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Location Australia, Queensland
Central coordinates 143o 13.19' East  12o 14.81' South
IBA criteria A4i, A4ii
Area 13 ha
Altitude 0 - 2m
Year of IBA assessment 2009

BirdLife Australia

Summary These four small neighbouring islands have supported more than 1% of the world population of Pied Imperial-Pigeon and Black Noddy.

Site description This IBA consists of the Piper Islands in the inner northern Great Barrier Reef, off the Olive River mouth south of Cape Grenville on the northern Cape York Peninsula. The IBA consist of all four islands: Beesley (2.4 ha cay with grasses and herbs), which is in the same reef as Baird (1 ha coral and shingle with mangroves) and, about 1 km away, Farmer (7 ha cay with grass/shrub exterior and wooded interior dominated by Pisonia grandis to 4 m high), which is in the same reef as Fisher (3 ha coral shingle with scrub and adjacent mangroves). The mangroves are dominated by Rhizophora stylosa and Avicennia marina and grow to 5 m high. There are only single records of more than 1% of the world population of any bird on both Farmer and Baird but all four islands are poorly surveyed. Other nearby islands, notably Quoin (4000 pairs Common Noddy in 1984-1986; 2200 pairs Black Noddy in 1990; 500-600 pairs Lesser Frigatebird in 1980-1981), could be added to the IBA if further surveys indicated higher numbers of birds on these islands. The islands and all surrounding seas are in the general use zone of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

Key Biodiversity Other birds have not been documented for this IBA.

Non-bird biodiversity: Hawksbill Turtles.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Black Noddy Anous minutus resident  1983-1988  7,500 nests  A4i  Least Concern 
Torresian Imperial-pigeon Ducula spilorrhoa resident  2001  4,000 nests  A4ii  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

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

Climate change and severe weather storms and floods likely in long term (beyond 4 years) whole area/population (>90%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Human intrusions and disturbance recreational activities happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) no or imperceptible deterioration low

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Site 34,870,000 protected area contains site 13  
Piper Islands National Park 7 unknown 7  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Coastline Mangrove wetlands; Sand cays, islets & bars  major

Land ownership Australian Federal Government with management the responsibility of GBRMPA.

Land use

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

Protection status The IBA overlaps with Piper Islands National Park.

Acknowledgements Paul O'Neill provided advice and access to the GBR seabird database.

References GBRMPA (1997) Guidelines for Managing Visitation to Seabird Breeding Islands. Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority unpublished report.

King, B.R. and Limpus, C.J. (1991) Piper Islands, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland. Corella 15: 53-54.

Queensland Parks & Wildlife Service (2007) GBR seabird database (accessed May 2007).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Piper Islands. Downloaded from on 21/10/2016

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