Îles Leygues

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Îles Leygues
Îles Swain
Îles LeyguesÎles Swain is located in Kerguelen
Îles LeyguesÎles Swain
Îles Leygues
Îles Swain
Location in Kerguelen
Location North of Île Howe
Coordinates 48°41′S 69°29′E / 48.683°S 69.483°E / -48.683; 69.483Coordinates: 48°41′S 69°29′E / 48.683°S 69.483°E / -48.683; 69.483
Archipelago Kerguelen
Major islands Île de Castries, Île Dauphine
Highest elevation 71 m (233 ft)
Highest point Île Dauphine HP
Zone French Southern and Antarctic Lands
Population Uninhabited

The Îles Leygues, or Leygues Islands, also sometimes known as the Îles Swain, comprise a group of small islands and islets that are part of the subantarctic Kerguelen archipelago, a French territory in the southern Indian Ocean.

They were named after Georges Leygues (1857-1933), a French politician and Minister of Marine. They are important as a breeding site for seabirds and fur seals.


The Îles Leygues lie across the Passe de la Résolution from Île Howe, and north of the main Kerguelen island of Grande Terre. The two largest islands are Île de Castries and Île Dauphine. Île de Castries, the largest of them is 500 ha. Far to the north lie the Roches du Terror and to the east the Roches du Gallieni rocks.[1] The landscape of the islands is mainly flat, though rising westwards to form coastal cliffs. Access from the sea is virtually impossible because of extensive banks of giant kelp surrounding the group.


Humans are not known to have set foot on the islands. A large colony of Antarctic fur seals occurs which has probably never been hunted and which has enabled the recolonisation of other sites from which the species was formerly exterminated.[2]

Important Bird Area[edit]

The islands have been identified as a 24 km2 Important Bird Area (IBA) by BirdLife International. Five or six pairs of wandering albatrosses breed there as well as unknown numbers of northern giant petrels and Kerguelen shags. Other petrels may also nest on the islands but data are lacking because the only available information is from offshore observations.[2]

White and black bird swimming
Wandering albatrosses nest on the islands in small numbers
Map of Kerguelen with the Leygues Islands as Îles Swain


  1. ^ "Îles Leygues". Mapcarta. Retrieved 27 September 2016. 
  2. ^ a b BirdLife International. (2012). Important Bird Areas factsheet: Îles Leygues. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 2012-01-20.