|Central coordinates||53o 20.00' East 4o 54.00' South|
|IBA criteria||A4i, A4iii|
|Altitude||0 - 4m|
|Year of IBA assessment||2001|
Ornithological information See Box for key species. The colony of Sterna fuscata was once much larger; in 1955 it was estimated at 40,300 pairs and in 1974 at 20,300 pairs. The site holds one of only three colonies of Sterna dougallii in Seychelles, with 82 pairs. Other species include Sterna bergii (six pairs in 1974, possibly no longer breeds).
Site description The site is the northernmost island of the Amirantes group and lies c.220 km west of Mahé; it includes 720 ha of coastal marine habitat. It formerly comprised two islands but, by 1976, South Island had eroded, leaving a small sandstone ridge exposed only at low tide. The remaining land area, North Island, is a small, flat sandstone island (30 ha), with no human settlement. There is a derelict automatic lighthouse. It is frequently visited by poachers and there is considerable exploitation and disturbance of nesting birds. Tourists occasionally visit by charter yachts. The island is almost treeless (one coconut tree in 1995), being otherwise covered in grass and low-growing vegetation.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Black-naped Tern Sterna sumatrana||breeding||-||10 breeding pairs||medium||A4i||Least Concern|
|Sooty Tern Sterna fuscata||breeding||-||5,000-10,000 breeding pairs||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|Brown Noddy Anous stolidus||breeding||-||2,000-5,900 breeding pairs||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|A4iii Species group - waterbirds||breeding||-||-||unknown||A4iii|
|Protected area||Designation||Area (ha)||Relationship with IBA||Overlap with IBA (ha)|
|African Banks||Protected Area||3||protected area contained by site||3|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
|nature conservation and research||-|
Other biodiversity The turtles Chelonia mydas (EN) and Eretmochelys imbricata (CR) nest and may be taken by poachers.
Management considerations The island is protected under the Wild Birds Protection (Nature Reserve) Regulations 1966. However, enforcement of the law is extremely difficult as the island has no human presence to report the activities of poachers. The site could potentially support more than 20,000 pairs of Sterna fuscata were it not for poaching. Eggs of Anous stolidus are probably also taken. Sterna bergii, S. dougallii and S. sumatrana may also suffer from poaching, or at least from disturbance.
References Feare (1979b), Fosberg and Renvoize (1970), Ridley and Percy (1958), Skerrett (1995), Stoddart and Poore (1970).
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2013) Important Bird Areas factsheet: African Banks. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 20/06/2013
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