Scorseby Head, Smyley Island

Year of compilation: 2015

Site description

Scorseby Head lies on the northern coast of Smyley Island, between Stange Sound and Carroll Inlet, Trathan Coast, Bellingshausen Sea. The Stange Ice Shelf connects the island in the east with the English Coast, Palmer Land. An Emperor Penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri) colony breeds on fast ice that forms on the northern coast of Smyley Island several km east of Scorseby Head.

The IBA qualifies on the basis of the Emperor Penguin colony present and is entirely marine.

There are no research stations nearby. The closest permanent stations are Rothera (GBR) and San Martín (ARG), located approximately 650 km to the northwest in Marguerite Bay, Antarctic Peninsula.

Key biodiversity

Analysis of a satellite image acquired 12 Nov 2009 (Fretwell et al. 2012) indicated that approximately 6061 Emperor Penguins were present at the colony. No other birds are known to breed in the area.

Non-bird biodiversity: Southern Elephant Seals (Mirounga leonina) fitted with satellite transmitters at King George Island have been observed travelling towards the Bellingshausen Sea and remaining on sea ice near Smyley Island (Bornemann et al. 2000).

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity

None known.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Scorseby Head, Smyley Island. Downloaded from on 04/08/2021.