Exploring Tourism in Seychelles
icon Worldwideicon
Places to Visit Details

Cousin Island Nature Reserve

Cousin Island, Seychelles

One tiny bird is responsible for the preservation of this beautiful island: the rare Seychelles warbler. Cousin Island Special Reserve was established in 1968 to protect this rare species, as well as many other endemic bird species. It is also the most important nesting site in the entire western Indian Ocean for the critically endangered hawksbill turtle.

Cousin Island is also the world's first carbon-neutral nature reserve.

The island lies about two kilometers from Praslin Island, and you can organize day trips through local tour operators. Once you arrive on the island, one of the reserve's wardens will take you on an approximately 75-minute tour, sharing details about the island's unique ecology.

This granitic island and surrounding sea area were made a Nature Reserve when it was bought in 1968 by the International Council for Bird Preservation (now BirdLife International) in order to protect the last tiny population of a near-extinct endemic bird species, the Seychelles warbler (Acrocephalus seychellensis). The entire island, including the 400 meters of water surrounding the island, was also declared a ‘Special Reserve’ by the Seychelles Government in 1975. The island is managed by Nature Seychelles since 1998.

Cousin is a huge conservation success. The previous coconut plantation is now mainly a native forest dominated by Pisonia grandis, Morinda citrifolia and Ochrosia oppositifolia. There is a wetland where fresh water attracts dragonflies and moorhens; the hill creates ideal nesting sites for shearwaters and bridled terns; on the seashore, crabs and shorebirds abound. It is home to a number of reptiles such as giant tortoises and five endemic lizards, giant millipedes and hermit crabs. Seven species of nesting seabirds call Cousin home.

Keep an eye out for some of the resident birds, including the Seychelles magpie robin, the Seychelles brush warbler, the Seychelles turtledove, and the wedge-tailed shearwater. The reserve also encompasses breeding grounds for lesser noddies, fairy terns, and tropicbirds.

Check out more Places to Visit