Îles Nuageuses

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Topographic map of the Kerguelen archipelago showing the islands in the north-west
Pair of Gentoo Penguins with two chicks
The islands are an important breeding site for Gentoo Penguins

The Îles Nuageuses (or Cloudy Islands in English) comprise a group of small islands that are part of the subantarctic Kerguelen archipelago, a French territory in the southern Indian Ocean. They are important as a breeding site for seabirds, especially penguins and albatrosses, and for fur seals.

Description[edit]

The group lies about 15 km north-west, across the Jean-Baptiste Charcot Channel, from the tip of the Loranchet Peninsula, the northernmost extension of Grande Terre, the principal island of the Kerguelens. The main islands of the Nuageuses are Île de Croÿ, Île du Roland, Île d’Après and the Îles Ternay, with the small Île Clugny some 12 km to the south of the others. The highest point in the group is just over 500 m above sea level and the coastlines are mainly sheer cliffs. The islands are free of introduced species and are thus covered in dense subantarctic vegetation up to about 200 m. Human visitation is rare.[1]

Important Bird Area[edit]

The Îles Nuageuses, including Île Clugny, have been identified as a 240 km2 Important Bird Area (IBA) by BirdLife International. At least 25 bird species breed on the islands. Penguins include 7500 pairs of Gentoos, 35,000 pairs of Northern Rockhoppers and up to 50,000 pairs of Macaronis. Of albatrosses, there are 1800 pairs of Black-browed, 7800 pairs of Grey-headed, 50 pairs of Indian Yellow-nosed, about five pairs of Wandering and some Light-mantled Albatrosses. Other birds breeding on the islands include Antarctic Prions, Kerguelen, White-chinned, Wilson's Storm and Common Diving Petrels, and Black-faced Sheathbills. There are also small numbers of Northern Giant Petrels, Kerguelen Shags, Eaton's Pintails and Kerguelen Terns. There is a large breeding colony of Antarctic Fur Seals.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b BirdLife International. (2012). Important Bird Areas factsheet: Îles Nuageuses and Île Clugny. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 2012-01-20.

Coordinates: 48°38′S 68°39′E / 48.633°S 68.650°E / -48.633; 68.650