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Location Réunion (to France), Saint-Denis
Central coordinates 55o 27.00' East  20o 58.00' South
IBA criteria A1, A2, A4ii
Area 3,688 ha
Altitude 410 - 2,277m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

Site description Situated in mountains to the north of La Réunion, the site is a plain sloping from the northern rim of the Cirque de Mafate northwards towards the town of Saint-Denis. A deep gorge formed by the Rivière Saint-Denis cuts into this plain, separating the Plaine des Chicots in the east from the Plaine d’Affouches in the west. The lower half (1,000–1,550 m) is covered by mixed montane forest, which is gradually replaced at higher altitude by forest dominated by the endemic Acacia heterophylla (‘tamarin des hauts’). Above 1,600 m, montane shrubland or bushland and thicket dominates, becoming very sparse near the summit of La Roche Ecrite (2,277 m). The trail across the Plaine des Chicots to La Roche Ecrite is much used for recreation. For many years the site has been stocked with exotic deer Cervus timorensis for hunting, and lower parts abutting the site (to the south) used for plantations of the exotic conifer Cryptomeria japonica.

Key Biodiversity See Box and Table 2 for key species. The site is the only breeding area for Coracina newtoni (entire known population, 120–150 pairs) and supports populations of all the other native, forest-living birds of La Réunion, together with important colonies of Puffinus lherminieri. Up to five pairs of Circus maillardi were present in 1998.

Non-bird biodiversity: Endemic plant communities: rich forest with many endemic plants. Lepidoptera: several endemic moth species. Reptiles: Phelsuma borbonica (endemic).

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Puffinus lherminieri breeding  300 breeding pairs  A4ii  Not Recognised 
Mascarene Swiftlet Aerodramus francicus resident  1998  present  A1, A2  Near Threatened 
Reunion Cuckooshrike Coracina newtoni resident  1998  present  A1, A2  Critically Endangered 
Mascarene Paradise-flycatcher Terpsiphone bourbonnensis resident  1998  present  A2  Least Concern 
Olivaceous Bulbul Hypsipetes borbonicus resident  1998  present  A2  Least Concern 
Mascarene Grey White-eye Zosterops borbonicus resident  1998  present  A2  Least Concern 
Reunion Olive White-eye Zosterops olivaceus resident  1998  present  A2  Least Concern 
Reunion Stonechat Saxicola tectes resident  1998  present  A2  Least Concern 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Pitons, cirques and remparts of Reunion Island World Heritage Site 105,838 protected area contains site 3,688  
Plaine des Chicots - Plaine d'Affouches Nature Reserve 3,688 is identical to site 3,688  

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
hunting -
nature conservation and research -
tourism/recreation -

Further web sources of information 

Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE) species/site profile. This site has been identified as an AZE due to it containing a Critically Endangered or Endangered species with a limited range.

References Anon. (1997), Anon. (1998), Attié (1994), Barré et al. (1996), Barré (1988), Cadet (1980), Cheke (1987b), Guillermet and Guillermet (1986), Probst (1993), Thiollay and Probst (1999).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Plaine des Chicots - Plaine d'Affouches. Downloaded from on 23/10/2016

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife