White sandy beaches? Check. Sipping colourful cocktails? Check. Laid-back island holiday? Check. Fantastic birdwatching? Check!
Our Seychelles Birding tour takes you to one of the world’s leading countries when it comes to protecting lands for threatened species with an incredible 42% of its territory allocated for conservation. The country is known for success stories in protecting its flora and fauna.
Seychelles has 13 endemic birds, the majority of these birds are located on Mahé, Praslin, La Digue, Cousin and Aride islands. These are the Seychelles Black Parrot (Vulnerable), Aldabra Drongo (Near Threatened), Seychelles Magpie-Robin (Endangered), Seychelles Paradise Flycatcher (Vulnerable), Seychelles Fody (Near Threatened), Seychelles Scops Owl (Critically Endangered), Seychelles White-eye (Vulnerable), Seychelles Swiftlet (Vulnerable), Seychelles Kestrel (Vulnerable), Seychelles Blue Pigeon, Seychelles Bulbul, Seychelles Warbler (Near Threatened) and Seychelles Sunbird.
Seychelles also hosts some of the largest seabird colonies in the world. Islands such as Aride, Cousin, Aldabra and Cosmoledo host many species of seabirds including terns, tropicbirds, noddies and Frigatebirds. Aride Island has the world’s largest colonies of Audubon’s Shearwater and Lesser Noddy.
Seychelles boasts good infrastructure, top quality resorts and hotels, great Creole cuisine, excellent scuba diving and very friendly people.
The country also vaunts several unique characteristics when it comes to its geography and wildlife. The main islands are the world’s only granitic ocean islands as well as the world’s oldest ocean islands. Coupled with relative isolation and the fact that the islands were uninhabited until the 16th century, Seychelles holds some very special fauna and flora species.
Tour starts and ends in Mahé
Tour duration: 6 days
Next group departure date: To be confirmed
This birding tour can be booked as a private small group tour.
Itinerary – Day tot day Summary:
Mahé Island is the largest island of Seychelles, contains the capital city of Victoria and accommodates 86% of the country’s total population. The northern and eastern parts of the island are home to much of the population and the Seychelles International Airport which opened in 1971. The southern and western parts contain Baie Ternay Marine National Park and Port Launay Marine National Park.
Today we try to locate the Seychelles White-eye. At one time thought to be extinct (as recently as 1996 it was considered one of the rarest birds in the world, with a population of only 25-35 individuals), it was rediscovered and is now listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN. Other birds of interest to encounter are the Seychelles Kestrel, Seychelles Blue Pigeon, Seychelles Bulbul, Seychelles Sunbird, Seychelles Swiftlet and the elusive Seychelles Scops Owl.
We continue to explore the main island of Seychelles today. We will look for other birds of interest, including Yellow Bittern, Crab-plover, Curlew Sandpiper and others that may have been missed.
Leave Mahé Island for Praslin
Today we move onto Praslin Island, the second largest island of Seychelles. Praslin is known as a tourist destination with several hotels and resorts, as well as a number of beaches such as Anse Lazio and Anse Georgette. The Vallée de Mai Nature Preserve, established in 1979, is known for the unique Coco-de-mer and vanilla orchids. It has been reported that General Charles George Gordon of Khartoum (1833-1885) was convinced that Vallée de Mai was the Biblical “Garden of Eden”.
Among others, a special bird we will look for today is the country’s national bird, the Seychelles Black Parrot. The monotypic, grey-brown parrot is confined on Praslin, and is a very energetic bird, foraging for fruits in noisy flocks.
Today we bird on Cousin Island, a small (29 ha) granitic island that lies 2 km (1.2 mi) west of Praslin. It is a nature reserve protected under Seychelles law as a Special Reserve. It is managed by Nature Seychelles, a national non-profit organisation and Partner of BirdLife International, by which it has been identified as an Important Bird Area. Today’s tour consists of a boat transfer from Praslin (preferably Grand Anse beach). The tour start from 10:00am until about midday. In the afternoon we continue with birding on Praslin after returning from Cousin Island.
Aride is the northernmost granitic island in the Seychelles. A nature reserve, it is leased and managed by the Island Conservation Society of Seychelles. The island is dedicated to conservation supported by ecotourism. It is known for huge seabird colonies, with more breeding species than any other single Seychelles island plus large numbers of non-breeding Frigatebirds. The density of lizards is also one of the greatest on earth.
Birds of interest today again include Seychelles Warbler, Seychelles Magpie-Robin and Seychelles Fody. Other birds we will look for are Red-tailed Tropicbird (still a rare bird to be seen on Aride as only 5 pairs breeds on the island), Sooty and Roseate Tern, Tropical Shearwater and Lesser Noddy.
La Digue Island
Today we take the trip to La Digue, the third most populated island of the Seychelles. Today, the island’s main industry is tourism, and it is known for its beaches, especially Anse Source d’Argent and Grand Anse. Before 1960, coconut oil and vanilla production were the mainstays of the local economy, which are commemorated in the island’s museum.
Today’s main bird of interest is the Seychelles Paradise Flycatcher, a Critically Endangered bird that has been confined to La Digue (specifically the Veuve Nature Reserve) for many years, but in 2001 after lengthy conservation efforts, some birds were translated to Denis Island and recently to Curiese Island. It is estimated that there about 300 individuals in the wild today.
In the afternoon we leave La Digue for Mahé to end our exciting tour.
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