|Central coordinates||55o 40.00' East 4o 20.00' South|
|IBA criteria||A1, A2, A4i, A4ii, A4iii|
|Altitude||0 - 69m|
|Year of IBA assessment||2001|
Site description Cousin is a beautiful, small island (27 ha) situated less than 2 km west of Praslin. The site also includes c.105 ha coastal marine habitat. Its large plateau extends over most of the island and is covered with indigenous mature woodland dominated by Pisonia grandis, Morinda citrifolia and Ochrosia oppositifolia. It is almost encircled by a long sandy beach (the shape and width of which changes with each monsoon) with tall Casuarina equisetifolia and Cocos nucifera trees. The southern coast of the island is, however, rocky. A hill, rising to 69 m, occupies the centre of the southern half of the island. It is dominated by bare rock and boulders, low woodland and Pandanus balfourii, Ficus reflexa, F. lutea, Euphorbia pyrifolia shrubs, tall herbs and ferns. An area of mangrove and small, temporary freshwater pools are also found. Cousin was formerly a coconut plantation, but most of the trees have now been cut down. Nature conservation, research and ecotourism (day visits, confined to main paths only) are the only human activities (plus some limited fishing by the staff). The reserve funds itself through ecotourism. A marine park, extending 400 m into the sea, hosts pristine coral reefs.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Wedge-tailed Shearwater Ardenna pacifica||breeding||-||9,250-16,900 breeding pairs||-||A4ii||Least Concern|
|White-tailed Tropicbird Phaethon lepturus||breeding||1999||860-1,540 breeding pairs||-||A4ii||Least Concern|
|Lesser Noddy Anous tenuirostris||breeding||1999||71,900-90,000 breeding pairs||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|Common White Tern Gygis alba||breeding||1997||1,860-4,080 breeding pairs||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|Seychelles Warbler Acrocephalus sechellensis||resident||1999||present||-||A1, A2||Vulnerable|
|Seychelles Magpie-robin Copsychus sechellarum||resident||1999||present||-||A1, A2||Endangered|
|Seychelles Fody Foudia sechellarum||resident||1999||present||-||A1, A2||Near Threatened|
|A4iii Species group - waterbirds||breeding||-||100,000-499,999 individuals||unknown||A4iii|
|A4iii Species group - seabirds||breeding||-||20,000-49,999 individuals||unknown||A4iii|
|Protected area||Designation||Area (ha)||Relationship with IBA||Overlap with IBA (ha)|
|Cousin Island||Special Reserve||2||protected area contained by site||2|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
|nature conservation and research||-|
Other biodiversity There are three species of skink, Mabuya wrightii, M. seychellensis and Pamelascincus gardineri and two geckos, Phelsuma astriata, Ailuronyx sechellensis; all endemics. A small population of the rare terrapin Pelusios subniger and 12 individuals of the giant tortoise Dipsochelys dussumieri are also present. It is also an important nesting site for the turtles Eretmochelys imbricata (CR) and, occasionally, Chelonia mydas (EN).
Related state of the world's birds case studies
References Brooke (1985), Burger and Lawrence (1999a, c), Burger et al. (1999), Crook (1960), Diamond (1975a, 1976, 1978), Fosberg (1970a), Komdeur (1997), Komdeur et al. (1997), Le Maître and Brant (1994), Millett et al. (1999), Rocamora (1997b), Owen and Bresson (1986), Stoddart (1984).
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Cousin island. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 30/08/2014
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