Seychelles | Sesel

SUB-REGION
Malagasy

SIZE
Seychelles is an archipelago of over 155 widespread islands in the western Indian Ocean, with a combined total land area of 455 km², of which 42 are granitic islands (the world’s oldest oceanic islands) and the rest are biogeographically distinct and reactively young coralline islands, including the Amirantes group, the Farquhar group and the Aldabra group

BIRDS AND BIRDING

SPECIES
Diversity

Approximately 280 recorded species
Mostly vagrants, but also many seabirds and several introduced species
Residents are Malagasy in origin, with a high degree of endemism

Seychelles Magpie-Robin (Sue Walsh)
Seychelles Warbler (Sue Walsh)
Seychelles Paradise Flycatcher (Sue Walsh)

Endemics (E)
Seychelles Swiftlet (VU)
Seychelles Blue Pigeon (LC)
Seychelles Scops Owl (CR)
Seychelles Kestrel (VU)
Seychelles Black Parrot | Seychelles Parrot (VU)
Aldabra Drongo (NT)
Seychelles Paradise Flycatcher (VU)
Seychelles Bulbul (LC)
Seychelles Warbler (NT)
Seychelles White-eye (VU)
Aldabra White-eye (LC)
Seychelles Magpie-Robin (EN)
Seychelles Sunbird (LC)
Aldabra Fody (EN)
Seychelles Fody (NT)

Seychelles Blue Pigeon (Sue Walsh)

Birds occurring in only two territories of the ABC region but not near-endemics (1/2), including endemic subspecies (ESS)
Madagascar Nightjar (ESS aldabrensis)
Malagasy Coucal (ESS insularis)
White-throated Rail (ESS aldabranus)
Malagasy Sacred Ibis (ESS abbotti)
Malagasy Kestrel (ESS aldabranus)
Madagascar Cisticola
Souimanga Sunbird (ESS aldabrensis)

Proposed new species or splits not yet accepted by IOC
Seychelles Turtle Dove (E)
Aldabra Turtle Dove (E)
Aldabra Rail (E)
Abbott’s Sunbird (E)

Other taxa of interest, including more ESS
Malagasy Turtle Dove (ESS rostratus + aldabranus, coppingeri)
Comoros Blue Pigeon (ESS minor)
Common Moorhen (orientalis)
Crab-plover
Brown Noddy
Lesser Noddy
White Tern
Caspian Tern
Greater Crested Tern
Lesser Crested Tern
Saunders’s Tern
Bridled Tern
Sooty Tern
Roseate Tern
Black-naped Tern
Red-tailed Tropicbird (rubricauda)
White-tailed Tropicbird
Wedge-tailed Shearwater
Tropical Shearwater (ESS colstoni)
Great Frigatebird
Lesser Frigatebird
Masked Booby
Red-footed Booby
Brown Booby
Yellow Bittern
Black-crowned Night Heron
Malagasy Pond Heron
Striated Heron (ESS degens + crawfordi)
Grey Heron (firasa)
Dimorphic Egret
Pied Crow
Malagasy Bulbul (ESS rostratus)
Malagasy White-eye (ESS menaiensis)

National bird
Seychelles Black Parrot | Kato Nwar (VU)

Introduced species
Grey Francolin
Rock Dove
Malagasy Turtle Dove (picturatus)
Zebra Dove
Western Barn Owl
Rose-ringed Parakeet
Red-whiskered Bulbul
Common Myna
House Sparrow
Red Fody
Common Waxbill

MAIN HABITATS
Forest, coastal scrub, coral islands

BIRD AREAS
Aldabra Endemic Bird Area (EBA)
Granitic Seychelles EBA
20 Important Bird Areas

BIRDING SITES
Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve on Praslin for Seychelles Black Parrot
Veuve Reserve on La Digue for Seychelles Paradise Flycatcher
Cousin and Aride Islands for Seychelles Warbler, Seychelles Magpie-Robin, Seychelles Fody and breeding seabirds
Highlands of Mahé for Seychelles Scops Owl, Seychelles White-eye and Seychelles Kestrel
Aldabra Atoll for Aldabra Drongo, Aldabra White-eye and Aldabra Fody

