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Location Antarctica
Central coordinates 59o 55.09' West  62o 35.41' South
IBA criteria A4ii
Area 152 ha
Altitude 0 - 250m
Year of IBA assessment 2015

Site description Half Moon Island is a crescent-shaped rocky island of igneous origin lying in Moon Bay, 2 km north of Livingston Island on the south side of McFarlane Strait in the South Shetland Islands. Raised cobble beaches line the south and central shorelines, while steep scree slopes lead to a low summit at the north of the island. East-facing slopes are typically snow-covered. The IBA comprises the entire island.

Several moss and lichen species and the native Antarctic Hairgrass Deschampsia antarctica are found on Half Moon Island (ATS Visitor Site Guide, Half Moon Island, accessed 06/08/2010).

Cámara Station (Argentina), a summer-only station with capacity for ~36 people, is located at the foot of a small summit in the southern part of Half Moon Island (COMNAP, Antarctic Facilities, accessed 24/08/2010).

Key Biodiversity Approximately 2000 pairs of Chinstrap Penguins (Pygoscelis antarctica) are breeding on Half Moon Island (H. Lynch, pers. comm., 2010). South Polar Skua (Catharacta maccormicki) breed at several locations on the island, mostly in the north, with 103 pairs recorded in the 1995-96 (Garcia Esponda et al. 2000). Antarctic terns (Sterna vittata) nest in rocky outcrops and 125 breeding pairs were recorded in 1995-96 season, along with 39 pairs of Kelp Gull (Larus dominicanus) (Garcia Esponda et al. 2000). Wilson’s Storm-petrel (Oceanites oceanicus) also breed at the site, with 377 pairs in 1995-96. Other birds breeding in low numbers include the Imperial Shag (Phalacrocorax atriceps), Greater Sheathbill (Chionis alba), Cape Petrel (Daption capense), Brown Skua (Catharacta lonnbergi) and Black-bellied Storm-petrel (Fregetta tropica) (Garcia Esponda et al. 2000).

Non-bird biodiversity: Weddell Seals (Leptonychotes weddellii) and Antarctic Fur Seals (Arctocephalus gazella) regularly haul out on Half Moon Island beaches (ATS Visitor Site Guide, Half Moon Island, accessed 06/08/2010). Southern Elephant Seals (Mirounga leonina) have also been observed at the site (Naveen 2003).

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
South Polar Skua Catharacta maccormicki breeding  1995-1996  103 breeding pairs  A4ii  Least Concern 

Protection status None

References Antarctic Treaty System Visitor Site Guide: Half Moon Island. URL: Accessed: 06/08/2010.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Half Moon Island. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016

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