email a friend
printable version
Seychelles Fody Foudia sechellarum

This species is listed as Near Threatened because it has a tiny range, occurring at six locations, but its population is increasing and at present there are no serious threats to the species's survival.

Taxonomic source(s)
Dowsett, R. J.; Forbes-Watson, A. D. 1993. Checklist of birds of the Afrotropical and Malagasy regions. Tauraco Press, Li
Sibley, C. G.; Monroe, B. L. 1990. Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.

12-13 cm. Small, drab-olive weaver. Yellow face in breeding male. Robust black bill. Similar spp. Female, juvenile and non-breeding male F. madagascariensis similar, but lack yellow wash across face and have more streaked upperparts. Voice tsk tsk contact call and chattering alarm call.

Distribution and population
Foudia sechellarum now occurs on six islands in the Seychelles: Cousin, Cousine, Frégate, D'Arros (introduced), Aride (reintroduced) and Denis (introduced). The former range included Marianne, possibly La Digue, and it may have been widespread throughout the Praslin group (Watson 1984, A. Skerrett in litt. 1999). Population estimates are: Cousin c.1,000 birds in 1997 and stable since 1985 (Rocamora 1997a); Cousine: 560 birds in 1996 (Rocamora 1997a); Frégate: at least 1,500 birds (Rocamora 1997a); D'Arros: c.200-300 birds in 1995 (Skerrett 1995); Aride: 124 individuals and 27 breeding territories (Wagner 2003, N. J. Shah in litt. 2004); Denis: at least 14 introduced birds and 10 island-bred birds present in May-July 2005 (Bristol 2005). Several island-bred birds have been seen with fledglings, including a pair of island-bred birds, indicating that the population is now self-sustaining (Bristol 2005). In all, the total population of this species was estimated at c.3,500 individuals in 2004 (Wagner 2004).

Population justification
In all, the total population of this species is now estimated at c.3,500 individuals, equating to c.2,300 mature individuals.

Trend justification
Introductions have helped the population of this species to increase continuously at a slow to moderate rate, as verified by surveys.

It probably originally occupied natural woodland, but has adapted to man-made habitats such as gardens and coconut plantations (Lloyd 1973, Rocamora 1997a). It has a varied diet including insects and invertebrates, seeds, nectar and fruits (Bathe and Bathe 1982, Brooke 1985). It also depredates eggs of other species, especially seabirds (Rocamora 1997a). It appears largely non-territorial, ranging widely, but occasionally defends a small territory in the breeding season (Bathe and Bathe 1982, Brooke 1985, Rocamora 1997a). They may breed several times a year, and even newly translocated birds to Aride have managed up to three breeding attempts in the 13 months since translocation (Wagner 2003).

Historically, slaves killed these birds as they were thought to pose a threat to crops (A. Skerrett in litt. 1999). This persecution, combined with habitat destruction, probably reduced the distribution of the species (Rocamora 1997a). Today, the main threat may be competition and predation from introduced species (A. Skerrett in litt. 1999). This species appears to have some degree of tolerance to introduced cats (on Frégate, Cousine and D'Arros) and brown rats Rattus norvegicus (on Frégate and D'Arros) (J. Millett in litt. 2004). However, black rats Rattus rattus pose a significant threat (J. Millett in litt. 2004, Bristol 2005), although they are unlikely to become established on islands that this fody inhabits (Wagner 2004). F. madagascariensis is not a major competitor (Crook 1961, Rocamora 1997a). However, an introduced female F. sechellarum produced hybrid offspring with F. madagascariensis on Aride before the bird was removed (Lucking 1997). Some colour variation in the D'Arros population may be a result of hybridisation with F. madagascariensis (Rocamora 2003, L. Wagner in litt. 2004).

Conservation Actions Underway
On Cousin, encouraging regeneration of natural woodland, dominated by Pisonia grandis, may have allowed the substantial population increase in recent years (Rocamora 1997a). On Cousine, habitat management has probably also helped (A. Skerrett in litt. 1999). In February 2002, Nature Seychelles translocated 64 fodies to Aride Island where the population has at least doubled in the last 13 months (Wagner 2003). In February 2003, Nature Seychelles introduced 47 fodies to Denis Island, where a self-sustaining population has now established (Bristol 2005). Assessment of the extent of hybridisation on D'Arros through DNA analysis is underway (L. Wagner in litt. 2004). Conservation Actions Proposed
Continue collection of data on population status (A. Skerrett in litt. 1999). Continue to assess threats to the species (A. Skerrett in litt. 1999). Continue management and habitat conservation on Cousin and Cousine, and extend to Frégate (Rocamora 1997a). Avoid further introductions of F. madagascariensis (N. J. Shah and S. Parr in litt. 1999). Consider translocation to other predator-free islands, taking account of those with populations of other threatened birds since it predates on eggs and may compete for food resources (Rocamora 1997a) and establish captive breeding populations to support such future reintroductions, in addition to supplementation efforts.

Bathe, H. V.; Bathe, G. M. 1982. Feeding studies of three endemic landbirds Acrocephalus sechellensis, Foudia sechallarum and Nectarinia dussumieri on Cousin Island, Seychelles.

Bristol, R. 2005. Conservation introductions of Seychelles Fody and Warbler to Denis Island, Seychelles. Re-introduction News 24: 35-36.

Brooke, M. de L. 1985. The annual cycle of the Toc-toc Foudia sechellarum on Cousin Island, Seychelles. Ibis 127: 7-15.

Collar, N. J.; Butchart, S. H. M. 2013. Conservation breeding and avian diversity: chances and challenges. International Zoo Yearbook.

Collar, N. J.; Stuart, S. N. 1985. Threatened birds of Africa and related islands: the ICBP/IUCN Red Data Book. International Council for Bird Preservation, and International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, Cambridge, U.K.

Crook, J. H. 1961. The fodies (Ploceinae) of the Seychelles Islands. Ibis 103a: 517-548.

Lloyd, D. E. B. 1973. Habitat utilisation by land birds of Cousin Island and the Seychelles.

Lucking, R. S. 1997. Hybridization between Madagascan Red Fody Foudia madagascarensis and Seychelles Fody Foudia sechellarum on Aride, Seychelles. Bird Conservation International 7: 1-6.

Rocamora, G. 1997. Rare and threatened species, sites and habitats monitoring programme in Seychelles: monitoring methodologies and recommended priority actions.

Rocamora, G. 2003. The spectacular colorations of D'Arros Fodies. Birdwatch - Bird News and Nature Notes from Seychelles 46: 14-17.

Skerrett, A. 1995. Seychelles Fody rediscovered in Amirantes. Bulletin of the African Bird Club 2(2): 75.

Wagner, L. B. 2004. Translocation of the endemic Seychelles Fody from Frégate to Denis Island - Assessment report Part B.

Watson, J. 1984. Land birds: endangered species on the granitic Seychelles. In: Stoddart, D.R. (ed.), Biogeography and ecology of the Seychelles Islands, pp. 513-527. Dr W Junk, The Hague.

Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Ekstrom, J., Harding, M., Pilgrim, J., Shutes, S., Symes, A., Taylor, J., Warren, B.

Bristol, R., Millett, J., Parr, S., Shah, N., Skerrett, A., Wagner, L.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2014) Species factsheet: Foudia sechellarum. Downloaded from on 11/07/2014. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2014) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 11/07/2014.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

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

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Seychelles fody (Foudia sechellarum) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Near Threatened
Family Ploceidae (Weavers and allies)
Species name author Newton, 1865
Population size 2300 mature individuals
Population trend Increasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 3 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species