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Location Australia, Tasmania
Central coordinates 146o 58.82' East  43o 51.48' South
IBA criteria A1, A4ii
Area 2 ha
Altitude 0 - 60m
Year of IBA assessment 2009

BirdLife Australia

Summary Pedra Branca supports more than 1% of the world population of the near threatened Shy Albatross and more than 1% of the world population of Australasian Gannet.

Site description Pedra Branca is the southernmost island in Australia, lying 26 km south of Whale Head in the Southwest National Park. The IBA also includes the nearby small Eddystone and Sidmouth Rocks. Pedra Branca is a rocky island with steep slopes on its eastern and western sides which rise to a north-south aligned central ridge. The key seabird species nest on tiered rock platforms and sparsely-vegetated cliff ledges of the island. Nest mounds of 270 pairs of Shy Albatross are interspersed with nests of Australasian Gannets, numbers of which have increased by approximately 7% per year from about 1000 pairs in 1978 to a congested 3317 pairs in 1995. Other seabirds are restricted to sites on unsuitable lower ledges that are affected by sea and weather conditions. Australasian Gannet numbers at nearby Eddystone Rock have also increased in recent decades from 20 pairs in 1947 to 189 pairs in 1998, when all suitable habitat was occupied.

Key Biodiversity Fairy Prion, Pacific Gull, Kelp Gull and Black-faced Cormorant breed in very small numbers. Silver Gull numbers increased from 10 pairs in 1978 to 52 pairs in 1990, with most nests located on rocks and overhangs where Pedra Branca Skinks are most abundant.

Non-bird biodiversity: Silver Gulls are believed to be responsible for declining numbers of the endemic Pedra Branca Skink, of which fewer than 400 individuals survive. Up to 500 Australian Fur Seals are regular and New Zealand Fur Seals visit occasionally. Sarcocornia quinqueflora, which is sparse and confined to rock cracks, is the only plant species recorded for the island.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Thalassarche cauta resident  1995-2007  216-250 breeding pairs  A1, A4ii  Not Recognised 
Australasian Gannet Morus serrator resident  1995  3,515 breeding pairs  A4ii  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

2008 medium not assessed not assessed
Good - based on reliable and complete / representative data

Biological resource use fishing & harvesting aquatic resources - unintentional effects: large scale happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Invasive & other problematic species, genes & diseases problematic native species/diseases - named species happening now some of area/population (10-49%) no or imperceptible deterioration low

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Southwest National Park 618,267 protected area contains site 2  
Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Site 1,407,513 protected area overlaps with site 1  


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

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

Land use

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

Protection status Part of Southwest National Park.

Access/Land-Owner requests Public access is prohibited to protect breeding seabirds.

Acknowledgements The nomination was prepared by Peter Britton. Aleks Terauds and Sheryl Hamilton kindly supplied data. Rachael Alderman and Rosemary Gales of DPIW kindly commented on the nomination.

References Bunce, A., Norman, F.I., Brothers, N. and Gales, R. (2002) Long-term trends in the Australasian Gannet (Morus serrator) population in Australia: the effect of climate change and commercial fisheries. Marine Biology 14: 263-269.

BirdLife International (2007) Species factsheet: Thalassarche cauta. Downloaded from on 29/6/2007.

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

Robertson, G.G. and Gales, R.(1998) Albatross Biology and Conservation. Surrey Beatty & Sons Pty Ltd: Chipping Norton, New South Wales.

White, G.(1981) Islands of south-west Tasmania. A.T. Sutton & Co. Pty Ltd: Sydney.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Pedra Branca. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016

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