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Petit Bois Island

© Mississippi Department of Marine Resources
From: Columbia Gazetteer of North America, 2000; GEMS, 2003; NPS, 2003

Petit Bois Island is a large barrier island about 10 km long located in southeastern Mississippi. The island partly shelters Mississippi Sound to the north, Horn Island to the west and Dauphin Island to the East. It is part of the Gulf Island National Seashore and is owned and managed by the National Park Service. The area has been designated as a Wilderness Area (Gulf Islands Wilderness Area) and a Mississippi Coastal Preserve. Mississippi’s largest colony of laughing gulls can be found here. Another common resident on the island is the snowy plover. The island’s beaches offer opportunities for camping, sunbathing, hiking, surfing and excellent bird watching.

Petit Bois Island
Coordinates:   30.20° N   88.47° W

Nearest Largest City:   Gulfport, Mississippi, USA

Selected Characteristics:
Area of Coverage:   7 km2
Width:   0.7 km
Length:   10.0 km

Community Structure:
Petit Bois Island consists of sandy beaches and barrier island pond/lagoon complexes, with an ecological community that includes barrier island seagrass beds and high marshes, and mollusc reefs. Only a small area of slash pine forest remains near the center of the island. The island provides excellent feeding, resting and wintering habitat for numerous types of neotropical migrants and wintering waterfowl species, such as the brown pelican and cormorants. Least bitterns, mottled ducks, clapper rails, common moorhens, the least tern, the sandwich tern, the black skimmer, the Louisiana heron and the osprey are common breeders.

Columbia Gazetteer of North America. URL:

Gulf Ecological Management Site. URL:

National Park Service. URL:

Additional Information:
National Park Service - Gulf Islands
Columbia Gazetteer of North America - Petit Bois Island
Gulf Ecological Management Site – Petit Bois Island Coastal Preserve

Keywords:   Laughing gull, Snowy plover, Mollusc reef, Least bittern, Mottled duck, Clapper rail, Common moorhen, Least tern, Sandwich tern, Black skimmer, Brown pelican

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