102
Mauritius

Country/Territory Mauritius
Area 1,900 km2
Altitude 0 - 800m
Priority critical
Habitat loss severe
Knowledge good

General characteristics

Together with Rodrigues (EBA 103), the volcanic Indian Ocean island of Mauritius is an independent nation, and both are part of the so-called Mascarene Islands (see also EBA 101) (see p.

Restricted-range species

All the extant restricted-range species occur in remaining native evergreen forest, with only Zosterops borbonicus and, to a lesser extent, Terpsiphone bourbonnensis currently living also in entirely exotic vegetation. None of the restricted-range species shows true altitudinal specialization, and although some appear limited to a particular altitudinal range, this is due to factors such as the distribution of predators (R.


Species IUCN Category
Pink Pigeon (Nesoenas mayeri) EN
Mauritius Blue-pigeon (Alectroenas nitidissimus) EX
Mascarene Swiftlet (Aerodramus francicus) NT
Mauritius Kestrel (Falco punctatus) EN
Echo Parakeet (Psittacula eques) EN
Mauritius Cuckoo-shrike (Lalage typica) VU
Mascarene Paradise-flycatcher (Terpsiphone bourbonnensis) LC
Mauritius Bulbul (Hypsipetes olivaceus) VU
(Zosterops borbonicus) NR
Mauritius Olive White-eye (Zosterops chloronothos) CR
Mauritius Fody (Foudia rubra) EN

Important Bird Areas (IBAs)
IBA Code Site Name Country
MU001 Chamarel - Le Morne Mauritius
MU002 Black River Gorges National Park and surrounding areas Mauritius
MU003 Macchabé - Brise Fer forest Mauritius
MU004 Relict Forests of the Central Plateau Mauritius
MU005 East coast mountains Mauritius
MU006 Plaine des Roches - Bras d'Eau Mauritius
MU007 Pont Bon Dieu Mauritius
MU008 Moka mountains Mauritius
MU009 Mauritius South-eastern Islets Mauritius

Threat and conservation

Most of the native vegetation on Mauritius has been cleared and replaced by sugar-cane, tea and conifer plantations. Only remnants of original forest remain (c.5% of the island), mainly in the south-west around the Black River Gorge, but even here it is severely degraded by introduced animals and plants (Safford 1997a). Introduced deer Cervus timorensis, pigs and monkeys Macaca fascicularis cause the most damage, but other exotics affecting forest regeneration are rats (principally black rat Rattus rattus, although brown rat R. norvegicus is also present) and introduced invertebrates (especially the giant African snails Achatina fulica and A. panthera, and many insects) (WWF/IUCN 1994). Cyclones occur regularly and can cause extensive damage, especially to already-degraded habitat (e.g. Jones 1994b).

Not surprisingly, all the endemic birds are threatened as a result of habitat loss and continuing degradation, and also because of nest-predation by introduced rats, monkeys and birds (e.g. Red-whiskered Bulbul Pycnonotus jocosus which affects white-eyes Zosterops in particular). Falco punctatus suffered from organochlorine pesticides in the 1960s, but, following a captive breeding and release programme, made a spectacular recovery from a known population of only six birds to a wild population of 56-68 pairs, with a post-breeding estimate of 229-286 birds in 1994. The population is expected to continue to rise to 500-600 birds (C. G. Jones in litt. 1994).

The status of four species is considered Critical. Columba mayeri was reduced to very low numbers (c.20) with breeding restricted to a single tiny grove of exotic Cryptomeria trees, but a second population from captive-bred birds has been established (aided by supplementary feeding and rat-control and numbering 52 in 1994), and there are plans to extend the release programme, for example to predator-free Ile aux Aigrettes and to a lowland site at Bel Ombre (C. G. Jones in litt. 1994). Psittacula eques, having long since become extinct in the nominate form on R


Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2017) Endemic Bird Areas factsheet: Mauritius. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 27/07/2017.