The islands are located between the Loranchet and Joffre peninsulas of Grande Terre, just off its central north-western shore. The site comprises three large islands (Île Foch, the largest, Île Sainte Lanne Gramont and Île Howe) as well as several smaller ones (Île MacMurdo, Île Briand, Îles Dayman and Îlots Hallet). The landscape is rugged, consisting of coastal cliffs and rocky ridges inland, cut across by fjords and valleys. The site is free of introduced mammals, with the exception of Île Howe where rabbits occur. Other than Île Howe, the site’s vegetation is well preserved and more dense than on Grande Terre.
See Box for key species. At least 29 species breed. Populations of petrels are thought to be large due the absence of introduced mammals, but data are incomplete. Île Sainte Lanne Gramont, in particular, is poorly known. Large populations of penguins also occur, with over 3,000 pairs of Pygoscelis papua and 18,500 pairs of Eudyptes chrysocome. Twenty pairs of Diomedea exulans breed on Île Howe (1989 data) as do several tens of pairs of Pachyptila turtur. Pelecanoides georgicus is also common. It is possible that numbers of breeding Phoebetria palpebrata, Pterodroma brevirostris, P. mollis, Pachyptila desolata, Procellaria aequinoctialis, Fregetta tropicaPelecanoides urinatrix, Phalacrocorax verrucosus, Anas eatoni and Sterna virgata exceed thresholds, but quantitative data are lacking.
Non-bird biodiversity: The mammals Mirounga leonina and Arctocephalus gazella breed.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Île Foch is an ‘Area restricted to scientific and technical research’, to which access is limited. The rest of the site is, however, unprotected. Île Foch and Île Sainte Lanne Gramont are proposed Nature Reserves. There is a permanent risk of colonization by introduced mammal species.
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Île Foch, Île Sainte Lanne Gramont and Île Howe. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 23/03/2023.