|Central coordinates||51o 7.00' East 10o 11.00' South|
|IBA criteria||A4i, A4iii|
|Altitude||0 - 2m|
|Year of IBA assessment||2001|
Ornithological information See Box for key species. There is a large colony of Sterna fuscata on Goelettes during the south-east monsoon (May–October). Sterna sumatrana also breeds on Goelettes and, possibly, on other islets. Other breeding species include Sula sula (50–70 pairs), Butorides striatus, Bubulcus ibis (100–150 pairs), Ardea cinerea, Anous stolidus and Gygis alba. Sula leucogaster bred on Ile Lapin (4 pairs in 1976) but there are no recent data. There are roosts of non-breeding Fregata minor and F. ariel. No indigenous landbirds now survive, though an unidentified species of blue pigeon, now extinct, occurred at the time of man’s first arrival. Two introduced landbirds occur, Geopelia striata and Foudia madagascariensis. The lagoon supports migratory waders which may sometimes include large numbers of Dromas ardeola and Arenaria interpres but data are lacking.
Site description The site comprises the smaller, uninhabited islands of Farquhar atoll, which lies 770 km south-south-west of Mahé and c.200 km north-north-east of Madagascar. Farquhar is a low-lying flat, roughly circular atoll of 10 islands (totalling c.25 ha of land) surrounding a shallow lagoon (17,800 ha) which dries extensively at low tide. Excluded from the IBA are the two largest islands, Ile du Nord and Ile du Sud, together with three smaller intervening islands known as the Manahas. There is a permanent human settlement and an airstrip on Ile du Nord. There are plans to build an hotel here, to be served by regular flights from Mahé. The islands are dominated by coconut trees and some Casuarina equisetifolia. Historically, much of the atoll was under plantation but today only a small amount of copra is produced. Some exploitation of seabird eggs takes place. The island with the greatest ornithological interest is Goelettes, the most southerly point of land in Seychelles. In contrast to the other islands, Goelettes is almost treeless; it is covered in grasses, other short vegetation and a few Scaevola taccada bushes.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Black-naped Tern Sterna sumatrana||breeding||-||10-30 breeding pairs||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|Sooty Tern Sterna fuscata||breeding||-||200,000-400,000 breeding pairs||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|A4iii Species group - waterbirds||breeding||-||-||unknown||A4iii|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
|Notes: Collection of eggs of tern Sterna fuscata.|
Other biodiversity Green turtles Chelonia mydas (EN) nest and are sometimes poached.
Management considerations No conservation measures have been taken. Uncontrolled collection of eggs is a threat to the Sterna fuscata colony. At present, this may be restricted by the absence of regular sea or air links to the main population centres in the granitic islands. The threat may increase when a regular air link to Mahé is established, following new human developments. Poaching may have reduced or exterminated Sula leucogaster. Rats are present on the larger islands and restrict the range of ground-nesting Sterna fuscata and S. sumatrana.
References Feare (2000), Fosberg and Renvoize (1970b), Skerrett (1996b), Stoddart and Poore (1970).
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2013) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Islets of Farquhar atoll. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 25/05/2013
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