The Important Bird Areas concept reaches Antarctica - and its Southern Giant Petrels

Environmental Research & Assessment (ERA) is working with BirdLife International, with generous support from the Polar Regions Unit of the United Kingdom's Foreign & Commonwealth Office, to progress the network of Antarctic Important Bird Areas (IBAs). 

The BirdLife IBA Programme aims to identify, monitor and protect regions particularly valuable for threatened, endemic and congregatory bird species.  IBAs are only designated if they satisfy an internationally-agreed set of criteria, which are based on the numbers and species of birds present.

In 2002, BirdLife International and the then Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) Group of Experts on Birds established a draft inventory of Antarctic Important Bird Areas, which was revised in 2006.  ERA has now begun work with BirdLife International to prepare a finalised list of IBAs with boundaries and to prepare site descriptions.  At this stage, the analysis has been restricted to the Antarctic Peninsula region (including the South Orkney and South Shetland Islands).

So far, five Antarctic Peninsula localities have been deemed to meet the IBA criteria for Southern Giant Petrels Macronectes giganteus, the only ACAP-listed species that breeds within the region covered.  With a cut-off of 485 annually breeding pairs, these localities include Signy Island (1040 pairs), Harmony Point, Nelson Island (746 pairs) and Penguin Island, King George Island (634 pairs).

It is intended to expand the study to cover the remaining areas of the Antarctic Continent in due course, with collaborative support from ACAP and from SCAR.

 Click here for information on Southern Giant Petrels breeding on the Antarctic Continent, including the Peninsula region.

 With thanks to Lincoln Fishpool, BirdLife International for information. 

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 01 September 2010


The Agreement on the
Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels

ACAP is a multilateral agreement which seeks to conserve listed albatrosses, petrels and shearwaters by coordinating international activity to mitigate known threats to their populations.

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Hobart TAS 7000

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