La Réunion & Les îles Éparses

Western Indian Ocean Islands

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



Avifauna is Malagasy in origin, but with around 20 introduced species
Approximately 80 recorded 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 (LC)
Reunion Stonechat (LC)

Reunion Harrier (Jacques de Spéville)

Birds best found on La Réunion but occurring more widely (BT)
Mascarene Paradise Flycatcher

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)
Mascarene Swiftlet

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

Other taxa of interest, including endemic subspecies (ESS)
Common Moorhen (pyrrhorrhoa)
Lesser Noddy
Sooty Tern
Red-tailed Tropicbird
White-tailed Tropicbird (ESS europae)
Wedge-tailed Shearwater
Tropical Shearwater
Great Frigatebird
Lesser Frigatebird
Masked Booby
Red-footed Booby
Striated Heron (rutenbergi)
Malagasy Pond Heron
Dimorphic Egret
Mascarene Martin (borbonica)
Malagasy White-eye (ESS voeltzkowi)

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

Réunion Endemic Bird Area
8 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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