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Location Antarctica
Central coordinates 61o 1.00' West  64o 10.00' South
IBA criteria A4ii
Area 6,540 ha
Altitude 0 - 750m
Year of IBA assessment 2011





Site description Cierva Point (64°09' S, 60°57' W) lies on the Danco Coast of the Antarctic Peninsula, 50 km east of Brabant Island, and forms the southern entrance to Cierva Cove. The IBA is defined by the same boundary of Antarctic Specially Protected Area No. 134, which includes Cierva Point, Sterneck Island, Midas Island, Moss Islands and surrounding offshore islands. The intervening marine area and intertidal zone is included in the IBA.

South-facing slopes at Cierva Point are largely glaciated and uninhabitable, whilst the north- and west-facing slopes comprise ice-free scree slopes, rock terraces and gullies. The terrain rises to a height of over 500 m on coastal cliffs. Coastal vegetation is extensive and includes lichens, mosses and grasses, including the two native flowering species Antarctic hairgrass Deschampsia antarctica and the pearlwort Colobanthus quitensis. Peat in moss-covered areas reaches ~80 cm in thickness and cover areas of more than 1 ha (Rau et al. 2000). Cyanobacteria and diatoms dominate mineral soils and terrestrial arthropods and non-marine microalgae are abundant in the region.

No long-term weather data for the site are available. However, Quintana (2001) recorded weather at Cierva Point during the summer of 1992 – 1993 and found conditions were moderate compared to more northerly Antarctic locations. Mean monthly temperatures over the summer ranged from 1.8°C to 2.2°C whilst relative humidity was 79 % on average. Mean wind speed was 7.9 kmh-1.

Primavera Station (Argentina) is situated ~500 m from the IBA boundary on the northern tip of Cierva Point and is accompanied by. The permanent summer only station has capacity for ~18 people and is serviced by ship and a helicopter landing site (COMNAP, Antarctic Facilities, accessed 09/08/2010).

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
South Polar Skua Catharacta maccormicki breeding  1996  93-475 breeding pairs  A4ii  Least Concern 

Other biodiversity None reported, although it is anticipated that various species of marine mammal such as seals and whales are likely to be found in the vicinity.

Protection status ASPA No. 134

References ASPA No. 134 Cierva Point and offshore islands, Danco Coast: Management Plan (2006)

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Cierva Point and offshore islands. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 19/09/2014

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