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Location Antarctica
Central coordinates 58o 55.90' West  62o 12.72' South
IBA criteria A4ii
Area 122 ha
Altitude 0 - 65m
Year of IBA assessment 2015

Site description Ardley Island is located in Maxwell Bay, ~500 m from Fildes Peninsula, King George Island. The island is ice-free, about 2 km by 1 km in size, and is connected to Fildes Peninsula by an isthmus that becomes submerged at high water (ASPA No. 150 Management Plan, 2009). Ardley Island is designated Antarctic Specially Protected Area No. 150 for the diverse range of seabirds that breed within the area. The IBA is defined by the boundary of ASPA No. 150, which includes all of Ardley Island.

Ardley Island is largely snow-free in summer and has relatlively low relief rising to ~65 m (ASPA No. 150 Management Plan, 2009). The island supports some of the best developed plant communities in the South Shetland Islands with ~250 lichen species and numerous mosses and liverworts. Antarctic hairgrass Deschampsia antarctica is well-established and increasingly abundant on the island, possibly spreading as a result of increased temperatures and lengthening growing seasons in the area (ASPA No. 150 Management Plan, 2009).

Ripamonti Station (Chile) is a small summer-only research facility with capacity for ~4 personnel located on the northern coast of the island (COMNAP, Antarctic Facilities, accessed 24/08/2010).

Six major scientific stations with a combined capacity of several hundreds of personnel are located within Maxwell Bay and nearby to the IBA: Great Wall (China, 850 m), Eduardo Frei and Teniente Marsh (Chile, 1 km), Bellingshausen (Russia, 1.5 km), Artigas (Uruguay, 2.9 km), King Sejong (South Korea, 6.5 km) and Jubany (Argentina, 13 km).

Key Biodiversity Approximately 4635 pairs of Gentoo Penguins (Pygoscelis papua) were breeding on Ardley Island in 2005-06 (ASPA No. 150 Management Plan, 2009). Adélie Penguins (Pygoscelis adeliae) and Chinstrap Penguins (P. antarctica) also breed at the site, with 334 pairs and 9 pairs respectively in the 2005-06 season. A small number of Southern Giant Petrel (Macronectes giganteusi) breed on Ardley Island, estimated at 5 breeding pairs in 1998 (Patterson et al. 2008). Records indicate the number of Southern Giant Petrels has declined signficantly since 1979.

Other confirmed breeding species include the Brown Skua (Catharacta lonnbergi), South Polar Skua (Catharacta maccormicki), Wilson’s Storm-petrel (Oceanites oceanicus), Black-bellied Storm-petrel (Fregetta tropica), Cape Petrel (Daption capense) and Antarctic Tern (Sterna vittata).

Non-bird biodiversity: Weddell Seals (Leptonychotes weddellii) frequent Ardley Island and are known to breed on beaches and sea ice in Maxwell Bay between September and November (ASPA No. 150 Management Plan, 2009). Crabeater Seals (Lobodon carcinophagus), Antarctic Fur Seals (Arctocephalus gazella) and Leopard Seals (Hydrurga leptonyx) are regularly observed in the Ardley Island area and occasionally haul out on the island.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Gentoo Penguin Pygoscelis papua breeding  2005-2006  4,635 breeding pairs  good  A4ii  Near Threatened 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Ardley Island Antarctic Special Protection Area 244 protected area contains site 122  

Protection status ASPA No.150

References ASPA No. 150 Ardley Island, King George Island: Management Plan (2009)

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Ardley Island, King George Island. Downloaded from on 24/10/2016

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife