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Location Australia, Queensland
Central coordinates 139o 51.82' East  16o 39.87' South
IBA criteria A4i
Area 442 ha
Altitude 0 - 10m
Year of IBA assessment 2009

BirdLife Australia

Summary The Bountiful Islands IBA supports more than 1% of the global population of Crested Terns and Roseate Terns.

Site description The Bountiful Islands are a group of small islands (6808ha) in the southern Gulf of Carpentaria. North Bountiful supported a large colony of Crested Terns; south-east Bountiful supported a large colony of Roseate Terns. Some of these islands were formerly covered with Pisonia grandis, but they are now largely grassy supporting substantial breeding populations of seabirds and sea turtles. They are generally low-lying but are based on a laterised ironstone which forms low cliffs along one side of North Bountiful Island. The climate is monsoonal with rain from December to April and a long dry season from May to November.

Key Biodiversity Small colonies of Bridled Tern, Little Tern, Caspian Tern, Silver Gull and Australian Pelican also occur on these islands (Walker 1992).

Non-bird biodiversity: The island is one of the largest known breeding sites of Green Turtles, with turtles emerging during the day between breeding attempts (Walker 1992).

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Greater Crested Tern Thalasseus bergii breeding  1991  26,000-30,000 breeding pairs  good  A4i  Least Concern 
Roseate Tern Sterna dougallii breeding  1991  1,980 breeding pairs  good  A4i  Least Concern 

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 majority/most of area/population (50-90%) no or imperceptible deterioration low


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Coastline Sand cays, islets & bars  100%

Land ownership Traditional owners are Lardil people: Bountiful Island is known as Meldan or Meldanga. Native title exists over the islands.

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
not utilised 100%
Notes: Traditional owners are Lardil people: Bountiful Island is known as Meldan or Meldanga. Native title exists over the islands.

Access/Land-Owner requests Permission to visit islands should be sought from Mornington Island Shire Council.

Acknowledgements Nomination prepared by Stephen Garnett.

References Carpentaria Land Council Aboriginal Corporation (2006) Thuwathu/Bujimulla Sea Country Plan: Aboriginal Management of the Wellesley Islands Management Region of the Gulf of Carpentaria. Department of Environment and Heritage, Canberra.

Walker, T.A. (1992) A record Crested Tern Sterna bergii colony and concentrated breeding by seabirds in the Gulf of Carpentaria. Emu 92: 152-156.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Bountiful Islands. Downloaded from on 22/10/2016

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