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Location Falkland Islands (Malvinas)
Central coordinates 60o 55.00' West  52o 10.00' South
IBA criteria A1, A2, A4ii
Area 120 ha
Altitude 0 - 107m
Year of IBA assessment 2006

Falklands Conservation

Site description Bird Island is located 3 miles (4.5 km) off the south-western coast of West Falkland and is roughly triangular in shape. The western half of the southern coast has sheer cliffs reaching at least 70 m and the plateau above slopes gently to the north and west. In the centre of the island there is a large seasonal pool, to the west of a small inlet. The eastern promontory has two domed peaks reaching to at least 110 m with sheer southern cliffs of 30 m and very steep slopes in the north. Access by boat is difficult, except at the small north-east-facing inlet between the northern and eastern promontories, and the terrain is difficult to cross, with dense growth of Tussac above thick, soft peat and Tussac overhanging deep gulches.

Key Biodiversity The total number of species recorded on Bird Island in November 1998 was 27, of which 25 bred or were probably breeding. Macaroni Penguins, Ruddy-headed Geese, Canary-winged/Black-throated Finches and Falkland Steamer Ducks are present but their status is uncertain or populations are too small to qualify. The congregation of seabirds on this island exceeds 10,000 breeding pairs, making the site classifiable under the A4iii criterion. Bird Island is one of the most important breeding sites for the Striated Caracara and it is considered that the population here is at least as dense as on any offshore island around the Falklands, possibly due to the very large population of Thin-billed Prions, an important prey species. Deep Tussac cover over most of Bird Island makes it comparable to Beauchêne Island for the density of burrowing petrels. Other species that should be investigated include the Sooty Shearwater, Grey-backed Storm-petrel, which is thought to be numerous, Rock Shag, Imperial Shag and the Dolphin Gull. Endemic races present include the Dark-faced Ground-tyrant, Falkland Thrush, Long-tailed Meadowlark and the Common Diving-petrel.

Non-bird biodiversity: There are two colonies of South American Fur Seals present on Bird Island, one of about 100 individuals on the northern coast, the second on the south-western coast, comprising approximately 10,000 individuals: the largest South American Fur Seal colony within the Falklands archipelago. The island also provides a haul-out for Southern Sea Lions, although they are not known to breed there. No endemic or introduced species were recorded in 1998; only 12 native flowering plants were found with Tussac predominant.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Eudyptes chrysocome breeding  2000-2001  7,900 breeding pairs  unknown  A1  Not Recognised 
Black-browed Albatross Thalassarche melanophris breeding  2000-2001  10,200 breeding pairs  unknown  A1, A4ii  Near Threatened 
Sooty Shearwater Ardenna grisea breeding  2000  20 breeding pairs  unknown  A1  Near Threatened 
Striated Caracara Phalcoboenus australis breeding  1998  50 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 
A4iii Species group - seabirds breeding  2005  20,000-49,999 breeding pairs  unknown  A4ii   

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Bird Island Nature Reserve 120 is identical to site 120  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Coastline   major

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Bird Island. Downloaded from on 21/10/2016

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