|Location||Australia, New South Wales (and ACT),Queensland|
|Central coordinates||144o 17.00' East 29o 46.62' South|
|IBA criteria||A1, A3, A4i|
|Altitude||93 - 146m|
|Year of IBA assessment||2009|
Summary This large complex wetland supports up to 400,000 waterbirds and more than 1% of the world populations of the following congregatory waterbirds: Black Swan, Freckled Duck, Pink-eared Duck, Grey Teal, Australasian Shoveler, Hardhead, Red-necked Avocet, Black-winged Stilt, Banded Stilt, Sharp-tailed Sandpiper and Red-capped Plover as well as six biome-restricted species.
Site description The Paroo River IBA contains the lower floodplain of the Paroo, including the Paroo Overflow lakes: Tongo, Yantangabee, Poloko, Gilpoko, Peery, Nine Mile, Dick and Copago Lakes and Mullawoolka Basin, and is extended to include all of the overlapping Currawinya and Paroo-Darling National Parks and Nocoleche Nature Reserve (these protected areas were listed as a Ramsar site in 2007). Though much attention is focused on the larger lakes, many smaller waterbodies support high waterbird diversity and, for some species, significant numbers (McDougall and Timms, 2001). It also includes the Yantabulla swamp and the Cuttaburra Creek floodplain, which floods about once every three years. The Paroo floodplain is a complex network of channels, wetlands and lakes on a vast floodplain area. The lake shores and channels support samphire, lignum, canegrass, other grasses, black-box and riparian woodland communities which flood seasonally. The area receives water from local rainfall or the Paroo River. The climate is arid, with low and very variable summer-dominant rainfall; the long-term mean annual rainfall at Currawinya is 278mm. In rare events, floodwaters from the Warrego River via the Cuttaburra Creek and Channels, or south from the Darling River, may enter the Overflow. The Overflow is a complex branched system, with direction of water flow governed by volume. The bulk of the water travels down the western branch to fill shallow channels, floodplain depressions and lakes. Ranging from 3.5 to 5.5 metres deep some of these lakes retain water for up to three years. Tongo, Yantabangee, Poloko, Gilpoko, Peery, Nine Mile, Dick and Copago Lakes, and Mullawoolka Basin are a chain of Overflow lakes on the western branch that are filled sequentially by floodwaters. This filling order may be reversed if floodwaters from the Darling River back up along the Paroo Overflow. The Currawinya National Park also includes Acacia-dominated shrublands mostly on sand sheets and dunes but with some areas of uplands. Kingsford et al. (1997) estimated 400,000 waterbirds in the system: Paroo River = 108,000, Paroo River Overflow = 29,000, Mullawooka Basin = 49,000, Lake Numalla = 25,600, Lake Peery = 35,900, Lake Poloko = 28,700, Lake Wyara = 85,000, Yantabulla Swamp estimate = 80,000, Yantangabee Lake = 35,000.
Key Biodiversity Species present in regionally important numbers include Australian Pelican (max 7400 in Currawinya), Eurasian Coot (12,987 in Currawinya) and Whiskered Tern (990 in Currawinya)(R. Johnson in litt. 2007). The vulnerable Painted Honeyeater and near threatened Grey Falcon and Australian Bustard are rare in the IBA (Atlas of Australian Birds database).
Non-bird biodiversity: A diverse reptile and frog fauna is documented for Currawinya National Park. In a relatively small mammal fauna, the koala and brush-tailed possum are notable as being at the western limits of their range in SW Queensland. A bilby Macrotis lagotis re-introduction project is underway. The Park contains several artesian discharge springs (Regional Ecosystem 6.3.23: Endangered -Nature Conservation Act (Qld))
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Black Swan Cygnus atratus||resident||1987-1993||13,330 individuals||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|Freckled Duck Stictonetta naevosa||unknown||1987-1993||12,600 individuals||medium||A4i||Least Concern|
|Pink-eared Duck Malacorhynchus membranaceus||unknown||1987-1993||52,470 individuals||medium||A4i||Least Concern|
|Australian Shoveler Spatula rhynchotis||unknown||1987-1989||26,700 individuals||medium||A4i||Least Concern|
|Grey Teal Anas gracilis||resident||1987-1993||47,600 individuals||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|Hardhead Aythya australis||unknown||1987-1993||19,700 individuals||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|Blue-billed Duck Oxyura australis||resident||1987-1993||150 individuals||-||A1, A4i||Near Threatened|
|Himantopus leucocephalus||unknown||1987-1993||7,000 individuals||medium||A4i||Not Recognised|
|Banded Stilt Cladorhynchus leucocephalus||non-breeding||1987-1993||4,700 individuals||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|Red-necked Avocet Recurvirostra novaehollandiae||unknown||1987-1993||14,540 individuals||medium||A4i||Least Concern|
