AQ001
Larsen Islands / Moreton Point


Country/territory: Antarctica

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

Area: 1,580 ha

Protection status:


Site description
The Larsen Islands and Moreton Point lie along the western coast of Coronation Island. The Larsen Islands comprise Spine Island, Nicolas Rocks and Monroe Island, the latter being the largest in the group. The IBA qualifies on the basis of the Chinstrap Penguin (Pygoscelis antarctica) colonies present and the high concentration of seabirds (in particular Chinstrap Penguin and Southern Fulmar (Fulmarus glacialoides)). The IBA includes the ice-free area at Moreton Point, all of the Larsen Islands, an adjacent ice-free area on the northwestern coast of Coronation island, and the intervening marine area.

The nearest research station is Signy (GBR), located 27 km southeast of the IBA. See IBA Signy Island for information on the environment and facilities at this station.

Key biodiversity

Data on some bird species breeding within the IBA are available only in aggregate. Approximately 23 000 pairs of Chinstrap Penguin were recorded breeding on Moreton Point and a further 1200 pairs in small colonies north of Moreton Point in 1984 (Poncet & Poncet 1985). Approximately 28 000 pairs of Chinstrap Penguin were recorded breeding on the eastern and northern shorelines of Monroe Island and on Spine Island in 1984 (Poncet & Poncet 1985). Approximately 10 000 breeding pairs of Chinstrap Penguin were also recorded in three colonies on Nicolas Rocks in 1984 (Poncet & Poncet 1985). [Nicolas Rocks were referred to erroneously as Larsen Islands in Poncet & Poncet 1985]. The total Chinstrap Penguin population reported by Poncet & Poncet (1985) in this area was ~62 200 pairs. More recently, approximately 125 000 pairs of Chinstrap Penguin were estimated breeding on Moreton Point and Monroe Island based on a survey from a ship anchored in Sandefjord Bay, with birds nesting on "every available surface" (H. Lynch pers. comm. 2010).

An estimated 5000 – 10 000 Southern Fulmars breed on the northern and eastern coasts of Monroe Island, and Ardley (1936) estimated approximately 25 000 nests along the western coast of Coronation Island. Snow Petrels ( Pagodroma nivea ) are confirmed breeders in Sandefjord Bay (Croxall et al . 1995). More than 5000 pairs of Cape Petrels ( Daption capense ) were estimated to breed in this area by Ardley (1936) in 1933.

Non-bird biodiversity: Antarctic Fur Seals (Arctocephalus gazella) occupy beaches in the vicinity in summer.


Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2018) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Larsen Islands / Moreton Point. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 11/12/2018.