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Location French Southern Territories, Îles Kerguelen
Central coordinates 69o 29.00' East  48o 41.00' South
IBA criteria A1
Area 2,400 ha
Altitude 0 - 130m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

Site description This site covers a small group of islands and islets to the east of the northern tip of Grande Terre. The largest island, Île de Castries, is about 500 ha. The landscape of the islands is mostly flat, rising westwards to meet coastal cliffs. Access from the sea is virtually impossible because of the extensive banks of the seaweed Macrocystis pyrifera which surround the islands. It is likely therefore that humans have never set foot on these islands.

Key Biodiversity See Box for key species. The only data available are from observations made offshore and so are inevitably incomplete. Five or six pairs of Diomedea exulans breed (1989 data) as do unknown numbers of Macronectes halli. It is possible that the site is of importance for several petrel species, while numbers of breeding Phalacrocorax verrucosus exceed the threshold, but quantitative data are lacking.

Non-bird biodiversity: The flora is thought to be pristine. A large colony of the fur seal Arctocephalus gazella occurs. This population has probably never been exploited, which has enabled the recolonization of other sites from where the species had been exterminated.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Wandering Albatross Diomedea exulans breeding  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Northern Giant Petrel Macronectes halli breeding  present  A1  Least Concern 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Antarctique francaise National Park 36,700 protected area contains site 2,400  

Land use

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

References Cherel et al. (1996), Jouventin and Micol (1992), Jouventin et al. (1984, 1988, 1996), Mougin (1985), Weimerskirch and Jouventin (1997), Weimerskirch et al. (1989).

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

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