|Central coordinates||143o 25.24' East 15o 11.91' South|
|IBA criteria||A1, A2, A3|
|Altitude||64 - 190m|
|Year of IBA assessment||2009|
Summary Morehead River supports a high proportion of the endangered Golden-shouldered Parrot, and possibly the endangered Buff-breasted Button-quail. It also supports significant populations of the near threatened Black-throated Finch and Bush Stone-curlew and an additional six species restricted to the Tropical Savanna Biome: Silver-crowned Friarbird, Yellow-tinted Honeyeater, Yellow Honeyeater, Banded Honeyeater, Bar-breasted Honeyeater and Masked Finch.
Site description The Morehead River IBA is located in the south-east of Cape York. The IBA is defined as the properties supporting high numbers of Golden-shouldered Parrots but also supports many other savanna species. The land is mostly pastoral lease used for extensive cattle grazing, with a monsoonal climate. Low hills are covered with open savanna woodland and drained by largely ephemeral streams. Conservation agreements cover or are being negotiated over parts of the area.
Key Biodiversity The savanna woodlands support a range of woodland species through the Melaleucas, particularly when in flower. In the wet season Azure Kingfisher occurs along streams with the narrow strips of riparian forest supporting a small suite of rainforest birds like Fairy Gerygone and Pied Imperial-Pigeon. Wet grasslands are used by Latham's Snipe during the northern migration and by the Brolga for nesting. Raptors like Black-breasted Buzzard nest in some years and Red Goshawk has been seen on two occasions.
Non-bird biodiversity: The area falls surprisingly short in other significant fauna, although the Rufous Hare-wallaby has been recorded and several Macropus species occur at low densities.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Buff-breasted Buttonquail Turnix olivii||unknown||1993||max 5 individuals||poor||A1, A2, A3||Endangered|
|Bush Thick-knee Burhinus grallarius||resident||1998-2008||uncommon||-||A1||Least Concern|
|Golden-shouldered Parrot Psephotellus chrysopterygius||resident||2004||700-1,200 individuals||medium||A1, A2, A3||Endangered|
|Yellow Honeyeater Lichenostomus flavus||resident||1998-2008||abundant||-||A3||Least Concern|
|White-gaped Honeyeater Lichenostomus unicolor||unknown||1998-2008||uncommon||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Yellow-tinted Honeyeater Lichenostomus flavescens||unknown||1998-2008||uncommon||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Silver-crowned Friarbird Philemon argenticeps||resident||1998-2008||common||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Bar-breasted Honeyeater Ramsayornis fasciatus||unknown||1998-2008||uncommon||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Banded Honeyeater Certhionyx pectoralis||unknown||1998-2008||common||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Masked Finch Poephila personata||resident||1998-2003||common||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Black-throated Finch Poephila cincta||resident||1998-2008||common||-||A1||Least Concern|
|2008||high||not assessed||not assessed|
|Medium - based upon reliable but incomplete / partially representative data|
|Agricultural expansion and intensification||livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - agro-industry grazing, ranching or farmin||happening now||whole area/population (>90%)||slow but significant deterioration||high|
|Invasive and other problematic species and genes||invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - unspecified species||happening now||some of area/population (10-49%)||no or imperceptible deterioration||low|
|Natural system modifications||fire & fire suppression - suppression in fire frequency/intensity||happening now||whole area/population (>90%)||slow but significant deterioration||high|
|Protected area||Designation||Area (ha)||Relationship with IBA||Overlap with IBA (ha)|
|Artemis Antbed Parrot Nature Refuge||Nature Reserve||2,116||protected area overlaps with site||2,116|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Forest||Melaleuca forests & woodlands||20%|
|Savanna||Tropical eucalypt woodlands & grasslands||75%|
Land ownership Nature Refuge = Queensland State Government (QPWS); remainder leasehold property
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
|Notes: Site includes the 2116 ha Artemis Antbed Parrot Nature Refuge.|
Access/Land-Owner requests Leaseholders as appropriate.
Acknowledgements Sue and Tom Shephard, leaseholders of Artemis Station. The nomination was prepared by Stephen Garnett.
References Crowley, G.M. and Garnett, S.T. (2000) Changing fire management in the pastoral lands of Cape York Peninsula of northeast Australia, 1623-1996. Australian Geographical Studies 38:10-26.
Crowley, G.M., Garnett, S.T. and Shephard, S. (2004) Management guidelines for golden-shouldered parrot conservation. Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, Brisbane.
Garnett, S.T. and Crowley, G.M. (1997) The Golden-shouldered Parrot of Cape York Peninsula: the importance of cups of tea to effective conservation. In. 'Conservation outside Nature Reserves'. Pp. 201-205. Edited by Hale, P. and Lamb, D., Uni.Qld
Garnett, S.T. and Crowley, G.M. (2003) Recovery Plan for the Golden-shouldered Parrot. Department of Environment and Heritage, Canberra.
Garnett, S.T. and Shephard, S. (1997) Cape York Peninsula, Australia, as a stopover site for Latham's Snipe Gallinago hardwickii. Stilt 30:54-55.
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2015) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Morehead River. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 18/04/2015
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