ACAP Breeding Sites No. 7. Isla Arce, Argentina and its Southern Giant Petrels


Isla Arce is located in the north of the Golfo San Jorge, Patagonia, Argentina; the island is seen here from Cabo Dos Bahías on the mainland. The area has about 70 islands and islets situated close to the South American continent. Isla Arce has an area of about 56 ha and a maximum height of 30 m. The island falls within the Parque Interjurisdiccional Marino Costero Patagonia Austral in northern Patagonia and is seven kilometres from the continental coast. The park was created in 2008 as an “area of conservation, management and rational use of marine and terrestrial species and their habitats” (click here).


Isla Arce is one of the few South American breeding sites of the ACAP-listed Southern Giant Petrel Macronectes giganteus. The birds breed in a rocky area free of vegetation, with about 500 breeding pairs counted in the 2004/05 breeding season. Nearby Isla Gran Robredo supports a larger Southern Giant Petrel colony (1883 pairs were counted in 2004/05).


This Southern Giant Petrel adult has a chick of about two weeks of age. An ongoing programme on the island’s petrels has been undertaken by Argentine researchers since 1999 (click here).


Sofia Copello and Flavio Quintana attach a satellite transmitter to a Southern Giant Petrel on Isla Arce in 2002.


Photographs by Sofía Copello

Click here to access the ACAP Species Assessment for the Southern Giant Petrel. The Southern Giant Petrel is currently categorized as Least Concern and is not considered threatened.

Selected References:

Copello, S. & Quintana, F. 2009. Breeding biology of the Southern Giant Petrel (Macronectes giganteus) in Patagonia, Argentina. Revista Ornitología Neotropical 20: 369-380.

Copello, S. & Quintana, F. 2009. Spatio-temporal relationship between Southern Giant Petrels and fisheries at the Patagonian Shelf. Polar Biology 32: 1211-1220.

Copello, S., Dogliotti, A.I., Gagliardini, D.A. & Quintana, F. 2011. Oceanographic and biological landscapes used by the Southern Giant Petrel during the breeding season at the Patagonian Shelf. Marine Biology 158: 1247-1257.

Copello, S., Quintana, F. & Perez, F. 2008. The diet of the Southern Giant Petrel in Patagonia: fishery-related items and natural prey. Endangered Species Research 6: 15-23.

Quintana, F., Dell' Arciprete, P. & Copello, S. 2010. Foraging behaviour and habitat use by the Southern Giant Petrel on the Patagonian Shelf. Marine Biology 157: 515-525.

Quintana, F., Punta, G., Copello, S. & Yorio, P. 2006. Population status and trends of Southern Giant Petrels (Macronectes giganteus) breeding in North Patagonia, Argentina. Polar Biology 30: 53-59.

Sofía Copello, Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas y Costeras, Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET)-Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata, Argentina, 7 March 2013

The Agreement on the
Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels

ACAP is a multilateral agreement which seeks to conserve listed albatrosses, petrels and shearwaters by coordinating international activity to mitigate known threats to their populations.

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