The islands of New Caledonia are a special collectivity of France situated in the Western Pacific 1,210 kilometers off the East coast of Australia (Institut de la statistique et des tudes conomiques de Nouvelle-Caldonie, 2011). After being under French rule since 1853 the Noumea Accord was signed in 1998 that will gradually deliver responsibility to a local government over a 20 year period. New Caledonia supports a number of globally significant seabird populations. Fairy Terns (VU) are known to breed in the Southern and Northern Lagoon IBAs numbering not more than 300 individuals (Baling et al, 2009); and populations of Gould's Petrel (VU) and Tahiti Petrel (NY) breed in the Massif du Grand Sud and on low lying islands respectively (Benoit and Bretagnolle, 2002; Villard et al, 2006). Recent tracking data of Gould's Petrel has revealed important foraging areas during the breeding season and located an area in the Eastern Pacific Ocean near Ecuador where these birds spend the non-breeding season. New proposed IBAs continue to be identified by the Socit Caldonienne d'Ornithologie (SCO), the BirdLife Partner in New Caledonia, with a globally important migratory flyway for Short-tailed Shearwaters being located in the bottleneck between Grand Terre and Loyalty Islands (Baudat-Franceschi, 2012). Surveys recorded 800,000 individual Short-tailed Shearwaters through this area over 11 days in September-October 2008. SCO have also conducted successful invasive species eradication operations, such as the removal of rats from the islands of Table, Double and Tiam'boune (BirdLife International, 2011). Future eradication programs are planned through the BirdLife Pacific Invasive Species Programme.
Threats to New Caledonia's seabirds are:
o Invasive Species rats, cats and pigs threaten eggs, chicks and adults birds, whilst weed plant species are encroaching onto breeding sites.
o Development housing is encroaching and threatening breeding grounds and lighting has been identified as a cause of fatality to adult petrels who are attracted by it and collide with surrounding buildings.
o Climate Change extreme weather events threaten entire breeding seasons of the Fairy Tern (VU).
o Invasive species eradications
o Prevention of the spread of invasive species
o Advocate for sensitive and appropriate development
Government's support/relevant policy
The French Government is a party to the Convention on Biological Diversity and a Contracting Party to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. The French Government is also an accepted party to the UNESCO Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage. The lagoons in the North of New Caledonia are an identified World Heritage Site based on the reef diversity and associated ecosystems, which includes the breeding seabirds. Please see policy tab for list of agreements that this country is party to.
Petrels and shearwaters
Gulls and terns
Ducks, geese and swans
o Baling, M., Jeffries, D., Barre, N. and Brunton, D. (2009) A survey of Fairy Tern (Sterna nereis) breeding colonies in the Southern Lagoon, New Caledonia. Emu, 109(1): 57-61.
o Baudat-Franceschi, J. (2012) Preliminary update on seabirds' IBAs in New Caledonia. Socit Caldonienne d'Ornithologie. 28/09/2012
o Benoit, M. P. and Bretagnolle, V. (2002) Seabirds of the Southern Lagoon of New Caledonia: distribution, abundance and threats. Waterbirds 25: 202-213
o BirdLife International (2011) Rat eradication success in New Caledonia. Available at www.birdlife.org/community/2011/09/rat-eradication-success-in-new-caledonia/
o Institut de la statistique et des tudes conomiques de Nouvelle-Caldonie (2011) Situation demographique 2010. Available at www.isee.nc/etatcivil/telechargement/bilandemo2010.pdf
o Villard, P., Dano, S. and Bretagnolle, V. (2006) Morphometrics and the breeding biology of the Tahiti Petrel, Pseudobulweria rostrata. Ibis, 148: 285-291.
BirdLife International (2013) Country profile: New Caledonia (to France). Available from: http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/country/new-caledonia. Checked: 2013-12-18