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Location Seychelles, Praslin
Central coordinates 55o 40.00' East  4o 13.00' South
IBA criteria A1, A2, A4i, A4ii, A4iii
Area 173 ha
Altitude 0 - 135m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

Nature Seychelles



Site description Aride (68.3 ha) is the most northerly of the granitic islands, lying 9 km north of Praslin and 45 km north-east of Mahé. The site also includes 105 ha of coastal marine habitat. A ridge of Precambrian granite, rising to 135 m, dominates a small plateau of 9 ha. There is a single beach 800 m long on the southern side of the island while the rest of the coastline is composed of cliffs and rocky shore. The island is densely covered with mixed native woodland dominated by Pisonia grandis, Ficus lutea and F. reflexa. Granite outcrops and open glades are abundant on the hill, where there are also smaller areas of Euphorbia pyrifolia scrub. A young, managed woodland, replanted with indigenous species (Callophyllum inophyllum, Terminalia catappa, Morinda citrifolia, etc.), and a small wetland, are present on the plateau. Human activities are limited to nature conservation, research and ecotourism (day visits and confined to main paths only). Most of the former coconut plantation has been progressively eliminated and the only remaining agricultural activity is restricted to a small garden for resident staff. Coral reefs surround the island.

Key Biodiversity See Box and Table 2 for key species. With approximately one million breeding seabirds of 10 species, Aride island holds one of the most important seabird colonies of the Indian Ocean. In addition to the tern species listed below, 71–89 pairs Sterna anaethetus also breed. Aride also hosts the largest known population in Seychelles of Puffinus lherminieri nicolae and is the most northerly breeding site for Phaethon rubricauda (3–5 pairs). Important numbers of Puffinus pacificus also occur from September to March. Seabird numbers are largest during the south-east monsoon, from May to October, the breeding season for many species. However, Phaethon lepturus, Gygis alba, Puffinus lherminieri and Sterna anaethetus may nest all year-round. Mixed, non-breeding flocks of Fregata minor and F. ariel are regularly seen roosting or soaring over the island (up to 4,600 birds between November and February). Landbirds include Acrocephalus sechellensis, originating from 29 birds introduced from Cousin in 1988. With a minimum of 1,600 birds present in 1997, the majority of the world population now occurs on Aride. Several attempts to re-establish a breeding population of Copsychus sechellarum have not so far succeeded (one pair still present in 2001). Nectarinia dussumieri (min. 49 birds) and Alectroenas pulcherrima (min. three pairs) have recolonized the island naturally. Streptopelia picturata picturata (200–400 birds) and Gallinula chloropus (200–400 birds) are also present.

Non-bird biodiversity: There are eight resident reptile species, of which seven are endemic (including Mabuya wrightii and M. seychellensis at extremely high densities). Among the large invertebrate fauna, the whip scorpion Phrynicus scaber is present in good numbers. The turtles Eretmochelys imbricata (CR) and, occasionally, Chelonia mydas (EN) nest on the beach. Of the 100 vascular plants recorded on the island, Rothmannia annae is now restricted to Aride, as may be the Peponium sp. (taxonomy uncertain).

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Puffinus lherminieri breeding  43,000-72,000 breeding pairs  A4ii  Not Recognised 
Wedge-tailed Shearwater Ardenna pacifica breeding  8,700-28,400 breeding pairs  A4ii  Least Concern 
White-tailed Tropicbird Phaethon lepturus breeding  276-972 breeding pairs  A4ii  Least Concern 
Roseate Tern Sterna dougallii breeding  1,100-1,300 breeding pairs  A4i  Least Concern 
Sooty Tern Onychoprion fuscatus breeding  261,000-366,000 breeding pairs  A4i  Least Concern 
Brown Noddy Anous stolidus breeding  4,400-11,600 breeding pairs  A4i  Least Concern 
Lesser Noddy Anous tenuirostris breeding  136,000-197,000 breeding pairs  A4i  Least Concern 
Common White Tern Gygis alba breeding  3,900-5,900 breeding pairs  A4i  Least Concern 
Seychelles Warbler Acrocephalus sechellensis resident  1999  present  A1, A2  Vulnerable 
A4iii Species group - seabirds breeding  100,000-499,999 individuals  unknown  A4iii   
A4iii Species group - waterbirds breeding  1,000,000-2,499,999 individuals  unknown  A4iii   

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Aride Island Special Reserve 70 protected area contained by site 70  

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
hunting -
nature conservation and research -
tourism/recreation -
other -
Notes: Collection of seabird eggs.

References Betts (1997, 1998), Bowler and Hunter (1999), Bullock (1989), Carty and Carty (1996), Carty and Herzig (1995), Castle and Mileto (1991a, b), Cuthbert and Denny (1995), Komdeur et al. (1997), Lidstone-Scott (1993), Lucking and Ayrton (1996), Millett et al. (1999), Ramos (1998), Warman (1979), Warman and Todd (1984).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Aride island. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 22/11/2014

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