meters in width. It rises 38 meters above sea level.
  • The island’s surface is thickly coated with bird guano, which is the accumulated excrement of seabirds.

Ecological Significance:

  • Recognized for its significant coastal seabird breeding, the island supports a substantial population of various bird species.
  • It is home to approximately 16,000 penguins, 1,200 gannets, and 5,000 cormorants.
  • A permanent bird research station on the island is staffed by two researchers, emphasizing the island’s importance for ongoing avian studies.