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Location French Southern Territories, Îles Crozet
Central coordinates 50o 15.00' East  46o 5.00' South
IBA criteria A1, A2, A4i, A4ii, A4iii
Area 6,600 ha
Altitude 0 - 826m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

Site description Île aux Cochons is the westernmost island of the archipelago. It is a weakly eroded dome of volcanic origin, scattered with small, inactive craters. The coastline consists in part of low cliffs. Cats, rabbits and mice occur; there is, however, no human infrastructure and visits by scientific expeditions are rare.

Key Biodiversity See Box for key species. At least 19 species breed. Île aux Cochons is extremely important for its large penguin populations: it holds the world’s largest rookery of Aptenodytes patagonicus. The largest colony of Diomedea exulans in the Indian Ocean is also found here. Despite the presence of cats, large populations of small petrels still nest on the island, notably four million pairs of Pachyptila salvini salvini and one million pairs of Pelecanoides georgicus.

Non-bird biodiversity: Large populations of the mammals Mirounga leonina, Arctocephalus gazella and A. tropicalis breed, and two endemic plant species and 59 endemic arthropod species occur.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Southern Pintail Anas eatoni resident  1984  present  A2  Vulnerable 
Macaroni Penguin Eudyptes chrysolophus breeding  1984  272,000 breeding pairs  A1, A4ii  Vulnerable 
King Penguin Aptenodytes patagonicus breeding  1995  432,000-556,000 breeding pairs  A4ii  Least Concern 
Gentoo Penguin Pygoscelis papua breeding  1984  5,000-6,000 breeding pairs  A1, A4ii  Near Threatened 
Eudyptes chrysocome breeding  1984  51,000 breeding pairs  A1, A4ii  Not Recognised 
Wandering Albatross Diomedea exulans breeding  1984  1,263 breeding pairs  A1, A4ii  Vulnerable 
Sooty Albatross Phoebetria fusca breeding  1984  400-500 breeding pairs  A1, A4ii  Endangered 
Northern Giant Petrel Macronectes halli breeding  1984  550-600 breeding pairs  A1, A4ii  Least Concern 
Salvin's Prion Pachyptila salvini breeding  1984  4,000,000 breeding pairs  A4ii  Least Concern 
Fairy Prion Pachyptila turtur breeding  1984  50,000-200,000 breeding pairs  A4ii  Least Concern 
South Georgia Diving-petrel Pelecanoides georgicus breeding  1984  1,000,000 breeding pairs  A4ii  Least Concern 
Phalacrocorax atriceps breeding  1984  185 breeding pairs  A4i  Not Recognised 
Catharacta antarctica breeding  1984  150-200 breeding pairs  A4ii  Not Recognised 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Antarctique francaise National Park 36,700 protected area contains site 6,600  

Land use

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

References Derenne et al. (1976), Guinet et al. (1995), Jouventin and Micol (1992), Jouventin et al. (1984, 1988, 1996), Voisin (1984).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Île aux Cochons. Downloaded from on 29/10/2016

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