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Location Sweden, Gotland
Central coordinates 18o 0.63' East  57o 17.82' North
IBA criteria A4iii, B1ii, B3, C3, C4
Area 8,800 ha
Altitude 0 - 67m
Year of IBA assessment 2000

Sveriges Ornitologiska Förening

Site description Two islands with cliffs situated off south-west Gotland. The tops of the islands are flat and support Juniperus and a few copses. Sheep-grazing is the only land-use.

Key Biodiversity The IBA supports large numbers of breeding seabirds, including c.75% of the Baltic breeding population of Uria aalge. Numbers of Alca torda have increased by 50% over the last decade.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Common Murre Uria aalge breeding  1980  8,000-9,000 breeding pairs  B1ii, C3  Least Concern 
Razorbill Alca torda breeding  1997  4,000 breeding pairs  B1ii, B3, C3  Near Threatened 
A4iii Species group - seabirds breeding  10,000-19,999 breeding pairs  unknown  A4iii, C4   

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Gotlandskusten Nature Conservation Area 10,802 protected area overlaps with site 110  
Lilla Karlsö Nature Reserve 937 protected area contained by site 926  
Stora Karlsö Nature Reserve 1,176 protected area contained by site 1,180  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Shrubland Scrub  minor
Coastline Sea cliffs and rocky shores  minor
Sea Open Sea; Sea inlets and coastal features  95%
Caves and subterranean habitats (non-aquatic) Caves  -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
tourism/recreation -

Protection status National Partial International PartialIBA overlaps with Nature Reserve (Lille Karlsö, 926 ha). IBA overlaps with Nature Reserve (Stora Karlsö, 1,426 ha). IBA overlaps with Special Protection Area (2,100 ha).

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

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