The Republic of the Seychelles consists of over 115 Indian Ocean Islands. These tropical islands are 994 miles off the coast of Kenya and are close to Madagascar as well as the Comoros (another island nation). The Seychelles archipelago consists of several distinct types/groups of island. The first group of islands is the central, granitic islands. These are the only oceanic granitic islands on the planet and are believed to represent pieces of land left behind after the huge southern continent of Gondwanaland split up. They are composed of the world’s oldest and hardest granite. The biggest of the granitic islands (and in fact the largest of all the islands in the Seychelles) is Mahé, which is rugged and mountainous, reaching an elevation of 3000 feet. Mahé hosts almost 90 % of the 90,000-strong human population of the Seychelles.
Then there are the various groups of coral/sand islands, the most remarkable of which is the Aldabra Coral Atoll, the planet’s second largest (the Pacific island of Kiritimati, where the US and UK did nuclear tests in the 50s and 60s, is the largest). Aldabra is a “strict reserve” with difficult access, but wildlife enthusiasts who do visit this island can be rewarded with Aldabra Giant Tortoise and five endemic/breeding endemic birds (includingAldabra Blue Pigeon, one of two endemic Blue Pigeons on the Seychelles; there is also one in Madagascar).
White (Fairy) Tern is one of the Seychelles’ charismatic species, but visiting colonies of other seabird species (largely on the smaller islands of the Seychelles) is also highly recommended. The archipelago also boasts a tiny endemic owl, Seychelles Scops Owl, which is Endangered. The Critically Endangered Seychelles Paradise Flycatcher is also of course sought-after. And there are a good number of other endemics – the Seychelles actually has 17 endemic birds, the majority of which can be seen on the central granitic islands. Contributor: Chris Lotz/Birding Ecotours.