Elephant Cays Group

Country/territory: Falkland Islands (Malvinas)

IBA Criteria met: A1, A4ii, A4iii (2006)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 248 ha

Protection status:

Falklands Conservation

Site description
Located towards the southern end of Falkland Sound, there is little information available regarding the status of any of these islands. All of them have very good Tussac cover, but exact population counts are unavailable and their pest status is unknown, though Cecil Bertrand saw no rats in the 1930s (see under ‘Further reading’, below). Islands in this group were reported as having been stocked intermittently with cattle, probably between the 1930s and 1948; Stinker Island was grazed until 1985. The ketch Penelope passed through the group on 12 December 2001 while on the Felton’s Flower Project voyage. Observations of the topography, vegetation and birds of some of the islands were possible. Golden Knob has almost complete Tussac cover and a narrow, near-level sand beach. Stinker Island is covered by Tussac and has a boulder beach, while Sandy Cay also has very good Tussac and a boulder beach with a broad sand slope on the eastern half. Elephant Cays (West) has a massive reef extending westward and a long eroded sandy area between cliffs with Tussac above. Elephant Cays (Southwest) also has cliffs.

Key biodiversity
This group of islands is the most important breeding site for Southern Giant-petrels in the world. Counts were made in early 2005. There is no complete list of birds, but it is probable that at least 20 species breed, possibly including burrowing petrels and Storm-petrels. Two small colonies of Imperial Shags were seen on the north-western and southwestern cays in December 2001. Tussacbird adults were seen on Stinker Island in December 2001 and Cobb’s Wrens are likely to be present. As their status is unknown they do not qualify the site.

Non-bird biodiversity: Little is known, but from counts at sea, between 80 and 100 Southern Sea Lion pups are born each year within the group.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Elephant Cays Group. Downloaded from on 14/08/2020.