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The Kerguelen Islands (7,000 km2, maximum altitude 1,960 m; made up of one very big island, Grande Terre, and more than 300 other islands and islets) and the Crozet Islands (500 km2, reaching 1,200 m; five islands) are situated in the southern Indian Ocean c.1,500 km apart, both belonging to the French Southern Territories. Vegetation includes shrubland, tussock grassland and moorland, but many high areas are devoid of plants. Several of the islands are part of the Parc National Antarctique Français and are Specially Protected Areas (see Jouventin and Micol 1995). The islands are a major breeding ground for several seabird species, notably Wandering Albatross Diomedea exulans (classified as Vulnerable), Sooty Albatross Phoebetria fusca, Northern Giant Petrel Macronectes halli (both Near Threatened) and Kerguelen Tern Sterna virgata (Vulnerable) (see Jouventin et al. 1984). The islands are a Secondary Area because of the endemic Eaton's Pintail Anas eatoni, which occurs as the race eatoni on Kerguelen (population estimated at 5,000-10,000 pairs) and drygalskyi on Crozet (1,350 pairs). Introduced Mallard A. platyrhynchos are present but seem to form no direct threat to A. eatoni, though competition from and predation by feral cats are problems which could arise in the future, especially on Grande Terre, once the cats have depleted the petrels which they currently target as food (Madge and Burn 1988, del Hoyo et al. 1992). A. eatoni eatoni has also been introduced to the islands of St Paul and Amsterdam (which are also French Southern Territories). These islands each appear to have been inhabited by their own endemic populations of ducks that were exterminated by humans or by introduced mammals in the past two hundred years. The duck from St Paul is known only from a historical account in 1793, while the abundant bone remains of a duck (a small, teal-sized, flightless species) from Amsterdam Island have been described as a new species, A. marecula, by Olson and Jouventin (1996).
Important Bird Areas (IBAs)
Threat and conservation
BirdLife International (2022) Endemic Bird Areas factsheet: Kerguelen and Crozet islands. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 30/06/2022.