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Location Svalbard and Jan Mayen Islands (to Norway), Svalbard
Central coordinates 19o 3.00' East  74o 27.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A3, A4i, A4ii, A4iii, B1i, B1ii, B2, B3
Area 298,850 ha
Altitude 0 - 535m
Year of IBA assessment 2014

Site description An oceanic island between Spitsbergen and Norway. There are steep sea cliffs at the southern end, while the northern part is flat with numerous lakes and ponds. There is rich vegetation close to the seabird colonies, but tundra is far more sparse in the central and northern parts. The only permanent human settlement on the island is a meteorological station, which does not pose any threat to the birdlife.

Key Biodiversity There is a very large seabird colony at the southern end of the island with many tens of thousands of pairs, dominated by Rissa tridactyla, Uria aalge and Uria lomvia. Other notable breeding birds include at least five out of the 32 species that are restricted in Europe (when breeding) to the Arctic/tundra biome. The island is an important staging area for an unknown but significant proportion of the Svalbard populations of Anser brachyrhynchus (c.30,000 birds in total) and Branta leucopsis (c.13,000 birds in total).

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Pink-footed Goose Anser brachyrhynchus breeding  2005-2014  50-249 breeding pairs  medium  A3, B1i, B3  Least Concern 
Barnacle Goose Branta leucopsis breeding  2010  50-249 breeding pairs  medium  A3, B1i, B3  Least Concern 
Brent Goose Branta bernicla breeding  2010  1 breeding pairs  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Common Eider Somateria mollissima breeding  2005-2014  abundant  A3  Near Threatened 
Long-tailed Duck Clangula hyemalis breeding  2014  present  A1, A3  Vulnerable 
Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres breeding  2009  < 50 breeding pairs  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Purple Sandpiper Calidris maritima breeding  2009  frequent  A3  Least Concern 
Dunlin Calidris alpina breeding  2009  10-30 breeding pairs  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Red-necked Phalarope Phalaropus lobatus breeding  2009  5-10 breeding pairs  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Red Phalarope Phalaropus fulicarius breeding  2009  30-50 breeding pairs  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Glaucous Gull Larus hyperboreus breeding  2006  650 breeding pairs  good  A3  Least Concern 
Black-legged Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla breeding  2006  130,000 breeding pairs  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Great Skua Catharacta skua breeding  2006  300-350 breeding pairs  good  A4ii, B1ii, B3  Least Concern 
Arctic Jaeger Stercorarius parasiticus breeding  2005-2014  40-100 breeding pairs  medium  A3  Least Concern 
Little Auk Alle alle breeding  1985  10,000-100,000 breeding pairs  medium  A4ii, B1ii  Least Concern 
Common Murre Uria aalge breeding  2006  125,000 mature individuals  good  A4ii, B1ii  Least Concern 
Thick-billed Murre Uria lomvia breeding  2006  185,000 mature individuals  good  A4ii, B1ii, B2  Least Concern 
Black Guillemot Cepphus grylle breeding  2006  500 individuals  good  B1ii  Least Concern 
Snow Bunting Plectrophenax nivalis breeding  2005-2014  unknown breeding pairs  poor  A3  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - seabirds breeding  2006  325,000-415,000 breeding pairs  good  A4iii   


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Grassland Tundra  35%
Wetlands (inland) Standing freshwater  20%
Sea Sea inlets and coastal features  5%
Coastline   40%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
not utilised 100%

Protection status National None International None

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Bjørnøya (Bear Island). Downloaded from on 24/10/2016

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