Seychelles are not only known for their beautiful beaches but also for their rich variety of plants and animals. Some of them are so unique that they only exist on the Seychelles Islands. The government puts a lot of effort to protect the nature. About 40% of the land is protected as National Parks, Marine Parks and Reserves.
I love especially to photograph birds because they could sometimes looks so cute and angry at the same time. Therefore we will start with the huge variety of birds on the Seychelles.
The white-tailed tropicbirds were very prominent on the Cousin Island. I could catch some of them with my camera. There were so many of them flying around! Screaming like the most seagulls you know – ‘mine, mine, mine!’
On the island you can observe the different life stages of the birds. Here you can see a hungry little chick with his proud mother. I have a similar picture on my instagram account but with a closed beak instead.
The lesser noddy is a sea bird as well. He is called ‘lesser’ because he is strongly related to the bird ‘black noddy’ but has a smaller size. Look at this wonderful white lines around his eye and his fine, smooth feathers. Isn’t he beautiful?
The white tern is a sea bird that like doves live in pairs. They also have only one partner through their entire life. These birds are therefore a sign of love on the Seychelles. I really like the contrast between their bluish bill and the white feathers.
The Seychelles magpie-robin has its own great story. This species was critically endangered in 1960s. Only 16 individuals were left. It took very long time to increase the amount of these birds. They weren’t much more individuals till the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds began a project on the Seychelles in 1998. Today there are more than 250 magpie-robins distributed on several Seychellian Islands (have a look at the Wikipedia article for more information). Think about how vulnerable the life of a species can be. Without a huge effort of the humankind we would never see and never know about the Seychelles magpie-robin.
I want to show you another endemic bird – the Seychelles bulbul. It is much more common and not endangered like the magpie-robin but also unique and can only be found on the Seychelles.
Now we are coming to my favourite bird. The red fody. Because of this intense red colour this was the first bird I saw as we arrived on the island ‘Mahé’ and spend a few moments waiting for the ferry to the island ‘Preslin’. The red fody is very small and has a size of 13 cm (5 inches). Only males are red. The female have a olive-brown colour. This bird is very common on the islands and as you can see by the Latin name, it is also common on Madagascar. In our hotel on La Digue and Praslin our breakfast was on the outside. The birds loved to pick up the left over crumbs of toast. This was also the moment I took this cool snapshot. Look at his majestic but at the same time quite angry glance of his eyes. Of course it is a provocative look of a male ^^
Beside birds you can found some small lizards on almost every island. On the picture below you can see the bright green day gecko that is endemic on Seychelles. You can only see the bright colour of this gecko by light, in the shadow the skin gets a much darker green colour. I took this picture as well as the that of the Seychelles bulbul at Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve a protected palm forest on the island Preslin. This is a very cool place and I recommend to go with a guide there. Only then you can recognize all this small unique creatures.
The wright’s skink also lives only on the Seychelles Islands. The picture below was taken on the Cusine Island. Look how relexed this guy is! Unlike the neon green gecko, the skin of this skink looks more like that of a snake.
Another picture I want to show you is a land crab we saw near the Mangrove habitat on Curieuse Island. I wrote about it a bit in my last article. He was huge. We saw even one specimen by spending our evening on the beach near the hotel in Preslin. The crab surprised us in the darkness and looked quite scary because at first we didn’t really know what it was. But in the end we probably scared the crab by our intensive observation.
The probably greatest animals that can be found on the Seychelles are the Aldabra giant tortoises. This species belongs together with the Galápagos tortoise to the largest now living tortoises of the world. The most known Galápagos tortoise was called ‘Harriet’ who was collected by Charles Darwin. But one male Aldabra giant tortoise that was called ‘Adwaita’ reached a weight of 250 kg (551 lb) and is it is assumed that he was the oldest tortoise that lived in our modern times. It is sure that he was at least 150 years old, some sources are saying that he reached the age of 255 years. So maybe the truth is somewhere in between. But it is still amazing that there are animals that could live such a long time.
On Curieuse Island there is a large nature reserve where the tortoises can live in a protected environment. The following picture was taken on Cousine Island, where you also can find some of them.
Last but not least I want to tell you a bit about the marine life on the Seychelles. It is really great to go diving or snorkelling there. You can find a lot of colourful fishes there, octopi, sea turtles, riff sharks and rays. The coral riffs are destroyed on many places but the variety of species is still very large. I would like to show you some pictures under the water but unfortunately there are no useful ones. I tried to use an action cam during snorkelling but the pictures weren’t the best. But I can show you one picture of a sea turtle instead.
One morning we were lucky and swam beside one very big turtle. It is remarkable how majestic the turtles can move under the water. It is like there were dancing and not swimming. It was an amazing experience!