Cape Wallace, Low Island

Country/territory: Antarctica

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

Area: 246 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 Wallace is a rocky headland extending around 3 km at the northwestern extremity of Low Island. The IBA qualifies on the basis of the Chinstrap Penguin (Pygoscelis antarctica) colony present and includes the ice free area on northern coast of Cape Wallace.

The nearest permanent scientific stations to Cape Wallace are Decepción (ARG) and Gabriel de Castilla (ESP), located ~80 km to the northeast at Deception Island. These summer-only stations have a combined capacity of 90 people.

Key biodiversity

Approximately 75 000 to 150 000 breeding pairs of Chinstrap Penguin were estimated at Cape Wallace in 1987 (Shuford & Spear 1988b), making it the largest colony on Low Island and one of the largest in the region. A small group of ~250 breeding pairs of Gentoo Penguin (Pygoscelis papua) were nesting close to the Chinstraps in 1987 (Shuford & Spear 1988a). A further 25 000 to 50 000 breeding pairs of Chinstrap Penguin were estimated at a bluff south of Cape Wallace and 25 000 pairs were estimated at an island north-east of Cape Wallace (Shuford & Spear 1988b). Cape Petrel (Daption capense) and Southern Giant Petrel (Macronectes giganteus) are known to breed at Cape Wallace (Hodum et al. 2004; Patterson et al. 2008).

Non-bird biodiversity: None known.

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