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Location Australia, Queensland
Central coordinates 139o 16.37' East  16o 16.09' South
IBA criteria A4ii
Area 51 ha
Altitude 0 - 16m
Year of IBA assessment 2008

BirdLife Australia



Summary The islands support more then 1% of the global populations of Brown Booby and Lesser Frigatebird.

Site description Rocky and Manowar Islands are both small islands in the southern Gulf of Carpentaria about 40 km distant from the nearest substantial land on Mornington Island. The two slightly raised islands support large numbers of breeding seabirds, particularly Brown Booby on both islands and Lesser Frigatebird on Manowar Island. The climate is monsoonal with an extended dry season from May to November and a hot wet season from December to April.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Lesser Frigatebird Fregata ariel breeding  1991  7,700 breeding pairs  good  A4ii  Least Concern 
Brown Booby Sula leucogaster breeding  1991  9,000-12,000 breeding pairs  medium  A4ii  Least Concern 

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Coastline Sand cays, islets & bars; Sea cliffs, rocky shores & rocky islets  20%
Sea Open sea  80%

Land ownership Traditional owners are Lardil people: Rocky Island known as Kalamburriya, Manowar Island known as Delmerriya or Wudma. http://www.environment.gov.au/indigenous/publications/pubs/thuwathu-bujimulla-plan.pdf. Native title exists over the islands.

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
fisheries/aquaculture 80%
other 20%
Notes: Indigenous land use

Other biodiversity The islands are notable for basking by Green Turtle between breeding attempts in the winter (Garnett et al. 1985). An undescribed legless lizard, Lerista aff. orientalis, has been recorded from Rocky Island (Garnett and Crowley 1987a), and must be a relic from the Pleistocene when lower sea level meant the islands were connected to the mainland.

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

Acknowledgements THe nomination was 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. http://www.environment.gov.au/indigenous/publications/pubs/thuwathu-bujimulla-plan.pdf

Garnett, S.T. and Crowley, G.M. (1987a) Rocky Island. Corella 11, 75-76.

Garnett, S.T. and Crowley, G.M. (1987b) Manowar Island. Corella 11, 73-74.

Garnett, S.T., Crowley, G.M. and Goudberg, N.J. (1985) Non-nesting emergence by Green Turtles in the Gulf of Carpentaria. Copeia 1984, 262-264.

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.

White, H.L. (1917) North Australian birds. Emu 16, 117-158.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Manowar and Rocky Islands. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 02/10/2014

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