The site comprises about ten islands, most with grassy vegetation and some with small freshwater ponds. The fjord is surrounded by steep mountains and cliffs, glaciers and some tundra.
The islands and the mainland tundra are relatively species-rich and support at least nine of the 32 species that are restricted in Europe (when breeding) to the Arctic/tundra biome. The first and only instance of Pluvialis fulva breeding in the West Palearctic was recorded at Ny ålesund in 1997 (under consideration by the Norwegian Rarities Committee).
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
A growing population of reindeer Rangifer tarandus may have overgrazed the tundra, possibly reducing the number of suitable nest-sites for some waders (e.g. Phalaropus fulicarius, which has declined in number from about 20 pairs to only 2-3 pairs in recent years). The IBA is covered by an `Area of Plant Protection' (1,140 ha). Population studies (including regular censuses) of Branta leucopsis and several seabirds are carried out by the University of Tromsø, the University of Norway at Svalbard (Longyearbyen) and the Norwegian Polar Institute.
National High International High140 ha of IBA covered by Nature Reserve (Kongsfjorden [Bird Sanctuary], 140 ha). 140 ha of IBA covered by Ramsar Site (Kongsfjorden, 140 ha).
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Inner parts of Kongsfjorden. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 18/08/2022.