Bird Island, the world’s largest Cape gannet colony.
Bird Island, in Algoa Bay, South Africa, is home to the largest breeding colony of Cape gannets in the world. The Island now forms part of Addo Elephant National Park.
160,000 pairs of gannets, Roseate terns & African penguins
Bird Island is also home to an established population of African penguins which now enjoy conservation after previous years of persecution through egg-collecting and guano harvesting. Gannets, dependant on built-up mounds of guano for nesting sites, declined when guano collection was practiced but numbers have steadily increased since it ceased to reach about 160 000 pairs.
The rare and endangered roseate tern is a winter breeder on the island, along with huge winter roosts of Antarctic and common terns.
The neighbouring Seal Island houses South Africa's most easterly breeding colony of swift terns while Black Rocks is home to the most easterly Cape fur seal breeding colony, with a population of about 4 000 seals.
Albatrosses, shearwaters, petrels, skuas and storm petrels
The boat trip to the islands will provide participants with an opportunity to view several pelagic sea bird visitors which may include various albatrosses, shearwaters, petrels, skuas and storm petrels. These birds do not roost on main land and spend most of their lives at sea. Other marine life such as whales, dolphins and sharks may also be spotted.
St Croix Island
Nearby St. Croix Island is home to a large colony of African penguins, as well as roseate terns and mixed flocks of Antarctic, common and swift terns.
Bird and St. Croix Islands were proclaimed part of Addo Elephant National Park in 2005, after the national park's expansion to the coast in 2002.
Date, cost & how to book.
The islands are not usually open to visitors, but SAN Parks do occasionally organise visits.
For more information, please contact Judy Bouwer or Mileen De Vos of the Addo Honorary Rangers on South Africa 083 610 1090 or 041 966 1297 respectively. www.sanparks.org/parks/addo/