Conception is a small island located less than 2 km west of the north-western coast of Mahé. Surrounded by a rocky coastline with cliffs, its steep slopes are entirely covered by dense woodland and thickets, growing over large boulders and crevasses. Until the mid-1970s it was exploited as a coconut plantation, but has since remained abandoned and uninhabited. There is no beach on which to land, no permanent surface fresh water and no paths, making it very inhospitable. Vegetation is dominated by the introduced species Cinnamomum verum, Anacardium occidentale, Cocos nucifera and Tabebuia pallida, but the endemics Phoenicophorium borsigianum and Allophylus sechellensis and the indigenous Canthium bibracteatum and Premna obtusifolia are well-represented in the undergrowth.
See Box and Table 2 for key species. Conception is the main stronghold for Zosterops modestus. This population was only discovered in January 1997. It was estimated in 1999 to be 242–327 birds or 60–80 breeding families (including helpers), about 85 % of the current total population estimate. There are also several pairs of Falco araea on the island, as well as a minimum of 100 pairs of Alectroenas pulcherrima. Streptopelia picturata picturata and three exotic species are also present in small numbers.
Non-bird biodiversity: Not well known. Mabuya sechellensis and Phelsuma astriata are abundant. Phelsuma longinsulae and Ailuronyx sechellensis have also been recorded. Marine life around the island appears very rich and includes the hawksbill turtle Eretmochelys imbricata (CR).
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Conception island. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 30/03/2020.