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Location Falkland Islands (Malvinas)
Central coordinates 59o 38.00' West  51o 18.00' South
IBA criteria A1, A2, A4iii
Area 10,959 ha
Altitude 0 - 277m
Year of IBA assessment 2006

Falklands Conservation



Site description Pebble Island is the third largest offshore island in the archipelago, stretching about 18.5 miles (30 km) from east to west, but it is only about 4.3 miles (7 km) at its widest point. There are three peaks west of the settlement: First Mountain reaches 277 m, Middle Mountain 214 m and the western Marble Mountain 237 m. The land to the east is generally low lying with many large lakes and ponds, which provide important waterfowl and wader habitat. The coastline is deeply indented and Elephant Bay, north-east of the settlement, has a spectacular 3 mile-long (5 km) white sand beach. Pebble Island is one of the most visited tourist sites in the Falklands, with a lodge and self-catering cottage accommodation in the centrally located settlement and a cottage near Marble Mountain on the far western point. The largest of the associated islets, Pebble Islet is low lying, reaching no more than 20 m at the western point. The northern coast has shelf rock and there are extensive kelp beds off the northern and western coasts, extending to Government Islet. There are a few large ponds and the island has been heavily grazed by sheep and horses. The vegetation is open and sparse, with only about 14 ha of Tussac cover at the eastern point. Government Islet is almost entirely covered by dense Tussac but was grazed by up to 10 bullocks in the early 1960s. There are cliffs up to 15 m on the western and north-eastern coasts, and large sheltered bays towards the east. White Island is a low rocky stack with thick Tussac on the southern slopes and in the centre, but less vegetation towards the east and west. It has probably not been grazed. Keppel Islet is a low, domed island with a boulder beach on the north-east coast and low cliffs to the south-east. It is densely covered in Tussac, which appears to be in good condition, although it was used for fattening bullocks, probably between 1960 and 1970.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Falkland Steamerduck Tachyeres brachypterus breeding  1995  103 breeding pairs  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Ruddy-headed Goose Chloephaga rubidiceps breeding  1995  175 breeding pairs  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Macaroni Penguin Eudyptes chrysolophus breeding  2005  10 breeding pairs  unknown  A1  Vulnerable 
Gentoo Penguin Pygoscelis papua breeding  2000-2001  1,669 breeding pairs  unknown  A1  Near Threatened 
Southern Rockhopper Penguin Eudyptes chrysocome breeding  2000-2001  6,775 breeding pairs  unknown  A1  Vulnerable 
Magellanic Penguin Spheniscus magellanicus breeding  1995  1,400 breeding pairs  unknown  A1  Near Threatened 
Southern Giant Petrel Macronectes giganteus breeding  2000-2001  20 breeding pairs  unknown  A1  Least Concern 
Sooty Shearwater Ardenna grisea breeding  2005  100 breeding pairs  unknown  A1  Near Threatened 
Striated Caracara Phalcoboenus australis breeding  2005  2 breeding pairs  poor  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  1995-2001  17 breeding pairs  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - seabirds breeding  2005  10,000-19,999 breeding pairs  unknown  A4iii   

Habitats

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

Other biodiversity About 40 immature Southern Elephant Seals and several Southern Sea Lions used the south-western beach of Government Islet in December 2001. White Island is also a traditional site for Southern Sea Lions. The flowering plants of Pebble Island have been well surveyed (133 species recorded up to 2001). The following eight endemics have been recorded: Clubmoss Cudweed Chevreulia lycopodioides, Antarctic Cudweed Gamochaeta antarctica, Vanilla Daisy Leucheria suaveolens, Hairy Daisy Erigeron incertus, Coastal Nassauvia Nassauvia gaudichaudii, Woolly Falkland Ragwort Senecio littoralis, Smooth Falkland Ragwort Senecio vaginatus and Lady’s Slipper Calceolaria fothergillii. Other species of note include Yellow Lady’s Slipper Calceolaria biflora and the ‘local and scarce’ Shoreweed Littoralis australis.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Pebble Island Group. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 27/08/2014

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