Inaccessible Islands

Country/territory: Antarctica

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

Area: 305 ha

Protection status:

Site description

Inaccessible Islands are the most westerly of the South Orkney Islands. They are located 35 km west of Coronation Island and comprise three main islands and numerous offshore skerries. The IBA qualifies on the basis of the Southern Fulmar (Fulmarus glacialoides) colony present and comprises all islands and offshore rocks in the Inaccessible Islands group and the intervening marine area.

The nearest research station is Signy (GBR), located 62 km southeast of the IBA. See IBA Signy Island for information on the environment and facilities at this station.

Key biodiversity

Southern Fulmar are the most abundant bird species present at the Inaccessible Islands, with tens of thousands of pairs recorded breeding on the northern coast of islands and islets in 1986 (unpublished data S. Poncet pers. comm. 2005). Ardley (1936) estimated that “not less than half a million” Southern Fulmar nests occupied “top to bottom” of the northern cliffs of the three main islands in Jan 1933. Chinstrap Penguin (Pygoscelis antarctica) also breed on the larger islands, and approximately 1000 breeding pairs were recorded in 1986 (S. Poncet pers. comm. 2005; also noted by Ardley 1936). Approximately 100 breeding pairs of Imperial Shag (Phalacrocorax [atriceps] bransfieldensis) were also recorded on the northern coast of the more southerly of the large islands in the Inaccessible Islands group in 1986, and this colony was also reported by Ardley (1936).

Non-bird biodiversity: None known.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Inaccessible Islands. Downloaded from on 09/07/2020.