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Location Seychelles, La Digue
Central coordinates 55o 50.00' East  4o 21.00' South
IBA criteria A1, A2
Area 1,010 ha
Altitude 0 - 333m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

Nature Seychelles

Site description Located c.10 km east of Praslin, La Digue is the fourth-largest of the granitic islands. It is surrounded by beautiful sandy beaches, rocky coasts and a fringing coral reef. Traditional activities, including copra-production and fishing, were the basis of the economy until the tourism industry began in the 1970s. The western plateau (161 ha) was originally entirely covered with marshland and an extensive native forest of Calophyllum inophyllum and Terminalia catappa. Today, only 25% of its area retains indigenous woodland. Significant drainage has taken place, but an important wetland of reedbeds, small ponds and mangroves, Lanmar Soupap, remains. The rest of the plateau is now occupied by housing and tourism developments, coconut plantation and farmland. Little development has taken place on the hill, Nid d’Aigles, in the east of the island. Much drier than the plateau, it supports mixed woodland with both exotic and indigenous trees, small streams, large granite boulders and caves. The site includes La Veuve Special Nature Reserve.

Key Biodiversity See Box and Table 2 for key species. La Digue is the only island where Terpsiphone corvina is known to breed, all other populations historically present in other islands of the Praslin group having progressively disappeared (although a few birds have been reported on Marianne since 1997). Fifty-four of the 69 confirmed territorial pairs are concentrated on the western plateau, with the total population estimated to be 150–200 birds. There is a cave at 250 m on the hill with two small colonies of Collocalia elaphra (35–45 pairs). Important populations of Alectroenas pulcherrima (400–600 pairs), Hypsipetes crassirostris (2,000–4000 pairs) and Nectarinia dussumieri (1,500–3,000 pairs) also occur. Several hundreds of pairs of Streptopelia picturata picturata are also present, as well as small numbers of Phaethon lepturus and Gygis alba. The wetland regularly hosts several species of migrant and resident waterbirds, including 10–20 pairs of the rare Ixobrychus sinensis.

Non-bird biodiversity: Amphibians include one species of frog (Tachycnemis seychellensis) and three caecilians, all endemic to Seychelles. The western plateau marshes are a stronghold for the rare terrapins Pelusios castanoides and P. subniger. The Seychelles sheath-tailed bat Coleura seychellensis silhouettae (CR) is present on La Digue and large numbers of the bat Pteropus seychellensis also occur.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Seychelles Blue-pigeon Alectroenas pulcherrimus resident  1999  present  A2  Least Concern 
Seychelles Swiftlet Aerodramus elaphrus resident  1999  present  A1, A2  Vulnerable 
Seychelles Paradise-flycatcher Terpsiphone corvina resident  1999  present  A1, A2  Critically Endangered 
Seychelles Bulbul Hypsipetes crassirostris resident  1999  present  A2  Least Concern 
Seychelles Sunbird Nectarinia dussumieri resident  1999  present  A2  Least Concern 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
La Digue Veuve Special Marine Reserve 8 protected area contained by site 8  

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
fisheries/aquaculture -
forestry -
nature conservation and research -
tourism/recreation -
urban/industrial/transport -
water management -
not utilised -

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 Bullock et al. (1988), Neufelt (1992), Rocamora (1997b), Skerrett and Bullock (1992), Watson (1981b, 1991).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: La Digue island. Downloaded from on 23/10/2016

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