email a friend
printable version
Location Australia, Western Australia
Central coordinates 123o 9.50' East  15o 31.45' South
IBA criteria A4i, A4ii
Area 276 ha
Altitude 0 - 5m
Year of IBA assessment 2009

BirdLife Australia

Summary Adele Island IBA supports more than 1% of the world's population of Brown Boobies, Lesser Frigatebirds, Red-necked Stint and Grey-tailed Tattler.

Site description Adele Island is a low, flat, sandy cay about 100 km north-north-east of Cape Leveque, north of Broome in Western Australia. It is 2.9 km by 1.6 km and with a maximum height of 4 m but surrounded by 25 km by 11 km of reefs and sand banks. The island is vegetated sand with a large tidal lagoon and a mast, beacon and weather station. The lowest, most frequently inundated areas support grasslands of Sporobolus virginicus, on which Brown Boobies nest, while slightly elevated soils have a dense cover of Spinifex longifolius, on which Lesser Frigatebirds nest. It has a wet-dry monsoonal climate with short, wet summers and dry autumn, winter and spring.

Key Biodiversity Adele Island supports large numbers of shorebirds - a total of 24,070 were recorded from 19-24 November 2004. This included high numbers of the following species: Bar-tailed Godwit (4819), Ruddy Turnstone (1250), Greater Sand Plover (2046), Little Tern (1366), Black Noddy (600) and the Masked Booby (694). Nesting birds recorded include the Lesser Frigatebird, Masked Booby, Brown Booby, Red-footed Booby, Eastern Reef Egret, Bridled Tern and Common Noddy (Boyle et al., 2006). Australian Pelican was also recorded nesting (Burbidge et al., 1987)

Non-bird biodiversity: Green Turtles have been seen mating off shore and 8 new turtle nest were discovered, they were presumed to be Green Turtle nests (Boyle et al., 2006). Polynesian Rat.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Lesser Frigatebird Fregata ariel resident  1982  2,000-5,700 breeding pairs  A4ii  Least Concern 
Brown Booby Sula leucogaster resident  1972-1993  1,500-8,500 breeding pairs  A4ii  Least Concern 
Grey-tailed Tattler Tringa brevipes non-breeding  2004  5,489 individuals  good  A4i  Near Threatened 
Red-necked Stint Calidris ruficollis non-breeding  2004  4,107 individuals  good  A4i  Near Threatened 

IBA Monitoring

2008 medium not assessed not assessed
Medium - based upon reliable but incomplete / partially representative data

Invasive & other problematic species, genes & diseases invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - named species happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Adele Island Nature Reserve 217 is identical to site 217  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Coastline Sea cliffs, rocky shores & rocky islets  100%

Land ownership Western Australia State Government with management the responsibility of Dept of Environment & Conservation.

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research 100%

Protection status The IBA is the Adele Island Nature Reserve.

Access/Land-Owner requests Apply to DEC for permission.

Acknowledgements The nomination was prepared by Andrew Burbidge with consultation with DEC.

References Boyle, A., Swann, G., Willing, T., Gale, T., and Collins, P. (2006). Adele Island Survey Report. Unpublished.

Burbidge, A.A., Fuller, P.J., Lane, J.A.K. & Moore, S.A. 1987. Counts of nesting boobies and Lesser Frigate-birds in Western Australia. Emu 87, 128-9.

Burbidge, A.A. and McKenzie, N.L. 1978. The islands of the north-west Kimberley, Western Australia. Wildlife Research Bulletin of Western Australia 7: 1-47. [Western Australian Wildlife Research Centre, Dept of Fisheries and Wildlife, Perth, WA.]

Coate, K. 1997. Adele Island, Western Australia. Corella 21: 124-128.

Contribute  Please click here to help BirdLife conserve the world's birds - your data for this IBA and others are vital for helping protect the environment.

Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Adele Island. Downloaded from on 24/10/2016

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife