Robertson Islands

Country/territory: Antarctica

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

Area: 796 ha

Protection status:

Site description

Matthews Island, Steepholm, Coffer Island and Skilling Island are part of the Robertson Islands group, South Orkney Islands. Matthews Island is the largest of the Robertson Islands, is partly covered in permanent ice and rises to over 250 m at two summits. Other islands in the group reach an altitude of less than 250 m and have no permanent ice. The IBA qualifies on the basis of the Chinstrap Penguin (Pygoscelis antarctica) colony present and the high concentration of seabirds. The IBA comprises all islands and skerries lying north of Atriceps Island in the Robertson Islands group and the intervening marine area.

See IBA Signy Island for information on meteorological records and facilities at Signy Station (GBR), which is located 25 km to the northwest.

Key biodiversity

Approximately 35 000 breeding pairs of Chinstrap Penguins were recorded in the Robertson Islands in 1983, with 14 750 pairs on Matthews Island, 2100 pairs on Coffer Island, 11 500 pairs on two islands south of Matthews Island and 6520 pairs on Steepholm and Skilling Islands combined (Poncet & Poncet 1985). In addition, Snow Petrels (Pagodroma nivea) breed in the area of The Divide (Croxall et al. 1995), a narrow channel separating Matthews Island from Coronation Island at the northern limit of the IBA.

Non-bird biodiversity: None known.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Robertson Islands. Downloaded from on 21/10/2020.