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Location Antarctica
Central coordinates 59o 45.57' West  62o 31.91' South
IBA criteria A4ii
Area 197 ha
Altitude 0 - 500m
Year of IBA assessment 2015

Site description Yankee Harbour lies on the southwestern coastline of Greenwich Island, east of Triangle Point and to the north of the McFarlane Strait, South Shetland Islands. Yankee Harbour is bordered by Glacier Bluff to the north and east, and enclosed by Spit Point to the west. A large terraced beach in the southeast of Yankee Harbour contains a melt pool beyond which steep scree slopes rise sharply inland to over 250 m. The IBA comprises the ice-free area from Spit Point to the foot of the ice-covered cliffs on Greenwich Island.

Mosses, lichens, algae and the flowering plants Deschampsia antarctica and Colobanthus quitensis are found at Yankee Harbour (ATS Visitor Site Guide, Yankee Harbour, accessed: 06/08/2010). Yankee Harbour was once a popular anchorage for sealers, with some artefacts still present. The nearest scientific station is Arturo Prat (Chile), which has capacity for ~15 people and operates year-round on the northern coast of Greenwich Island ~7 km from Yankee Harbour (COMNAP, Antarctic Facilities, accessed 23/08/2010).

Key Biodiversity Approximately 4918 pairs Gentoo Penguins (Pygoscelis papua) were breeding on the beach and slopes around the southeast shoreline of Yankee Harbour in 2003 (Lynch et al. 2008). Skuas (Catharacta spp.) also breed in the area although no census has been reported for this. The Greater Sheathbill (Chionis alba) and Wilson’s Storm-petrel (Oceanites oceanicus) are suspected breeders.

Non-bird biodiversity: Southern Elephant Seals (Mirounga leonina), Weddell seals (Leptonychotes weddellii) and Antarctic Fur Seals (Arctocephalus gazella) regularly haul out along the beaches of Yankee Harbour (ATS Visitor Site Guide, Yankee Harbour, accessed: 06/08/2010). There are no records of seals breeding in the area.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Gentoo Penguin Pygoscelis papua breeding  2012-2013  4,803 breeding pairs  good  A4ii  Near Threatened 

Protection status None

References Antarctic Treaty System Visitor Site Guide: Yankee Harbour. URL: Accessed 08/04/2010.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Yankee Harbour, Greenwich Island. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016

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