Taylor Rookery

Country/territory: Antarctica

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

Area: 26 ha

Protection status:

Site description

Taylor Rookery is an Emperor Penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri) colony that breeds on a small headland of predominantly metamorphic rock located on the eastern side of Taylor Glacier, Mawson Coast, MacRobertson Land. The headland is located on the southwestern coast of a bay enclosed by the Colbeck Archipelago in the east, Taylor Glacier in the west and permanent continental ice of the Mawson Coast in the south. The headland is ~0.8 km by ~0.4 km in size, with hills rising up to ~60 m in the south, north of which a short valley extends ~400 m to the coast. Several small melt lakes are present in the shallow valley, which in winter are frozen and covered by snow. Taylor Rookery is one of only two known extant sites where Emperor Penguins breed entirely on land (the other is at Amundsen Bay, East Antarctica, and a third site at IBA Emperor Island, Dion Islands is no longer occupied). Taylor Rookery was specially protected in 1966 to safeguard the largest known Emperor Penguin colony breeding on land. The IBA qualifies on the basis of the Emperor Penguin colony present and coincides with the boundary of ASPA No. 101.

The nearest permanent station is Mawson (AUS), ~ 85 km to the east in Holme Bay, Mawson Coast.

Key biodiversity

The Emperor Penguin colony breeds on level surfaces covered by snow usually in the central valley of the rock headland. Population counts were conducted intermittently from the mid-1950s (Budd 1962) until the mid-1980s (Horne 1983). During the early period, the population averaged 3684 ± 492, while from 1988-2010, the population averaged only 2927 ±320 breeding pairs (Robertson et al . 2013). The reasons for this decrease of ~20 % are unknown.

Other bird species noted by Bonner & Smith (1985) as breeding at Taylor Rookery include Snow Petrel ( Pagodroma nivea ), Wilson's Storm-petrel ( Oceanites oceanicus ) and South Polar Skuas ( Catharacta maccormicki ), although the numbers and source of the observations are not known. More recently, South Polar Skua breeding in the area is not confirmed in the ASPA No. 101 management plan, although they remain regularly observed.

Non-bird biodiversity: None known.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2019) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Taylor Rookery. Downloaded from on 27/06/2019.