AQ058
Cape Hooker, Low Island


Country/territory: Antarctica

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

Area: 28 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 Hooker is a rocky headland at the eastern extremity of Low Island. The IBA qualifies on the basis of the concentration of seabirds present (in particular Chinstrap Penguin (Pygoscelis antarctica)) and includes the ice-free area of Cape Hooker.

The nearest permanent scientific stations to Cape Hooker are Decepción (ARG) and Gabriel de Castilla (ESP), located ~75 km to the northeast at Deception Island. These summer-only stations have a combined capacity of 90 people.

Key biodiversity

The IBA originally encompassed the ice free ground north of Cape Hooker (Harris et al. 2011). However, recent analysis shows that only around 50 pairs of Chinstrap Penguin breed on the ice-free peninsula north of Cape Hooker, whereas 7500 – 10 000 pairs breed at Cape Hooker itself (Shuford & Spear 1988b). Croxall & Kirkwood (1979) reported 10 000 – 15 000 pairs at Cape Hooker in Jan 1975. The IBA boundary has been adjusted to encompass the main breeding area at Cape Hooker. Recent data and information on other birds breeding in the area are not available.

Non-bird biodiversity: None known.


Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Cape Hooker, Low Island. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 21/10/2020.