TIMING (Sep–Nov)
Best at the start of the rains when most birds breed (Sep–Dec)
Avoid the main rains (Dec–Jan)

RESOURCES
Field guides
Birds of Seychelles by Adrian Skerrett & Tony Disley (2011)
Birds of Madagascar and the Indian Ocean Islands by Frank Hawkins, Roger Safford & Adrian Skerrett (2015)
A Photographic Guide to the Birds of the Indian Ocean Islands/Guide Photographique des Oiseaux des Îles de l’Océan Indien by Ian Sinclair, Olivier Langrand & Fanja Andriamialisoa (2006)
The Vertebrates of Seychelles: a Field Guide by Justin Gerlach (2006)
Wildlife of Seychelles by John Bowler (2006)
Birds of the Republic of Seychelles by Ian Bullock (1990)
The Birds of Seychelles and the Outlying Islands by Malcolm Penny (1986)

Sounds
Sounds of Seychelles: Soundscapes and Fauna of the Granitic Islands/Ambiances Naturelles et Faune des îles Granitiques by Gérard Rocamora, Aurora Solé and Gilles Abbé
Oiseaux de Madagascar, Mayotte, Comores, Seychelles, Reunion, Maurice/Bird Sounds of Madagascar, Mayotte, Comoros, Seychelles, Reunion, Mauritius by Pierre Huguet & Claude Chappuis

Site guides
Where to Watch by Seychelles Bird Records Committee
A Birdwatchers’ Guide to Seychelles by Adrian Skerrett & Ian Bullock (1992)

Further reading
The Birds of Africa Volume VIII: the Malagasy Region by Roger Safford & Frank Hawkins (2013)
Complete Birds of Seychelles by Narainsamy Ramen & Adrian Skerrett (2016)
A Checklist of the Birds of Seychelles by Adrian Skerrett, Michael Betts, Ian Bullock, David Fisher, Ron Gerlach, Rob Lucking, John Phillips & Bob Scott (2007)
A Systematic List of the Birds of Aldabra by Michael Betts (2002)
Seychelles by Gérard Rocamora & Adrian Skerrett in Important Bird Areas in Africa and Associated Islands: Priority Sites for Conservation edited by Lincoln D C Fishpool & Michael I Evans (2001)
Birds of the Indian Ocean/Les Oiseaux de l’Océan Indien by Narainsamy Ramen (2022)
Orange Omelettes & Dusky Wanderers: Studies and Travels in Seychelles Over Four Decades by Chris J Feare (2017)
Striking Nature of Curieuse Island (Seychelles) by Steen G Hansen & Victorin F Laboudallon (2017)
Aride Island – Tread Lightly edited by Tim Sands & Adrian Skerrett (2016)
Discover Seychelles’ Birds by Mike Hill (2004)
Zwazo Sesel: the Names of Seychelles Birds and Their Meanings by Adrian Skerrett, Pat Matyot & Gérard Rocamora (2003)
Birds of Aldabra by Adrian Skerrett (1999)
Articles in Scopus, Bull. ABC, etc.

Websites
Aride Island Nature Reserve
Cousin Island Special Reserve
UNESCO World Heritage List: Aldabra Atoll and Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve
Nature Protection Trust of Seychelles (NPTS) (1992-2012)
Aldabra Marine Programme (AMP)

Blogs
Seychelles Seabird Group (2013-2018)

Facebook groups
Bird Island, Seychelles
#seychellesbirds

ORGANISATIONS

Nature Seychelles is the BirdLife Partner in Seychelles

Seychelles Bird Records Committee collects and assesses sightings of bird species within the Exclusive Economic Zone of  Seychelles, which includes the Aldabra group

Other bird or conservation organisations active in Seychelles include –
Island Conservation Society (ICS)/Société pour la Conservation des Iles/Sosyete pour Konservasyon bann Zil
Seychelles Islands Foundation (SIF)
Wildlife Clubs of Seychelles (WCS)
Marine Conservation Society Seychelles (MCSS)
The Nature Conservancy (TNC)

Most of the outer islands of Seychelles are owned and managed by the Islands Development Company (IDC)

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