Rodrigues Island, a dependency of the Republic of Mauritius, is one of the three larger islands, along with Mauritius Island and Reunion Island, which is a Foreign Department of France, that comprise the Mascarene Islands, all of which are located in the Indian Ocean east of Madagascar.
A point to keep in mind when birding, or planning a birding trip, on Rodrigues Island in the Republic of Mauritius, would be that while there are a variety of species of birds to be seen in an area such as this, there are certain pressures that may well impact your planned search.
According to the African Bird Club, most endemic species still present have been restricted to just a small number of spots of vegetation in protected areas. One reported exception to that is the Mauritius Grey White-eye, which has adapted to other areas of vegetation has prospered in public areas.
When speaking of endemic species, it's also worth nothing Rodriques Island has 9 endemic species that are now extinct with two, the Rodrigues Warbler and Rodrigues Fody, presently considered threatened.
Avibase lists the Garganey, White-throated Needletail, Allen's Gallinule, Short-tailed Shearwater, Lesser Frigatebird, Great Frigatebird, Greater Sand Plover, South Polar Skua, and Greater Crested Tern as rare species on the island.
Birds you can see here include:
Wildlife on Rodrigues Island, like other spots in the Mascarene Islands is an evolving concern. There have been certain species, some endemic, in the past that are now no longer seen or rarely seen.
Efforts to counter this are in operation in the area.
The Aldabra Giant Tortoise and Madagascan Radiated Tortoise are two species that have shown some resilience as a result of efforts being made in the area.
In addition, there are ongoing efforts being made to support certain other species of birds, plants, geckos, skinks, and snakes.
History and Use
Like much of the other locations in this area, Rodrigues Island traces it's history to early Portuguese exploration when the island is thought to have been first spotted by them in the early 1500s.
It was first colonized by the French, who are said to have used slave labor to cultivate sugar plantations there.
Rodrigues reverted to the British in the early to mid-1500s, at the end of the Napoleonic Wars, with the French being evacuated and leaving their slaves behind. These slaves form the basis of a large part of the residents of the Island today.
Areas of Interest
A birder, or potential birder, traveling to Rodrigues Island might be interested in
The Gerald Durrell Endemic Wildlife Sanctuary, where efforts are being made at captive breeding and rearing of certain endemic species in an effort to bolster them.
Other interesting places in, or around, Rodrigues include Grande Montagne Nature Reserve and Anse Quitor Nature Reserve.
Access and Facilities
Air service to Rodrigues Island is through Sir Gaëtan Duval Airport (RRG) near Plaine Corail.
Port facilities are located in the Rodrigues Island capital of Port Mathurin.
Consult a travel professional for specific and up-to-date information for the island.
- Encyclopaedia Britannica - Online - https://www.britannica.com/place/Rodrigues-Island
- Lepage D. (2020) Rodriques Bird Checklist - Avibase - Bird Checklists of the World. Retrieved 18 August 2020
- African Bird Club - https://www.africanbirdclub.org/
- Mauritian Wildlife Foundation - https://www.mauritian-wildlife.org/
- Rodrigues Tourism Office - http://www.tourism-rodrigues.mu/