email a friend
printable version
Location French Southern Territories, Îles Crozet
Central coordinates 51o 45.00' East  46o 24.00' South
IBA criteria A1, A2, A4i, A4ii, A4iii
Area 14,600 ha
Altitude 0 - 934m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

Site description Île de la Possession is the largest of the five Crozet Islands. Its mountainous landscape is cut by deep glaciated valleys. The valleys and coastal areas are covered in subantarctic vegetation. Black rats occur over most of the island. The island is uninhabited by man except for a research station on the eastern tip of the island, staffed by approximately 20 people.

Key Biodiversity See Box for key species. At least 28 species breed. In addition to those given below, these include 2,000 pairs of Pygoscelis papua, 1,150 pairs Phoebetria palpebrata and 84 pairs of Macronectes giganteus. Numbers of Anas eatoni and Chionis minor are believed to exceed thresholds, but no quantitative data are available. Ten pairs of Diomedea chrysostoma were recorded breeding in 1984. The smaller species breed only at higher altitudes due to the presence of rats lower down.

Non-bird biodiversity: Two species of fur seal breed on the island, Arctocephalus gazella and A. tropicalis, with respectively, 87 and 190 pups in 1991. Numbers have been increasing recently with the cessation of hunting. In 1997, 570 female Mirounga leonina bred. The coastal waters are inhabited by approximately 80 Orcinus orca (LR/cd). Two plants and 59 arthropod species endemic to the Îles Crozet occur.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Southern Pintail Anas eatoni resident  1999  present  A1, A2  Vulnerable 
Macaroni Penguin Eudyptes chrysolophus breeding  1984  800,000 breeding pairs  A1, A4ii  Vulnerable 
King Penguin Aptenodytes patagonicus breeding  1995  85,700 breeding pairs  A4ii  Least Concern 
Eudyptes chrysocome breeding  1984  120,000 breeding pairs  A1, A4ii  Not Recognised 
Grey-headed Albatross Thalassarche chrysostoma breeding  present  A1  Endangered 
Wandering Albatross Diomedea exulans breeding  1999  373 breeding pairs  A1, A4ii  Vulnerable 
Sooty Albatross Phoebetria fusca breeding  1984  650 breeding pairs  A1, A4ii  Endangered 
Light-mantled Albatross Phoebetria palpebrata breeding  1984  1,150 breeding pairs  A1, A4ii  Near Threatened 
Northern Giant Petrel Macronectes halli breeding  1984  558 breeding pairs  A1, A4ii  Least Concern 
Salvin's Prion Pachyptila salvini breeding  1984  20,000-90,000 breeding pairs  A4ii  Least Concern 
Kerguelen Petrel Aphrodroma brevirostris breeding  1984  2,000-9,000 breeding pairs  A4ii  Least Concern 
Soft-plumaged Petrel Pterodroma mollis breeding  1984  2,000-9,000 breeding pairs  A4ii  Least Concern 
South Georgia Diving-petrel Pelecanoides georgicus breeding  1984  20,000-90,000 breeding pairs  A4ii  Least Concern 
Phalacrocorax atriceps breeding  1984  296 breeding pairs  A4i  Not Recognised 
Kerguelen Tern Sterna virgata breeding  1984  38 breeding pairs  A1, A4i  Near Threatened 

Land use

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

References Guinet et al. (1994, 1999), Jouventin and Micol (1992), Jouventin et al. (1984, 1988, 1996), Weimerskirch and Jouventin (1987, 1997), Weimerskirch et al. (1992, 1999).

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 (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Île de la Possession. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife