Petermann Island

Country/territory: Antarctica

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

Area: 99 ha

Site description (baseline)

Petermann Island is located in Penola Strait, in the Wilhelm Archipelago, ~2 km west of the Antarctic Peninsula. The island extends ~1.8 km from north to south and is about 1.2 km across. The IBA qualifies on the basis of the Gentoo Penguin (Pygoscelis papua) colony present and includes all of Petermann Island and its surrounding coastal rocks.

Petermann Island has a rocky coastline interspersed by raised pebble beaches and rises fairly steeply to elevations of ~150–250 m. The island has volcanic origins, and about half is covered by a permanent and crevassed icecap, and mosses and lichens are present in ice free areas. Antarctic Historic Site and Monument No. 27 is on Megalestris Hill and an abandoned refuge is present on the eastern coast of the island.

The nearest scientific station is Vernadsky (UKR), a year-round facility located ~9 km to the southwest on Galindez Island. Vernadsky Station has capacity for ~24 people (COMNAP, Antarctic Facilities, accessed 19/08/2010).

Key biodiversity

An estimated 3020 pairs of Gentoo Penguin were breeding on Petermann Island in December 2009 (H. Lynch, pers. comm. 2010). More recently, 3300 breeding pairs were reported by the Antarctic Site Inventory in January 2013 (Lynch et al. 2013; Casanovas et al. in press). While the global population of Gentoo Penguins was revised in 2014, the IBA has been retained in view of the uncertainty related to annual fluctuations in Gentoo numbers. Around 296 Adélie Penguin (P. adeliae) and 43 Imperial Shag (Phalacrocorax [atriceps] bransfieldensis) nests were counted in 2012/2013 (Lynch et al. 2013). One breeding pair of Chinstrap Penguin (Pygoscelis antarctica) was observed in December 2010 (Naveen & Lynch 2011).

Wilson's Storm-petrel (Oceanites oceanicus), Snowy Sheathbill (Chionis albus), South Polar Skua (Catharacta maccormicki), Kelp Gull (Larus dominicanus) and Antarctic Tern (Sterna vittata) are also confirmed breeders (Naveen & Lynch 2011). South Polar Skuas typically nest on high ground in the northern part of the island.

Non-bird biodiversity: None known.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Petermann Island. Downloaded from on 28/05/2023.