Péninsule Courbet consists of a large, mainly flat peninsula of alluvium deposits of glacial origin on the north-eastern tip of Grande Terre. A large number of lakes of different sizes and boggy margins are scattered across the site. Inland areas of the peninsula are, however, drier and largely unvegetated. The western edge of the site is hillier and reaches 500 m. The western limit of the site is defined by a line linking Pointe Scott and Château d’If; the archipelago’s only base camp, Port-aux-Français situated nearby, is therefore excluded.
See Box for key species. At least 22 species breed. Three large rookeries of Aptenodytes patagonicus are found on the western coast of the site, with a combined total of 172,400 pairs. Eudyptes chrysolophus breed along the northern coast in a string of colonies. The inland parts of the site are also important as they hold the largest population of Anas eatoni in the French Southern Territories. In addition, numbers of breeding Phalacrocorax verrucosus, Chionis minor, Catharacta antarctica, Larus dominicanus, Sterna virgata and S. vittata exceed thresholds, but quantitative data are lacking.
Non-bird biodiversity: The site holds the largest breeding population of the mammal Mirounga leonina in the archipelago, with 43,782 females (1997 census data). An important population of Arctocephalus gazella also occurs.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The site is completely unprotected and has not been proposed as a Nature Reserve. The vegetation has generally been badly degraded by rabbits, and cats have probably been responsible for severe declines of several species.
BirdLife International (2019) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Péninsule Courbet. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 19/09/2019.