Bird Island

Date Posted: 01/08/2017

Bird Island is one of Seychelles' most stunning islands. Inviting stretches of white sandy beaches surround its rich green inland area, in sharp contrast with the clean and clear turquoise sea that laps gently on to the shore.

Bird Island

Nestling at the northern tip of the Seychelles archipelago, around 65 miles from Mahé, Bird Island is a truly unspoiled haven for nature and wildlife - and with only 24 bungalows, it has a peaceful and remote ambience that gives visitors the true feeling of a wild tropical paradise.

Visitors arriving at Bird Island - via a 30-minute flight by light aircraft from Mahé - are immediately mesmerised by the beauty of the island when they see the aerial view for the first time. Renowned for its natural beauty, it is a haven where visitors can truly relax in peace and tranquillity as they watch a variety of wildlife conserved in its natural habitat.

The island is home to thousands of fascinating creatures - as its name suggests, there are many species of tropical birds, a plethora of marine life and spectacular giant tortoises. Nature lovers can enjoy the informal atmosphere as they soak up the tropical sun. Warm temperatures are guaranteed, as Bird Island is only 3º south of the equator, so the climate is always pleasant… it is always great beach weather!

The island's rich history dates back around 125,000 years, when the first coral reefs began to form. Over time, a natural coral shoal was created, with Bird Island forming on the shoal around 3,000 years ago. The island now comprises 101 hectares of natural green habitat and white sandy beaches where the flora and fauna continue to thrive.

It has always been a remote and quiet paradise - in 1882, it was reported that the naval vessel HMS Alert called at the island and found only two residents there. Tourism began on Bird Island in 1973, when 10 chalets were opened. By 1978, a further 14 bungalows had been built and it became fully operational as a quiet retreat for visitors.

Among the glorious sights, the nesting season of sooty terns takes place every year from May to October. Millions of these sea birds gather on the island at this time of year, although there is a year-round population, along with some 20 other bird species - making it a popular destination for ornithologists. Bird Island is also home to the largest land tortoise in the world - affectionately called Esmeralda - and is an important nesting site for turtles.

Visitors may be surprised to learn there is no artificial lighting on Bird Island at night. This is because artificial light can detrimentally affect birds, insects, reptiles and amphibians by upsetting their natural 'body clock' that is governed by the natural daylight hours. Scientific studies have found that interrupting the natural darkness can have disruptive side effects on wildlife. It can lead to migration at the wrong time of year, navigation issues for birds and plants blooming out of season - hence it's vital not to upset nature's delicate balance with artificial lights.

Bird Island was visited by wildlife expert Sir David Attenborough in 1997, when the BBC film crew filmed the sooty tern colony for his popular television series, The Life of Birds. The island has also won many conservation awards, including the Green Planet Award for Environmental Management and Good Practice in 2003 and again in 2005.

Birds

Also in 2005, the staff at Bird Island collectively received the Birdwatcher of the Year award from the Seychelles Birds Committee. In the same year, the island was runner-up in the Responsible Travel Awards' best hotel category at the World Travel Market in London. The accolades continued into 2006, when the BBC Wildlife Magazine voted Bird Island the seventh best destination in the world for genuine eco-tourism.

Visitors wishing to enjoy the natural splendour of Bird Island - and Seychelles' many other breathtaking locations - will find the island of Mahé an ideal location. Charter flights can be commissioned to other Seychelles resorts such as Bird Island, Praslin, Denis Island and Fregate Island. Mahé is also home to one of the best luxury hotels in the world – the five-star Savoy Resort and Spa, where visitors are promised the holiday of a lifetime.