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Location Falkland Islands (Malvinas)
Central coordinates 58o 50.00' West  52o 11.00' South
IBA criteria A1, A2, A4i
Area 2,146 ha
Altitude 0 - 27m
Year of IBA assessment 2006

Falklands Conservation



Site description Bleaker Island and its outlying islands, off the southeastern coast of East Falkland, are low lying and rarely exceed 15 m except at Semaphore Hill north-east of the settlement. Coasts vary from low cliffs with sloping bedrock beaches to wide sandy bays and sheltered coves. Inland, Bleaker Island is mostly open heathland, with several ponds, some of which provide good habitats for waterfowl. There are extensive coastal beds of giant kelp. Ghost Island lies only 300 m from Bleaker Island, across a channel thick with kelp and it is not known if rats are present. It is likely that this island, with two-thirds of its area covered with tall Tussac, has not been grazed. Sandy Bay Island has not been stocked but the rodent status is unclear. The island lies 1 mile (1.5 km) off the Bleaker coast and is relatively high, at nearly 20 m in the centre, with a good coverage of Tussac grass. The greater distance from Bleaker Island makes infestation by rats across the channel unlikely, though possible. Halt Island lies at the mouth of Bleaker Island harbour, only 1.3 miles (2 km) from the settlement, making this an obvious choice for stocking and grazing in the past. Again, the rodent status is not known. Few details exist for the smaller Tussac-covered First, Second and Third Islands in the settlement bay, except that First Island is linked to Bleaker and it is possible to cross on foot at low tides. In November 2003 the resident manager reported that all three islands had rats.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Falkland Steamerduck Tachyeres brachypterus breeding  2005  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Ruddy-headed Goose Chloephaga rubidiceps breeding  2003  25 breeding pairs  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Gentoo Penguin Pygoscelis papua breeding  2005  1,250 breeding pairs  unknown  A1  Near Threatened 
Southern Rockhopper Penguin Eudyptes chrysocome breeding  2005  720 breeding pairs  unknown  A1  Vulnerable 
Magellanic Penguin Spheniscus magellanicus unknown  2005  unknown  A1  Near Threatened 
Southern Giant Petrel Macronectes giganteus breeding  2005  170 breeding pairs  unknown  A1  Least Concern 
Phalacrocorax atriceps breeding  2005  4,150 breeding pairs  unknown  A4i  Not Recognised 
Blackish Cinclodes Cinclodes antarcticus breeding  2005  < 50 breeding pairs  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
White-bridled Finch Melanodera melanodera unknown  2005  unknown  A2  Least Concern 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Bleaker Island Sanctuary 870 is identical to site 870  

Habitats

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

Other biodiversity The BSES recorded 79 species of flowering plants from 20 1-km squares; 53 were native, 26 were introduced species and four endemic: Lady’s Slipper Calceolari fothergillii, Clubmoss Cudweed Chevreulia lycopodioides, Vanilla Daisy Leucheria suaveolens and Coastal Nassauvia Nassauvia gaudichaudii. Interesting species of note included the Yellow Orchid Gavilea littoralis, Whitlowgrass Draba funiculosa, Californian Club-rush Schoenoplectus californicus and Gillie’s Dandelion Taraxacum gilliesii.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Bleaker Island Group. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 23/09/2014

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