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Location Australia, Queensland
Central coordinates 143o 57.34' East  11o 26.41' South
IBA criteria A4i, A4ii
Area 32 ha
Altitude 0 - 6m
Year of IBA assessment 2009

BirdLife Australia

Summary Raine Island and nearby Moulter and Maclennan Cays regularly support over 1% of the world population of nesting Masked and Brown Boobies and have supported more than 1% of the world population of Common and Black Noddies. They also support regionally important populations of Herald Petrel, Red-footed Booby and Red-tailed Tropicbird.

Site description This IBA consists of the neighbouring islands of Raine Island, Moulter Cay and MacLennan Cay which, together with the surrounding seas, makes up the most significant seabird rookery in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. These are on the outer edge of the reef, just south of the tip of Cape York. The best-studied island, Raine, is a 21 ha coral cay that consists of a vegetated ridge surrounding a bare central depression, previously mined for phosphorous, located about 100 km ENE of Cape Grenville, north Queensland. The majority of the central bare depression is occupied by Masked Boobies, with Brown Boobies nesting around the edges and extending onto the vegetated ridges. MacLennan Cay is a 2.4 ha cay vegetated with a grass Lepturus repens, a herb Portulaca oleracea and a shrub Boerhavia diffusa. Moulter (previously called Pandora) Cay is a 8.6 ha cay vegetated with grass, herbs and a few shrubs. Raine and Moulter support the only Red-footed Booby nesting colony in the Great Barrier Reef. These islands, and the surrounding seas, are in the Great Barrier Reef Marine National Park under the control of the Raine Island Corporation.

Key Biodiversity Raine: about 2000 pairs of Wedge-tailed Shearwater in 1995; 330 Red-footed Booby nests in 1998 (Dyer 2003) and up to 229 pairs or 500 adult Red-footed Booby in 1980-2002; up to 101 pairs of Red-tailed Tropicbird in 1980-2002; Maclennan: up to 1000 pairs of Crested and Sooty Terns (GBR seabird database). Raine is possibly the only breeding site for Herald Petrel in Australia, but numbers are poorly known and very small,with a maximum count of seven birds (King 1986; Marchant and Higgins 1990).

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Lesser Frigatebird Fregata ariel resident  1980-2002  700-1,660 nests  A4ii  Least Concern 
Sula dactylatra resident  1980-2002  700-2,500 nests  A4ii  Not Recognised 
Brown Booby Sula leucogaster resident  1980-2002  3,700-16,000 nests  A4ii  Least Concern 
Brown Noddy Anous stolidus resident  1980-2002  50,000 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Black Noddy Anous minutus resident  1980-2002  50,000 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

2008 high 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%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
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 32  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Coastline Sand cays, islets & bars  100%

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

Land use

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

Protection status The IBA is identical to Raine Island National Park (Scientific).

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

References Dyer, P.K. (2003) Booby nesting on Raine Island, Great Barrier Reef. Corella 27: 102-105.

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

King, B.R., (1986) Raine Island, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland. Corella 10: 73-77.

Marchant, S. and Higgins. P.J. (1990) Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds Volume 1. Melbourne: Oxford University Press.

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

Taplin, A. and Blabler, S.J.M. (1993) Seabird breeding population studies at Raine Island. In Raine Island Environs, Great Barrier Reef: quest to preserve a fragile outpost of nature. Eds.: Smyth, A.K., Zevering, K.H. and Zevering, C.E. Brisbane: Raine Island Corporation.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Raine Island, Moulter and Maclennan Cays. Downloaded from on 22/10/2016

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