Baily Head, Deception Island

Country/territory: Antarctica

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

Area: 70 ha

Site description

Baily Head is a prominent rock headland forming the eastern extremity of Deception Island. A black-sand beach forms the eastern shoreline of Deception Island, running nearly 7 km northward from Baily Head. The IBA qualifies on the basis of the Chinstrap Penguin (Pygoscelis antarctica) colony present and comprises the ice free ground at Baily Head, including the headland and approximately 800 m of beach to either side.

A substantial melt-stream cuts through the ice cliffs at Baily Head and drains to form a semi-circular ‘amphitheatre' valley. The valley slopes are often snow-covered until early summer each year, when it is replaced by the terrestrial green alga Prasiola crispa (Naveen & Lynch 2011).

More information on Deception Island and nearby stations can be found under IBA Vapour Col, Deception Island.

Key biodiversity

Approximately 100 000 pairs of Chinstrap Penguin were breeding along the beach at Baily Head and on slopes rising from the beach to a ridgeline of ~150 m in 1989 (S. & J. Poncet pers. comm.; Naveen & Lynch 2011). More recently, 50 408 breeding pairs were reported in December 2011 by the Antarctic Site Inventory (Naveen et al . 2013).

Brown Skua ( Catharacta antarctica ), Cape Petrel ( Daption capense ) and Snowy Sheathbill ( Chionis albus ) are also confirmed breeders at Baily Head (ASMA No. 4 Management Plan, Appendix 5, 2005).

Non-bird biodiversity: Antarctic Fur Seals (Arctocephalus gazella) frequently haul out along the beach at Baily Head and Weddell Seals (Leptonychotes weddellii), Crabeater Seals (Lobodon carcinophagus), Southern Elephant Seals (Mirounga leonina) and Leopard Seals (Hydrurga leptonyx) have also been observed hauled out at this site (Naveen & Lynch 2011).

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Baily Head, Deception Island. Downloaded from on 05/12/2021.