Paulet Island

Country/territory: Antarctica

IBA Criteria met: A4i, A4ii, A4iii (2015)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 259 ha

Site description

Paulet Island is situated ~5 km southeast of Dundee Island, east of northern Trinity Peninsula, in the Erebus and Terror Gulf. The extinct and ice free volcanic cone is ~1.7 km in diameter and rises to ~350 m in height (ATS Visitor Site Guide: Paulet Island, accessed 06/08/2010). The IBA qualifies on the basis of the Adélie Penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae) and Imperial Shag (Phalacrocorax [atriceps] bransfieldensis) colonies present and the large concentration of seabirds, and comprises the whole island.

Scree slopes lie on the southern and western slopes of the island. A flat terrace to the north and northeast, to which visitor access is restricted, is frequently submerged at high tide. Historic Site and Monument No. 41 is located on Paulet Island, and comprises a stone hut, rock cairn and grave originating from the Swedish South Polar Expedition of 1901-04.

The nearest scientific station is Petrel (ARG), a summer-only facility for up to ~55 people (COMNAP, Antarctic Facilities, accessed 06/08/2010) and located on Dundee Island ~25 km to the northwest.

Key biodiversity

Approximately 100 000 breeding pairs of Adélie Penguin were recorded breeding around meltwater lakes and on elevated ridges on the northeast of Paulet Island in 1999 (Naveen & Lynch 2011). Approximately 465 breeding pairs of Imperial Shag were recorded breeding amongst the Adélie Penguins in 2007 (Lynch et al. 2008). More recently, 548 breeding pairs of Imperial Shag were reported by the Antarctic Site Inventory in January 2012 (R. Naveen and H. Lynch pers. comm. 2014). Previous records indicate most shags nest on a basaltic stack and nearby cliff on the northern shoreline (Naveen & Lynch 2011). Croxall et al. (1995) estimated 300 pairs of Snow Petrel ( Pagodroma nivea ) were breeding on Paulet Island in 1992. The Kelp Gull ( Larus dominicanus ) is also a confirmed breeder whilst the Snowy Sheathbill ( Chionis albus ) and Wilson's Storm-petrel ( Oceanites oceanicus ) are frequently observed and may breed in the area (ATS Visitor Site Guidelines: Paulet Island). Cape Petrel ( Daption capense ) is also thought to breed on the island (Hodum et al . 2004)

Non-bird biodiversity: Weddell Seal (Leptonychotes weddellii) and Antarctic Fur Seal (Arctocephalus gazella) regularly haul out at Paulet Island, whilst Leopard Seal (Hydrurga leptonyx) are frequently observed offshore (ATS Visitor Site Guidelines: Paulet Island).

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Paulet Island. Downloaded from on 09/08/2022.