The site comprises the smaller, uninhabited islands of Farquhar atoll, which lies 770 km south-south-west of Mahé and c.200 km north-north-east of Madagascar. Farquhar is a low-lying flat, roughly circular atoll of 10 islands (totalling c.25 ha of land) surrounding a shallow lagoon (17,800 ha) which dries extensively at low tide. Excluded from the IBA are the two largest islands, Ile du Nord and Ile du Sud, together with three smaller intervening islands known as the Manahas. There is a permanent human settlement and an airstrip on Ile du Nord. There are plans to build an hotel here, to be served by regular flights from Mahé. The islands are dominated by coconut trees and some Casuarina equisetifolia. Historically, much of the atoll was under plantation but today only a small amount of copra is produced. Some exploitation of seabird eggs takes place. The island with the greatest ornithological interest is Goelettes, the most southerly point of land in Seychelles. In contrast to the other islands, Goelettes is almost treeless; it is covered in grasses, other short vegetation and a few Scaevola taccada bushes.
See Box for key species. There is a large colony of Sterna fuscata on Goelettes during the south-east monsoon (May–October). Sterna sumatrana also breeds on Goelettes and, possibly, on other islets. Other breeding species include Sula sula (50–70 pairs), Butorides striatus, Bubulcus ibis (100–150 pairs), Ardea cinerea, Anous stolidus and Gygis alba. Sula leucogaster bred on Ile Lapin (4 pairs in 1976) but there are no recent data. There are roosts of non-breeding Fregata minor and F. ariel. No indigenous landbirds now survive, though an unidentified species of blue pigeon, now extinct, occurred at the time of man’s first arrival. Two introduced landbirds occur, Geopelia striata and Foudia madagascariensis. The lagoon supports migratory waders which may sometimes include large numbers of Dromas ardeola and Arenaria interpres but data are lacking.
Non-bird biodiversity: Green turtles Chelonia mydas (EN) nest and are sometimes poached.
BirdLife International (2019) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Farquhar - South Island and islets. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 20/03/2019.