Cape Garry, Low Island

Country/territory: Antarctica

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

Area: 107 ha

Protection status:

Site description

Low Island is the southernmost of the South Shetland Islands, and is situated in the western region of Bransfield Strait. Cape Garry lies at the southwest extremity of Low Island and is a small, largely ice-covered headland about 1.5 km in length. The IBA qualifies on the basis of the Chinstrap Penguin (Pygoscelis antarctica) colony present and includes the ice free area of Cape Garry.

The coastline of Low Island forms the northeastern boundary of ASPA No. 152, recognised as an important site of long-term scientific research on several fish species, including Black Rockcod (Notothenia coriiceps) and the icefish Chaenocephalus aceratus (ASPA No. 152 Management Plan, 2003). The IBA lies outside of the ASPA.

The nearest permanent scientific stations to Cape Garry are Decepción (ARG) and Gabriel de Castilla (ESP), located ~90 km to the northeast at Deception Island. These summer-only stations have a combined capacity of 90 people.

Key biodiversity

Around 100 000 pairs of Chinstrap Penguin breed at Cape Garry (Shuford & Spear 1988b), constituting the second largest Chinstrap colony on Low Island, the largest being at Cape Wallace. A small number of Imperial Shags (Phalacrocorax [atriceps] bransfieldensis) breed close to the Chinstraps, constituting 10 pairs in 1987 (Shuford & Spear 1988a).

Non-bird biodiversity: None known.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Cape Garry, Low Island. Downloaded from on 21/10/2020.