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Location Seychelles
Central coordinates 53o 20.00' East  4o 54.00' South
IBA criteria A4i, A4iii
Area 750 ha
Altitude 0 - 4m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

Nature Seychelles

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.

Key Biodiversity 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).

Non-bird biodiversity: The turtles Chelonia mydas (EN) and Eretmochelys imbricata (CR) nest and may be taken by poachers.

Populations of IBA trigger species

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 Onychoprion fuscatus 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  20,000-49,999 individuals  unknown  A4iii   

Protected areas

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

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research -
not utilised -

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 (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: African Banks. Downloaded from on 21/10/2016

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