The Seychelles Seabird Group

Seychelles is internationally important for seabirds, with 18 breeding species numbering millions of individuals. For the last 30 years some conservationists on some islands have been conducting research programmes and undertaking censuses,

SSG LOGO however large knowledge gaps remain. With this in mind Nature Seychelles with backing from the Norwegian Embassy and Airtel Seychelles launched the Seychelles Seabird Group.

The aim is to develop a coordinated plan for the management of seabirds by supporting seabird group partners, providing training and co-ordinate surveys and research.

The seabird colonies of the Seychelles have been greatly reduced; most islands supporting breeding colonies are now small, predator free or very remote islands.  Many species have become greatly reduced in range and at least two, the Pink backed pelican and Abbots Booby are extinct in the Seychelles.  In the past heavy exploitation for food and the destruction of islands for plantations or guano mining caused loss of colonies.

Today the main threats are uncontrolled exploitation and the introduction of alien predators to islands. The potential effects of fisheries and climate change on the marine environment are not known.

SMART - Seychelles Magpie Robin Recovery Team

The Seychelles Magpie Robin is one of the rarest birds in the world with approximately 260 individuals; the bird was in even greater peril before the start of theSMART logo recovery programme in 1990 with only 23 birds on one island. In 1990 the SMR Recovery Programme was launched in response to a collapse in numbers.

The early days of the recovery programme focused on stabilizing and recovering the last population on Fregate Island: research was implemented in parallel to conservation management. Once the population stabilized and increased there were sufficient birds to be re-established on Cousin, Cousine and Aride.

Saving the warbler through Science and Conservation

The Seychelles Warbler is a world famous example of how science and conservation can go hand-in-hand. This endemic bird provides an exceptional, natural system in which to study important questions relating to animal health, evolution and ecology.

Working in conjunction with Nature Seychelles, research on the Seychelles warbler is led by Profs. David Richardson (University of East Anglia, UK), Jan Komdeur (University of Groningen, the Netherlands), Terry Burke (University of Sheffield, UK) and Dr Hannah Dugdale (University of Leeds). Jan Komdeur has been working on the Seychelles warbler since 1988 and, with BirdLife International, was instrumental in their translocation to Aride and Cousine. Since 1997 David Richardson has been running the fieldwork and managed this component of the warbler translocations to Denis and Fregate Islands. Thus the warbler’s conservation is also a key part of the groups work. Learn more:

Continuous intensive monitoring and research spanning over 30 has allowed the team to investigate many aspects in the warbler, including:

The evolution and ecology of cooperative breeding

  • Inbreeding problems and inbreeding avoidance
  • Mate choice and infidelity
  • Disease resistance
  • The causes and consequences of ageing
  • The genomic impact of translocations

The Seychelles Warbler Research Group has given scientific and public talks both locally and throughout the world and has published more than 80 papers in leading journals on aspects of the warblers’ biology. This is now the most extensive, productive and high-profile research program to be undertaken on an island bird

See the default Seychelles Warbler Species Action Plan (71 KB)

News items:
The most amazing conservation success story in Seychelles

Universities invest in Seychelles Warbler research 

Seychelles warbler: infidelity increases offspring survival 

Seychelles Warbler: saved from extinction

Return of the Seychelles Warbler

Publications Nature Seychelles eLibrary

Van de Crommenacker et al. 2011. default Spatio-temporal variation in territory quality and oxidative status: a natural experiment in the Seychelles warbler (Acrocephalus sechellensis) (553 KB) . Journal of Animal Ecology 2011 doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2656.2010.01792.x

J. Komdeur et al.. 2004. default Why Seychelles Warblers fail to recolonize nearby islands: unwilling or unable to fly there? (164 KB)  2004 British Ornithologists’ Union

Thor Veen, David S. Richardson, Karen Blaakmeer, and Jan Komdeur. 2000. default Experimental evidence for innate predator recognition in the Seychelles warbler (246 KB) . Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B (2000) 267, 2253^2258

Richardson et al. 2003. default Sex-specific associative learning cues and inclusive fitness benefits in the Seychelles warbler (110 KB) . J . EVOL . BIOL. 16 ( 2003) 854–861

Diamond, A.W. 1980. default Seasonality, population structure  and breeding ecology of the Seychelles Brush Warbler Acrocephalus sechellensis. (1.05 MB)  Proc. V Pan- Afr. Orn. Congr.: 253-266

See also an extensive publications list at the University of Sheffield

Our History

Since 1998.

Seychelles Nature, Green HealthClimate Change, Biodiversity Conservation & Sustainability Organisation

@CousinIsland Manager


Roche Caiman, Mahe

Contact Us

Centre for Environment & Education

Roche Caiman,

P.O. Box 1310, Mahe, Seychelles

Tel:+ 248 2519090