Bernacchi Head, Franklin Island

Country/territory: Antarctica

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

Area: 419 ha

Protection status:

Site description

Bernacchi Head lies at the south of Franklin Island, located in the southern Ross Sea ~150 km east of the Victoria Land coast and ~140 km north of Ross Island. Franklin Island is of volcanic origin and mostly covered by permanent ice, and is ~12 km long and up to ~5 km wide. Cliffs rise up to 200 m high along the northern, eastern and southwestern coasts (Brodie 1959).

A colony of Emperor Penguins (Aptenodytes forsteri) breeds on sea ice that forms close off the eastern coast of Bernacchi Head. The IBA qualifies on the basis of the Emperor Penguin colony present and is entirely marine.

The nearest permanent scientific stations are McMurdo (USA) and Scott Base (NZL), situated ~200 km to the southwest on Hut Point Peninsula, Ross Island.

Key biodiversity

The population of Emperor Penguins ranged from ~1500 – ~5000 breeding pairs in the period 1983 – 2005 (Barber-Meyer et al. 2007, 2008). Analysis of a satellite image acquired 13 Oct 2009 (Fretwell et al. 2012) indicated that approximately 7561 Emperor Penguins were present at the colony.

Non-bird biodiversity: None known.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Bernacchi Head, Franklin Island. Downloaded from on 03/04/2020.