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Location Russia (Asian), Chukotka
Central coordinates 174o 27.65' West  64o 17.83' North
IBA criteria A4i, A4ii, A4iii
Area 30,740 ha
Altitude 0 - 200m
Year of IBA assessment 2004

Site description This recurring nearshore polynya lies ai the 66-98 foot (20-30 m) isobath south of the Chukotsky Peninsula between Meechkin Spit and Cape Chukotsky. It extends 37-43 miles (59-69 km) from shore and in warmer winters may connect with the St Lawrence island polynya to the southeast. The polynya is formed by a combination of prevailing offshore north-winds and strong coastal currents.

Key Biodiversity This extensive polynya constitutes one of the most northern wintering habitats for eiders (including the threatened Steller’s eider) and long-tailed ducks, along with lesser numbers of pelagic cormorants, glaucous gulls, ivory gulls, Ross’s gulls, thick-billed murres, black guillemots and Kittlitz’s murrelets. Its open waters in a vast sea of ice are believed primarily responsible for the existence of the most northerly northern fulmar colonies in the Pacific. These waters are also important during spring migration for snow geese, emperor geese, brant, eiders and long-tailed ducks, and provide summer feeding grounds for the 1.5 million seabirds of 13 species that nest in colonies along the adjacent coast.

Other notable wildlife: Several hundred Pacific walrus are believed to breed in and around the polynya. Bowhead and gray whales feed there along with pods of beluga whales and seals. Polar bears are attracted to its ice edges in search of seals.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Common Eider Somateria mollissima breeding  2004  present  A4i  Near Threatened 
Spectacled Eider Somateria fischeri breeding  2004  present  A4i  Least Concern 
Pelagic Cormorant Phalacrocorax pelagicus unknown  2004  present  A4i  Least Concern 
Ross's Gull Rhodostethia rosea winter  2004  present  A4i  Least Concern 
Crested Auklet Aethia cristatella unknown  2004  present  A4ii  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - seabirds breeding  2004  10,000 breeding pairs  unknown  A4iii   


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Grassland Alpine and subalpine grassland  -
Coastline Sea cliffs and rocky shores  -

Acknowledgements The identification of IBAs and information collected between 1980 and 2009 provided by the IBA network of the Russian Bird Conservation Union (RBCU).

References Audubon Alaska / BirdLife Asia / RBCU (2004) Important Bird Areas of the Bering Sea ecoregion. Anchorage, USA: Audubon Alaska. 46 pp.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Sireniki coast. Downloaded from on 22/10/2016

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