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Location Seychelles
Central coordinates 53o 32.00' East  6o 14.00' South
IBA criteria A4i, A4iii
Area 35 ha
Altitude 0 - 4m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

Nature Seychelles

Site description The site lies at the southern end of the Amirantes chain, c.300 km south-west of Mahé. It is a more-or-less circular island with a high rim surrounding a central depression. Most of the land is exposed sandstone, guano having been removed during the last century. The island is a base for the commercial exploitation of seabirds, especially the eggs of Sterna fuscata. There is no permanent human population, but buildings have been constructed and are used during the nesting season (June–August). Visits are made at other times by residents of nearby Marie-Louise island and by fishermen. The island is almost treeless, being covered in grasses and other low-growing plants. Landing can be extremely difficult, with heavy swells sweeping round the island even during the calmest sea conditions.

Key Biodiversity See Box for key species. The island may once have had the largest colony of Sterna fuscata in Seychelles. There are old estimates that this colony used to number more than one million pairs, possibly indicating a substantial decline. The island also supports large but unknown numbers of Puffinus pacificus and Anous stolidus, which may prove to exceed threshold levels. There used to be large colonies of Sula leucogaster (extinct by 1995) and Sula dactylatra (now only a few pairs) and, at least until the 1970s, a small population of Puffinus lherminieri. Other species include Bubulcus ibis (53–62 pairs) and a few pairs of Gygis alba.

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
Sooty Tern Onychoprion fuscatus breeding  360,000-500,000 breeding pairs  A4i  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds breeding  1,000,000-2,499,999 individuals  unknown  A4iii   

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
other -
Notes: Base for commercial exploitation of eggs of tern Sterna fuscata.

References Feare (1976a, 1976b, 1978a, 1984a, 1984b), Feare and Gill (1996), Feare et al. (1997), Rémie and Nolin (1999), Ridley and Percy (1958).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Desnoeufs island. Downloaded from on 21/10/2016

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