|Red-capped Plover Charadrius ruficapillus||unknown||-||2,380 individuals||poor||A4i||Least Concern|
|Inland Dotterel Peltohyas australis||resident||1980-2008||uncommon||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Sharp-tailed Sandpiper Calidris acuminata||non-breeding||2000-2003||7,000 individuals||medium||A4i||Least Concern|
|Caspian Tern Hydroprogne caspia||unknown||1983-2005||12,680 individuals||poor||A4i||Least Concern|
|Bourke's Parrot Neopsephotus bourkii||resident||1980-2008||uncommon||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Grey-headed Honeyeater Lichenostomus keartlandi||resident||1980-2008||uncommon||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Black Honeyeater Certhionyx niger||unknown||1980-2008||frequent||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Pied Honeyeater Certhionyx variegatus||unknown||1980-2008||frequent||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Slaty-backed Thornbill Acanthiza robustirostris||resident||1980-2008||uncommon||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Hall's Babbler Pomatostomus halli||resident||1980-2008||frequent||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Chirruping Wedgebill Psophodes cristatus||resident||1980-2008||frequent||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Chestnut-breasted Quail-thrush Cinclosoma castaneothorax||resident||1980-2008||uncommon||-||A3||Least Concern|
|2008||high||not assessed||not assessed|
|Medium - based upon reliable but incomplete / partially representative data|
|Protected area||Designation||Area (ha)||Relationship with IBA||Overlap with IBA (ha)|
|Currawinya||National Park||151,300||protected area overlaps with site||146,335|
|Nocoleche||Nature Reserve||71,304||protected area overlaps with site||69,254|
|Paroo-Darling||National Park||176,516||protected area overlaps with site||89,460|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Forest||Acacia forests & woodlands; Eucalypt woodlands||major|
|Shrubland||Acacia shrublands; Chenopod shrubs, samphire shrubs and forblands||major|
|Wetlands (inland)||Ephemeral; Freshwater lakes & pools; Riverine floodplains; Saline lakes||major|
Land ownership Privately owned grazing properties with the national parks under the control of State bodies - Currawinya NP = QPWS; Nocoleche and Paroo-Darling NPs = NSW NPWS.
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
|nature conservation and research||major|
|Notes: Ramsar site; National Parks|
Protection status Te IBA overlaps the Currawinya and Paroo-Darling National Parks and the Nocoleche Nature Reserve.
Acknowledgements Richard Johnson drafted an IBA account for Currawinya NP; Richard Kingsford provided count data.
References DEWHA (2008) Directory of Important Wetlands in Australia. http://www.environment.gov.au/water/publications/environmental/wetlands/database/ accessed 2008.
Jaensch, R. (1998) An aerial and ground survey of waterbirds at Lakes Wyara and Numulla , Currawinya National Park, on 20-21 June 1998. Unpubl. report to Qld Dept of Environment.
Kingsford, R.T. and Porter, J.L. (1994) Waterbirds on an adjacent freshwater lake and salt lake in arid Australia. Biological Conservation 69: 219-228.
Kingsford, R.T. and Porter, J. (1999) Wetlands and waterbirds of the Paroo and Warrego Rivers. In 'Proceedings of the Paroo Scientific Workshop, Hungerford, Queensland. July 7-9 1997'. (Ed. R.T. Kingsford.) (New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service: Hurstville.)
Kingsford, R. T., Bedward, M. and Porter, J.L. (1994) Waterbirds and Wetlands in Northwestern New South Wales. National Parks and Wildlife Service, Hurtsville, NSW.
Kingsford, R. T.,Thomas, R.F. and Wong, P.S. (1997) Significant wetlands for waterbirds in the Murray-Darling Basin. National Parks and Wildlife Service, Hurtsville, NSW.
Maher, M.T. and Braithwaite, L.W. (1992) Patterns of waterbird use in wetlands of the Paroo, a river system of inland Australia. The Rangeland journal, 1992. v. 14 (2), p. 128-142.
McDougall, A. and Timms, B. (2001) The influence of turbid waters on waterbird numbers and diversity: a comparison of Lakes Yumberarra and Karatta, Currawinya National Park, south-west Queensland. Corella 25: 25-31.
QPWS (1992) Currawinya National Park Management Plan. Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, Brisbane.
Shelly, D. (2000) Comparative vertebrate fauna survey of the Paroo, Cobham and Gumbalara landsystems in the Western Division of New South Wales. Australian Zoologist, 31 (3): 470-481.
Wilson, J.R. (2000) Wader counts at Yantabulla Swamp (Cuttaburra Basin), New South Wales, Australia. Stilt 37: 32-33.
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Paroo Floodplain and Currawinya. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 21/11/2014
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