|Central coordinates||59o 55.00' West 62o 35.00' South|
|Altitude||0 - 250m|
|Year of IBA assessment||2011|
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).
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|South Polar Skua Catharacta maccormicki||breeding||1995||103 breeding pairs||-||A4ii||Least Concern|
Protection status None
References Antarctic Treaty System Visitor Site Guide: Half Moon Island. URL: http://www.ats.aq/siteguidelines/documents/Half_moon_e.pdf. Accessed: 06/08/2010.
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2015) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Half Moon Island. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 31/08/2015
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