|Central coordinates||55o 22.00' East 4o 39.00' South|
|IBA criteria||A1, A2|
|Altitude||0 - 135m|
|Year of IBA assessment||2001|
Ornithological information See Box and Table 2 for key species. Conception is the main stronghold for Zosterops modestus. This population was only discovered in January 1997. It was estimated in 1999 to be 242–327 birds or 60–80 breeding families (including helpers), about 85 % of the current total population estimate. There are also several pairs of Falco araea on the island, as well as a minimum of 100 pairs of Alectroenas pulcherrima. Streptopelia picturata picturata and three exotic species are also present in small numbers.
Site description Conception is a small island located less than 2 km west of the north-western coast of Mahé. Surrounded by a rocky coastline with cliffs, its steep slopes are entirely covered by dense woodland and thickets, growing over large boulders and crevasses. Until the mid-1970s it was exploited as a coconut plantation, but has since remained abandoned and uninhabited. There is no beach on which to land, no permanent surface fresh water and no paths, making it very inhospitable. Vegetation is dominated by the introduced species Cinnamomum verum, Anacardium occidentale, Cocos nucifera and Tabebuia pallida, but the endemics Phoenicophorium borsigianum and Allophylus sechellensis and the indigenous Canthium bibracteatum and Premna obtusifolia are well-represented in the undergrowth.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Seychelles Kestrel Falco araea||resident||1999||present [units unknown]||-||A1, A2||Vulnerable|
|Seychelles Blue-pigeon Alectroenas pulcherrima||resident||1999||present [units unknown]||-||A2||Least Concern|
|Seychelles White-eye Zosterops modestus||resident||2005||244-366 individuals||unknown||A1, A2||Endangered|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
Other biodiversity Not well known. Mabuya sechellensis and Phelsuma astriata are abundant. Phelsuma longinsulae and Ailuronyx sechellensis have also been recorded. Marine life around the island appears very rich and includes the hawksbill turtle Eretmochelys imbricata (CR).
Management considerations Conception is in the process of being declared a Special Reserve by government. Fire appears to be the main threat, as it could easily destroy all the vegetation and the Zosterops modestus population. The biology and ecology of this species on Conception are currently being investigated and compared with results from Mahé. A management plan for the island is required. Rattus norvegicus is abundant on the island which is, however, not arboreal, unlike Rattus rattus, which is present on all other satellite islands of Mahé and a significant nest-predator. This may be the main reason why Zosterops modestus is abundant on Conception, rare on Mahé and absent from the other islands. Indian Mynah Acridotheres tristis, a potential nest-predator, is also present, but not in large numbers.
References Cheke (1984), Rocamora (1997a, b), Rocamora and François (2000).
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2013) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Conception island. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 22/05/2013
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