Edmonson Point

Country/territory: Antarctica

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

Area: 550 ha

Site description (2015 baseline)

Edmonson Point is situated in Wood Bay, Ross Sea, at the foot of the eastern slopes of Mount Melbourne, Victoria Land.

The IBA qualifies on the basis of the South Polar Skua (Catharacta maccormicki) colony present and is coincident with the boundary of Antarctic Specially Protected Area No. 165: Edmonson Point, Wood Bay. The ASPA is designated for its outstanding ecological and scientific values, in particular for the outstanding freshwater and terrestrial habitats present, and the opportunities offered at the site for studies of Adélie Penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae) and South Polar Skua.

The nearest permanent stations are Jang Bogo (KOR, year-round), Mario Zucchelli (ITA, summer-only), and Gondwana (DEU, summer occasional use), located ~50 km to the southwest in the Northern Foothills.

Key biodiversity

A stable colony of ~120 breeding pairs of South Polar Skua are present at Edmonson Point, with the majority nesting close to the Adélie Penguin colony and a further 36 pairs nesting on the slopes of Ippolito Hills (Colline Ippolito) (CCAMLR 1999; Pezzo et al. 2001; V. Volpi pers. comm. 2005 cited in ASPA No. 165 Management Plan). A count made in 2010 recorded 116 pairs, with 55 pairs at Ippolito Hills and the remainder on Edmonson Point. Several groups of non-breeders, ranging between 50 and 70 individuals, are frequently observed near freshwater ponds during the breeding season (Pezzo et al. 2001). The colony is one of the most numerous in Victoria Land, and has an unusually high ratio of skuas to resident penguins, being around 1:20 (CCAMLR 1999; Pezzo et al. 2001).

The small colony of Adélie Penguins is located in the southeastern part of Edmonson Point, and is insufficiently large to qualify as an IBA in its own right. The colony had on average ~1890 breeding pairs in the period 1981 – 2012 (Lyver et al. 2014).

Snow Petrels (Pagodroma nivea) and Wilson's Storm-petrels (Oceanites oceanicus) have been observed as visitors, although are not known to breed in the area (ASPA No. 165 Management Plan).

Non-bird biodiversity: Weddell Seals (Leptonychotes weddellii) regularly breed on sea ice that forms along the coast of Edmonson Point, and have also been observed hauling out along the beaches (ASPA No. 165 Management Plan).

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Edmonson Point. Downloaded from on 04/12/2023.