Birdwatching in the Seychelles

With all of Seychelles dazzling white sand beaches, sun-kissed cerulean waters and lush granitic landscapes, it’s easy to overlook all the elegant creatures that call this picturesque island nation ‘home’.

But for me, birdwatching is an integral part of all my travels and Seychelles was going to be no different.

The granitic and coralline islands of Seychelles are home to 13 endemic bird species. In the time I’ve spent on Mahe, Praslin, La Digue and a few of the nearby islands, I was fortunate to observe 8 of the endemics and photograph 7 of them.

Here are the 7 endemic birds I’ve photographed so far….

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The elusive Seychelles Kestrel is a small bird (about 20cm long) and is the only bird of prey in the Seychelles. Photographed in the Beau Vallon area on Mahe island.

The Seychelles Black Parrot (Coracopsis nigra barklyi) is the national bird of the Seychelles. Less than 900 individuals remain in and around Vallee de Mai on Praslin island

The rare Seychelles Black Parrot is the national bird of the Seychelles. Photographed in the primeval palm forest of Vallee de Mai on Praslin island.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Only found on the island of La Digue, less than 300 individuals of the Seychelles Paradise Flycatcher are believed to exist in the wild. This is a male individual.

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A female Seychelles Paradise Flycatcher seen in its nest, incubating its lone egg. Photographed at the Vevue Nature Reserve on La Digue island.

Seychelles Bulbul - Vallee de Mai, Praslin, Seychelles

A handsome Seychelles Bulbul photographed in UNESCO World Heritage Site of Vallee de Mai on Praslin island

The regal Seychelles Blue Pigeon spotted along Anse Major Trail in northwest Mahe

The regal Seychelles Blue Pigeon spotted resting in the thicket at Anse Major Trail in northwest Mahe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seychelles Sunbird - Anse Major Trail, Mahe Seychelles

The sprightly male Seychelles Sunbird with its iridescent throat

The endangered Seychelles Magpie-Robin (Copsychus sechellarum) photographed on Cousin Island during our 2009 trip. Less than 300 individuals remain in the wild.

The endangered Seychelles Magpie-Robin photographed on Cousin Island during our 2009 trip. Less than 250 individuals remain in the wild.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sadly, I had no luck photographing the Seychelles White-eye, which I saw in the La Misere area of Mahe, during my last visit to the island nation.

If you are looking for a nature / bird guide, I highly recommend Basil Beaudouin (+248-4241790) who did such an awesome job of spotting the Seychelles Kestrel 👏👏👏

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Nature / bird guide, Basil Beaudouin, in action

Photographing some other endemic birds like the Aldabra Drongo (species) and the Aldabra Rail (sub-species) will call for a trip to the remote Aldabra Atoll, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most pristine ecological environments in the world. I won’t even bother telling you the logistics of getting there but hopefully, I’ll make it in this lifetime! Fingers crossed!

There are several other bird species in the Seychelles that are either ‘native’ to this geography (i.e. they established a population in the Seychelles without any human intervention) or were ‘introduced’ a long time ago, either accidentally or intentionally, by visitors.

The Malagasy Turtle Dove (Nesoenas picturatus) is native to several islands in the Indian Ocean

The Malagasy Turtle Dove is native to several islands in the Indian Ocean

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The male Madagascar Fody develops a bright red plumage during the breeding season

The male Madagascar Fody develops a bright red plumage during the breeding season

Many of the Seychelles islands are teeming with species of migratory seabirds which come there to breed – shearwaters, tropicbirds, frigatebirds etc. (More about that in my 2009 trip to Cousin Island.)

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A White-tailed Tropicbird flying in the distance, off the Anse Major Trail in Mahe

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One of the many seabirds spotted en route from Mahe to Praslin by ferry

My favourite seabirds are the very ethereal looking Fairy Terns, usually spotted flying around in pairs or threes, as if putting on a show just for you. You may recall seeing a pair of flying Fairy Terns on your Air Seychelles aircraft 🙂

The ethereal Fairy Terns (Gygis alba) on Beau Vallon beach, Mahe

Fairy Terns  on Beau Vallon beach, Mahe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Up-close with a Fairy Tern at Beau Vallon beach, Mahe

Up-close with a Fairy Tern at Beau Vallon beach, Mahe

The Fairy Terns on the livery of Air Seychelles aircrafts

The Fairy Terns graphic on the livery of an Air Seychelles aircraft

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(This is the third in a series of birdwatching posts after Singapore and Sulawesi.)

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2 Comments

Filed under Africa, Seychelles

2 responses to “Birdwatching in the Seychelles

  1. Nickolai Kinny

    Some lovely pictures you got there! It would make a few ornithologists very happy 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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