Important Bird Areas in Antarctica

ERA are working with BirdLife International and the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office to produce a series of site accounts for Important Bird Areas (IBAs) across Antarctica.

Brown skua (<i>Catharacta antarctica</i>, subsp. <i>lonnbergi</i>). Photo: © Colin Harris.
Brown skua (Catharacta antarctica, subsp. lonnbergi). Photo: © Colin Harris.
IBAs are designed to conserve globally threatened or restricted-range bird species, and protect areas which contain large numbers of migratory or congregatory birds. At present there are no designated Important Bird Areas in Antarctica, despite many localities where breeding colonies of penguin, skua, petrel and fulmar qualify an area for IBA status. In 2002, Birdlife International and the Scientific Committee for Antarctic Research (SCAR) compiled an inventory of IBAs across Antarctica, which forms the basis of the current list of IBA sites.

The first goal of this project is to document sites qualifying for IBA status across the Antarctic Peninsula region, where data on wildlife are more easily accessible than in many other parts of Antarctica. A description of the size and distribution of bird species, vegetation, climate, topography, infrastructure and current status of environmental protection will be given for each IBA. Subsequently, the aim is to compile site accounts for IBAs across Antarctica until a complete network of Antarctic IBAs is established.

IBA sites are being identified across each major geographic region of the world and more information on current IBA networks can be found at:

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Last Update: 28 March 2012