La Réunion & Les Îles Éparses


La Réunion is an island in the western Indian Ocean covering 2,512 km², and the widely scattered Îles Éparses, with a combined total land area of 43km², consist of the islands of Europa/Nosy Ampela, Juan de Nova/Nosy Kely and Tromelin, the Glorieuses archipelago/Nosy Sambatra and the Bassas da India atoll/Nosy Bedimaky



Avifauna is Malagasy in origin, but with more than 20 introduced species
Approximately 120 recorded species, including vagrants and introduced species

Mascarene Swiftlet (Paul van Giersbergen)
Reunion Harrier (Jacques de Spéville)
Reunion Stonechat (Jacques de Spéville)

Endemics (E)
Mascarene Petrel (breeding) (CR)
Barau’s Petrel (breeding) (EN)
Reunion Harrier (EN)
Reunion Cuckooshrike (CR)
Reunion Bulbul (NT)
Reunion Grey White-eye (LC)
Reunion Olive White-eye | Reunion White-eye (LC)
Reunion Stonechat (LC)

Reunion Harrier (Jacques de Spéville)

Birds best found on La Réunion but occurring more widely (BT), including endemic subspecies (ESS)
Mascarene Paradise Flycatcher (ESS bourbonnensis)

Mascarene Paradise Flycatcher (Jacques de Spéville)
Mascarene Paradise Flycatcher (Jacques de Spéville)
Reunion Stonechat (Jacques de Spéville)

Birds occurring in only two territories of the ABC region but not near-endemics or BT (1/2), including ESS
Mascarene Swiftlet (ESS saffordi)

Proposed splits not yet accepted by IOC
Reunion Paradise Flycatcher (E)

Other taxa of interest, including more ESS
Common Moorhen (pyrrhorrhoa)
Malagasy Turtle Dove (coppingeri)
Greater Flamingo
Grey Plover
Common Ringed Plover
Greater Sand Plover
Eurasian Whimbrel
Bar-tailed Godwit
Ruddy Turnstone
Curlew Sandpiper
Common Sandpiper
Common Greenshank
Brown Noddy (pileatus)
Lesser Noddy
White Tern
Caspian Tern
Greater Crested Tern
Lesser Crested Tern
Bridled Tern
Sooty Tern
Roseate Tern
Common Tern
Brown Skua
Red-tailed Tropicbird (rubricauda)
White-tailed Tropicbird (ESS europae)
Wilson’s Storm Petrel
Wedge-tailed Shearwater
Tropical Shearwater (bailloni)
Great Frigatebird (aldabrensis)
Lesser Frigatebird (iredalei)
Masked Booby (personata)
Red-footed Booby (rubripes)
Brown Booby (plotus)
Striated Heron (rutenbergi)
Malagasy Pond Heron
Dimorphic Egret
Western Barn Owl (hypermetra)
Broad-billed Roller
Eleonora’s Falcon
Sooty Falcon
Pied Crow
Malagasy Bulbul (ESS grotei)
Mascarene Martin (borbonica)
Madagascar Cisticola
Malagasy White-eye (ESS maderaspatanus + voeltzkowi)
Souimanga Sunbird (sovimanga)

Introduced species
Red Junglefowl
Grey Francolin
King Quail
Madagascar Partridge
Common Quail
Jungle Bush Quail
Rock Dove
Malagasy Turtle Dove (picturatus)
Zebra Dove
Madagascar Buttonquail
Rose-ringed Parakeet
Red-whiskered Bulbul
Red-billed Leiothrix
Common Myna
House Sparrow
Village Weaver
Red-billed Quelea
Red Fody
Scaly-breasted Munia
Common Waxbill
Red Avadavat
Yellow-fronted Canary
Cape Canary

Montane forest and scrubland on La Réunion, islets, reefs, coastal waters

Réunion Endemic Bird Area
12 Important Bird Areas

La Roche Écrite in the highlands of La Réunion for endemics
South-west coast of La Réunion and the Îles Éparses, especially Europa/Nosy Ampela, for seabirds

TIMING (Oct–Dec)
Best at the start of the rains, when most birds breed (Sep–Dec)
Avoid cyclone season (Jan–Apr)

Field guides
Birds of Madagascar and the Indian Ocean Islands by Frank Hawkins, Roger Safford & Adrian Skerrett (2015)
Birds of the Mascarene: a Comprehensive Collection of Endemic, Oceanic, Migratory and Exotic Birds of Mauritius, Rodrigues and Reunion/Les Oiseaux des Mascareignes: un Recueil Exhaustif des Oiseaux Endémiques, Océaniques, Migrateurs et Exotiques de Maurice, Rodrigues et la Réunion by Narainsamy Ramen (2012)
Oiseaux de la Réunion by Armand Barau, Nicolas Barré & Christian Jouanin (1996)
Animaux de la Réunion: Guide d’Identification des Oiseaux, Mammifères, Reptiles et Amphibiens by Jean-Michel Probst (1997)

Oiseaux de Madagascar, Mayotte, Comores, Seychelles, Reunion, Maurice/Bird Sounds of Madagascar, Mayotte, Comoros, Seychelles, Reunion, Mauritius by Pierre Huguet & Claude Chappuis

Site guides
A Birder’s Guide to Mauritius and Réunion (with Seabirds of the Western Indian Ocean) by Dave Sargeant (1993)


Further reading
The Birds of Africa Volume VIII: the Malagasy Region by Roger Safford & Frank Hawkins (2013)
Le Grand Livre des Oiseaux de La Réunion by Armand Barau, Nicolas Barré & Christian Jouanin (2005)
Lost Land of the Dodo: the Ecological History of Mauritius, Réunion and Rodrigues by Anthony Cheke & Julian Hume (2008)
La Réunion and Îles Éparses by Matthieu Le Corre & Roger J Safford in Important Bird Areas in Africa and Associated Islands: Priority Sites for Conservation edited by Lincoln D C Fishpool & Michael I Evans (2001)
Studies of Mascarene Island Birds edited by A W Diamond (1987)
Birds of the Mascarenes and Saint Brandon by France Staub (1976)
Birds of the Indian Ocean/Les Oiseaux de l’Océan Indien by Narainsamy Ramen (2022)
Articles in Alauda, Bull. ABC, Bulletin Phaethon, etc.

Découvrir La Réunion: Les Oiseaux de La Réunion
Réserve Naturelle Nationale de l’Etang de Saint-Paul
Réserve Naturelle Nationale Marine de la Réunion
Réserve Naturelle Nationale de l’Archipel des Glorieuses
Pitons, cirques et remparts de l’île de la Réunion
Terres Australes et Antarctiques Françaises – Les îles Éparses


Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseaux (LPO) is the BirdLife Partner for La Réunion and Les Îles Éparses

Other bird or conservation organisations active in La Réunion include –
La Société d’Etudes Ornithologiques de la Réunion (SEOR)
Société Réunionnaise pour l’Etude et la Protection de l’Environnement – Réunion Nature Environnement (SREPEN-RNE) 
Société Réunionnaise des Amis du Muséum (SRAM) – Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle de la Réunion
Initiative Française pour les Récifs Coralliens (IFRECOR)

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