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Location Australia, Tasmania
Central coordinates 146o 38.83' East  39o 28.30' South
IBA criteria A4ii
Area 154 ha
Altitude 0 - 335m
Year of IBA assessment 2009

BirdLife Australia

Summary The Curtis Island IBA supports more than 1% of the global population of Short-tailed Shearwater.

Site description Curtis Island is located north west of Flinders Island in the Bass Strait. Curtis Island is oriented south-west and is dominated by steep cliffs along the coastline. The 1.78m long ridge rises from north to south at a steady rate and is broken into two peaks. The northern peak is rounded and reaches 224.3m high while the southern peak reaches 335.3m high and is square-capped and vegetated. The soils are a mixture of granite gravels and bird-derived organic matter. Curtis Island is a significant island because of its soil type and species diversity (Brothers et al. 2001).

Key Biodiversity Other birds recorded include Little Penguin (1000 pairs), Fairy Prion (70 pairs), Pacific Gull (22 pairs), Sooty Oystercatcher (3 pairs), Cape Barren Goose (2 pairs with 2 goslings each), White-bellied Sea-Eagle (nest found), Swamp Harrier, Brown Falcon, Little Eagle, Olive Whistler, Forest Raven (Brothers et al. 2001). The numbers of nesting penguin may be much larger; and Australasian Gannet roost on a rock stack next to Cone Island (Rachael Alderman & Rosemary Gales in litt. 2008).

Non-bird biodiversity: Other animals present on Curtis Island include the Metallic Skink, Bougainvilles Skink, White's Skink and the White-lipped Whip Snake. No mammals were recorded. Other vegetation includes Disphyma crassifolium, Carpobrotus rossii and Stipa (Brothers et al. 2001).

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Short-tailed Shearwater Ardenna tenuirostris resident  390,000 nests  A4ii  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 whole area/population (>90%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Transportation and service corridors shipping lanes happening now whole area/population (>90%) no or imperceptible deterioration low

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Curtis Island Nature Reserve 149 protected area contained by site 149  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Coastline Sea cliffs, rocky shores & rocky islets  major
Grassland Tussock grasslands  major
Shrubland Other shrublands  minor

Land ownership Owned by the Tasmanian State Government and managed by the Department of Primary Industries and Water.

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
not utilised 100%
Notes: Nature Reserve

Protection status Curtis Island Nature Reserve.

Access/Land-Owner requests Permission should be sought from DPIW before visiting this Nature Reserve.

Acknowledgements The nomination was prepared by Birds Australia and Rachael Alderman and Rosemary Gales of DPIW kindly commented on the nomination.

References Brothers, N., Pemberton, D., Pryor, H. & Halley, V. (2001) Tasmania's Offshore Islands: seabirds and other natural features. Tasmanian Museum and Art gallery: Hobart.

Skira, I.J., Brothers, N.P. & Pemberton, D. (1996) Distribution, abundance and conservation status of Short-tailed Shearwaters Puffinus tenuirostris in Tasmania, Australia. Marine Ornithology 24: 1-14.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Curtis Island. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016

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