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Location Falkland Islands (Malvinas)
Central coordinates 59o 11.00' West  52o 54.00' South
IBA criteria A1, A2, A4ii, A4iii
Area 172 ha
Altitude 0 - 70m
Year of IBA assessment 2006

Falklands Conservation

Site description Forming the southernmost land in the Falklands archipelago, Beauchêne Island is located approximately 33 miles (54 km) south of Porpoise Point, Lafonia. It has not been grazed or permanently settled, is free of introduced predators and its remote location has protected the island from disturbance in recent years. In the north, the island is covered in dense Tussac and the coastline is gently sloping, up to around 30 m high. There are boulder beaches on the western coast. In the south, the land rises to around 70 m with higher cliffs on the eastern coast and fissured steep slopes. The southern quarter of the island is almost bare of vegetation.

Key Biodiversity More than 30 species have been recorded, the majority being migratory seabirds that are present in very large numbers during the breeding season. The site is significant for the second largest populations in the world of Blackbrowed Albatrosses and Rockhopper Penguins, and apparently the second most dense breeding population of Striated Caracaras in the Falklands. Beauchêne Island is also important for Wilson’s Storm-petrels, Grey-backed Storm-petrels and Common Diving Petrels. It is the only confirmed breeding site for Fairy Prions in the Falkland Islands. The endemic Cobb’s Wren breeds and appears to be fairly numerous. There is a colony of around 2,500 pairs of Imperial Shags, and White-chinned Petrels probably breed, but this has not been confirmed. Southern Giant Petrels and Magellanic Penguins are present, but populations are too small to qualify. The total congregation of seabirds far exceeds 10,000 breeding pairs, making this site classifiable under the A4iii criterion.

Non-bird biodiversity: The island is also host to a few breeding Southern Sea Lions and is a major haul-out station for non-breeding animals, which can congregate in numbers of up to a hundred individuals on the northern part of the island. It is remarkable for the paucity of plant species. Two-thirds of its area is covered by Tussac, which here reaches exceptional and luxuriant dimensions. Three other vascular species have been recorded, including Wild Celery Apium australe, Antarctic Starwort Callitrache antarctica and Bittercress Cardamine glacialis.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Gentoo Penguin Pygoscelis papua breeding  2000-2005  750 breeding pairs  unknown  A1  Near Threatened 
Eudyptes chrysocome breeding  2000-2001  61,650 breeding pairs  unknown  A1, A4ii  Not Recognised 
Black-browed Albatross Thalassarche melanophris breeding  2000-2001  103,050 breeding pairs  unknown  A1, A4ii  Near Threatened 
Striated Caracara Phalcoboenus australis breeding  2005  65 breeding pairs  unknown  A1, A2  Near Threatened 
Blackish Cinclodes Cinclodes antarcticus breeding  2005  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Cobb's Wren Troglodytes cobbi breeding  2005  unknown  A1, A2  Vulnerable 
White-bridled Finch Melanodera melanodera breeding  2000  10 breeding pairs  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - seabirds breeding  2005  100,000-499,999 breeding pairs  unknown  A4iii   

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Beauchene Island Sanctuary 179 is identical to site 172  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Grassland   major
Coastline Sea cliffs and rocky shores  major

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
not utilised major

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

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