|Central coordinates||53o 32.00' East 6o 14.00' South|
|IBA criteria||A4i, A4iii|
|Altitude||0 - 4m|
|Year of IBA assessment||2001|
Ornithological information 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.
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.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Sooty Tern Sterna fuscata||breeding||-||360,000-500,000 breeding pairs||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|A4iii Species group - waterbirds||breeding||-||-||unknown||A4iii|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
|Notes: Base for commercial exploitation of eggs of tern Sterna fuscata.|
Other biodiversity The turtles Chelonia mydas (EN) and Eretmochelys imbricata (CR) nest and may be taken by poachers.
Management considerations Representatives from the Ministry of Environment and Transport oversee egg-collection during the season (June–August). An area of the colony has been set aside in the past for protection, though its boundaries have sometimes been switched with the exploited area and it has no legal status. Outside the Sterna fuscata nesting season, poachers may visit and take large numbers of Puffinus pacificus, which breed from September to January. Exploitation has probably led to the extinction of Sula leucogaster and the near-extinction of Sula dactylatra. There is some uncertainty about the future of egg exploitation. Rats are absent, but mice occur.
References Feare (1976a, 1976b, 1978a, 1984a, 1984b), Feare and Gill (1996), Feare et al. (1997), Rémie and Nolin (1999), Ridley and Percy (1958).
Contribute Please click here to help BirdLife conserve the world's birds - your data for this IBA and others are vital for helping protect the environment.
Recommended citation BirdLife International (2013) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Desnoeufs island. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 19/06/2013
To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife