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Location French Southern Territories
Central coordinates 40o 22.00' East  22o 20.00' South
IBA criteria A1, A4i, A4ii, A4iii
Area 3,000 ha
Altitude 0 - 12m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

Site description Europa is an island in the southern Mozambique Channel, 350 km west-south-west of Morombe, Madagascar. It is one of the least modified coralline islands in the western Indian Ocean and was formed from the progressive filling of an ancient atoll which appeared 90,000 years ago. It is composed of a central lagoon largely surrounded by mangrove Rhizophora mucronata; shrubland, bushland and thicket, dominated by Psiadia altissima, Suriana maritima and/or Pemphis acidula; Euphorbia stenoclada dry forest; Sclerodactylon macrostachyum grassland; halophile vegetation (Arthrocnemum indicum) and a fringing beach- and dune-system rising to 12 m, the highest land on the island. In all, 33–46 angiosperm species occur. Eighteen people live on the island in shifts of 45 days; three occupy a meteorological station, and 15 are military servicemen.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Madagascar Pond-heron Ardeola idae breeding  present  A1  Endangered 
Red-tailed Tropicbird Phaethon rubricauda breeding  3,000-4,000 breeding pairs  A4ii  Least Concern 
White-tailed Tropicbird Phaethon lepturus breeding  500-1,000 breeding pairs  A4ii  Least Concern 
Lesser Frigatebird Fregata ariel breeding  1,000-1,200 breeding pairs  A4ii  Least Concern 
Red-footed Booby Sula sula breeding  2,800-3,800 breeding pairs  A4ii  Least Concern 
Sooty Tern Onychoprion fuscatus breeding  500,000-1,000,000 breeding pairs  A4i  Least Concern 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Europa Nature Reserve National Park 3,000 is identical to site 3,000  

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
military -
nature conservation and research -

Other biodiversity The island is a nesting site for the sea-turtle Chelonia mydas (EN), and Eretmochelys imbricata (CR) and Caretta caretta (EN) are also present. There are two endemic lizard subspecies (Mabuya comorensis infralineata and Cryptoblepharus boutonii bitaeniatus). Overall, the coral island ecosystem is one of the finest in the Indian Ocean.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Europa. Downloaded from on 30/10/2014

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