Franklin Island southwest

Site description (2015 baseline):

Site location and context

Franklin Island is located in the southern Ross Sea ~150 km east of the Victoria Land coast and ~140 km north of Ross Island. The 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).

The IBA qualifies on the basis of the Adélie Penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae) and South Polar Skua (Catharacta maccormicki) colonies that breed on a relatively flat point on the southwestern coast of Franklin Island.

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

Key biodiversity

Approximately 60 540 breeding pairs of Adélie Penguin were present each season from 1981 – 2012 (Lyver et al. 2014).

South Polar Skuas breed at the southern end of Franklin Island, with ~184 breeding pairs observed in 1982 (Ainley et al. 1986). Their exact breeding location is not known, however it has been assumed that breeding is mostly in close proximity of the Adélie Penguin colony.

Non-bird biodiversity: None known.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity

See IBA Bernacchi Head, Franklin Island for information on tourist visits to Franklin Island.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2024) Important Bird Area factsheet: Franklin Island southwest. Downloaded from on 27/02/2024.