The site is a roughly circular, calcarenitic islet in Grand Port Bay, 900 m from the south-east mainland of Mauritius. It is a remnant of a Pleistocene reef, which emerged around 30,000 years ago when the sea-level dropped, and lies in the dry zone of Mauritius, receiving around 1,400 mm of rain annually. The islet is classified as a Nature Reserve because of the presence of a dry evergreen lowland forest with a unique species composition, and an excellent opportunity for ecological restoration. Another eight islets in Grand Port Bay (near Ile aux Aigrettes) each cover less than 3 ha.
See Box and Table 2 for key species. Threatened species: Falco punctatus (used as reintroduction site for ‘East coast mountains’ IBA, MU005; one pair has bred); Columba mayeri (reintroduced since 1993, 54 birds in 1998, 19% of non-captive population). The islet is one of the most promising sites in Mauritius for marooning other native landbird species. Establishment of seabird populations is also a possibility. Other Grand Port Bay islets have a few nesting Puffinus pacificus and their importance to seabirds could increase in future, with appropriate management, although population sizes cannot be predicted.
Non-bird biodiversity: Plant communities: dry evergreen lowland forest, rich in ebonies Diospyros aigrettarum (habitat otherwise extinct, but probably typical of the eastern lowlands of Mauritius). Plant species: around 18 threatened species present, with more being introduced from mainland or other islets; several almost restricted to islet. Mammals: Pteropus niger (VU; occasional visitor). Reptiles: Gongylomorphus bojerii, Nactus coindemirensis (both endemic to Mauritian islets) on nearby islets (not Ile aux Aigrettes).
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Mauritius South-eastern Islets. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 05/02/2023.