Petit Bois Island Preserve
This large barrier island is 6 miles long and is made up of subtidal estuarine habitat near shore, barrier island pond/lagoon complex with only a small area of slash pine forest remaining near the center of the island, sea grass beds and mollusk reefs off shore. The primary boundary of this 1,673-acre island preserve is one mile North and South of the island and is bounded on the East and West by the Alabama state line the the Gulfport Mississippi shipping channel. Both Snowy and Wilson's Plovers can be found in spring and summer on the sand flats at the east end of the island. Snowy Plovers can be found there all year. On the entire island, the Snowy Plover is mostly a resident of the white sands of the Gulf beaches, whereas the Wilson’s Plover is primarily a summer resident of the darker, muddier beaches of the sound side of the island. Quite often, Reddish Egrets can be found at beach ponds near the east tip. Least Terns occasionally nest near the west end of Petit Bois, and Mississippi's largest colony of Laughing Gulls (2000 pairs) was on Petit Bois Island. Salt marshes and freshwater ponds provide habitats for a great diversity of aquatic birds. Least Bitterns, Mottled Ducks, Clapper Rails, and Common Moorhens are common breeders. This unique location provides excellent feeding, resting, and wintering habitat for numerous types of migratory bird species, such as the Brown Pelican and cormorants. The area is also a rookery site for the Least Tern, the Sandwich Tern, the Black Skimmer, the Louisiana Heron, and the Osprey. The island is part of the Gulf Island National Seashore, owned and managed by the National Park Service.
Rare/Endangered Species:
  • Pelecanus occidentalis Brown Pelican
  • Panion haliaetus Osprey
  • Charadrius alexandrinus Snowy Plover
  • Sterna nilotica Gull-Billed Tern
  • S. maxima Royal Tern
  • S. antillerum Least Tern
  • Tyrannus dominicensis Gray Kingbird
  • Myotis lucifugus Little Brown Bat
  • Alligator mississippiensis American Alligator
  • Paronychia erecta Beach Sand-Squares
  • Caretta caretta Loggerhead Sea Turtle
Breeding/Nursery Area:
  • Least Tern Rookery
  • Sandwich Tern-Black Skimmer Rookery
  • Osprey Rookery
  • Atlantic Loggerhead Turtle Nesting
(Sources of Information: Boyd, J. L., et. al., 1995. An inventory of pond fauna of the Gulf Islands National Seashore with parasitological and trophic observations. Unpublished Report to the National Park Service.)

Contact Petit Bois Island Preserve

MS Department of Marine Resources
1141 Bayview Avenue
Biloxi, Mississippi  39530
Phone: (228) 374-5000
Toll Free: (800) 374-3449
Fax: (228) 374-5005


Service Area

Statewide service provider in:
  • Mississippi

To request additions or corrections to this entry email the Administrator