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Location Australia, Northern Territory
Central coordinates 131o 0.42' East  12o 20.50' South
IBA criteria A4i
Area 9,589 ha
Altitude 0 - 10m
Year of IBA assessment 2009

BirdLife Australia

Summary The IBA includes high-tide roosts and low-tide feeding areas for more than 1% of the world's Great Knots.

Site description This IBA is a stretch of muddy and sandy coast just east of Darwin, from the shorebird roost at Lee Point to the end of the muddy bay at Tree Point. The northern extent of the boundary is poorly defined and could extend to the northern boundary of the Shoal Bay Conservation Area or to Gunn Point (the end of the bay); this requires more fieldwork. The IBA extends inland to include the mangroves but not the terrestrial vegetation.

Key Biodiversity The IBA has supported up to 1313 near threatened Black-tailed Godwit (A. & S. Keates in litt. 2007). It also supports nationally important numbers of Greater Sand Plover (700-1500 in Nov 2006-Jan 2007) and high numbers of Terek Sandpiper (e.g. 337 at Tree Point on 5 Nov 2006) and a handful of Beach Stone-curlews (A. & S. Keates in litt. 2007). Other species recorded in the IBA or on adjacent wetlands and plains include Little Whimbrel, Little Tern, Chestnut Rail, Bush Stone-curlew, Varied Lorikeet, Yellow Chat, White-gaped Honeyeater, Australian Yellow White-eye, Australian Bustard and Red Goshawk (Chatto 2006; DEWHA 2008; Atlas of Australian Birds database).

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Great Knot Calidris tenuirostris non-breeding  2006-2007  3,900-4,400 individuals  good  A4i  Endangered 

IBA Monitoring

2008 low not assessed not assessed
Medium - based upon reliable but incomplete / partially representative data

Human intrusions and disturbance recreational activities happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Residential and commercial development commercial and industrial development likely in long term (beyond 4 years) small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Buffalo Creek Management Agreement Area 223 protected area overlaps with site 145  
Casuarina Coastal Reserve 1,360 protected area overlaps with site 24  
Shoal Bay Coastal Reserve 12,300 protected area overlaps with site 3,196  
Tree Point Other Conservation Area 972 protected area overlaps with site 457  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Coastline Intertidal mud, sand & salt flats; Mangrove wetlands  major

Land ownership Department of Defence and unallocated Crown Land.

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
military major
tourism/recreation major

Protection status The IBA overlaps with Casuarina Coastal Reserve, Shoal Bay Coastal Reserve, Buffalo Creek Management Area and the Tree Point Conservation Area.

Acknowledgements Monthly shorebird counts have been undertaken by A & S Keates for the purpose of determining whether the site meets the IBA criteria.

References DEWHA (2008) Directory of Important Wetlands in Australia. Shoal Bay - Micket Creek - NT032. accessed 2008.

Harrison, L., McGuire, L., Ward, S. Fisher, A., Pavey, C., Fegan, M. and Lynch, B. (2009) An inventory of sites of international and national significance for biodiversity values in the Northern Territory. Department of Natural Resources, Environment, the Arts & Sport, Darwin, NT.

Keates, A. and S. unpublished counts.

Ward, S. and Harrison, L. (2009) Recognising sites of conservation significance for biodiversity values in the Northern Territory. Department of Natural Resources, Environment, the Arts & Sport, Darwin, NT.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Shoal Bay (Darwin). Downloaded from on 23/10/2016

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife