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Location Falkland Islands (Malvinas)
Central coordinates 57o 51.00' West  51o 28.00' South
IBA criteria A1, A2
Area 4,060 ha
Altitude 0 - 38m
Year of IBA assessment 2006

Falklands Conservation



Site description Volunteer Point is an impressive lowland peninsula on the north-east of mainland East Falkland. Extending eastward from Volunteer Green, the northern coast includes a range of low cliffs, sandy and boulder beaches with extensive kelp beds offshore. The southern side of the peninsula borders Volunteer Lagoon and includes the extensive sand flats and dunes of Lagoon Bar. To the north and west of the 1.2 mile (2 km) long Volunteer Beach are low hills and green valleys with shallow seasonal ponds and ditches. North of the rocky headlands is Cow Bay Beach, also about 1.2 miles (2 km) and with a similar aspect to Volunteer Beach.

Key Biodiversity Volunteer Green supports the largest population of King Penguins in the Falklands and this is one of the most important tourist destinations within the archipelago. The entire area is dominated by colonies of Gentoo and King Penguins, with bare turf patches marking recently deserted breeding areas and older colony sites marked by vivid green patches of fertilised grasses. Beyond the penguin colonies on the green, Volunteer Lagoon supports a variety of waterfowl. Endemic sub-species recorded in the area are the Upland Goose, Dark-faced Ground-tyrant, Falkland Pipit, Falkland Thrush and the Long-tailed Meadowlark. Several vagrants, including the Hudsonian Godwit, Stilt Sandpiper, Whimbrel, Fork-tailed Flycatcher and Blackfaced Ibis have been recorded in recent years.

Non-bird biodiversity: Southern Sea Lions can often be seen hauled out or hunting penguins just offshore in shallow water along the sand beach. One pup was born during the summer of 2002/03 in the north-west of the area. A breeding colony of 150 South American Fur Seals was counted on Volunteer Rocks in February 2004.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Falkland Steamerduck Tachyeres brachypterus breeding  2005  75 breeding pairs  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Ruddy-headed Goose Chloephaga rubidiceps breeding  2005  100 breeding pairs  unknown  A2  Least Concern 
Gentoo Penguin Pygoscelis papua breeding  2001  1,368 breeding pairs  unknown  A1  Near Threatened 
Magellanic Penguin Spheniscus magellanicus breeding  2003  2,000 breeding pairs  unknown  A1  Near Threatened 
White-bridled Finch Melanodera melanodera breeding  2005  unknown  A2  Least Concern 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Volunteer and Cow Bay Sanctuary 4,340 protected area contained by site 4,060  

Habitats

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

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Volunteer Point, East Falkland. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 20/12/2014

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