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Location Australia, Queensland
Central coordinates 145o 32.80' East  17o 16.93' South
IBA criteria A1, A4i
Area 35,418 ha
Altitude 620 - 875m
Year of IBA assessment 2008

BirdLife Australia



Summary The IBA supports more than 1% of the global population of the vulnerable Sarus Crane and an unquantified but apparently significant population of the near threatened Bush Stone-curlew.

Site description The IBA consists of Lake Tinaroo and an adjacent region of the Atherton Tablelands south of the lake and between Atherton and Malanda, in northern Queensland. The area is defined as including all sites which regularly support significant numbers of Sarus Cranes, including roosts and regular long-term feeding sites. This includes the whole extent of the open habitat along the shores of Lake Tinaroo. Other key roosting sites are at Hasties Swamp NP and on private land at Bromfield Crater. The climate of the IBA is tropical with warm to hot conditions throughout the year (mean maximum temperatures range from 22°C in July to 30°C in December) and most of the 1421 mm mean annual rainfall occurring in summer (Bureau of Meteorology 2007). The Atherton Tablelands is basaltic in origin and, with the exception of a few small volcanic cones, is mostly flat to gently undulating. The region mainly consists of arable land and improved pasture with numerous small wetlands and residual patches of rainforest, particularly along gullies. The region is dissected by a number of perennial streams and small rivers. Lake Tinaroo is 15 min northeast of Atherton and covers 4034 ha. The lake was formed after a dam blocking the Barron River was built in 1959. The dam is used for irrigation and recreational boating and fishing with numerous secluded inlets of varying depths and extent of aquatic vegetation. It is regularly stocked with fish in addition to large resident populations. The IBA also includes some remnant patches of rainforest supporting populations of many rainforest birds of conservation significance such as the Curtain Fig National Park.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Sarus Crane Antigone antigone non-breeding  1997-2008  1,050-3,200 individuals  good  A1, A4i  Vulnerable 
Bush Thick-knee Burhinus grallarius breeding  1998-2008  frequent  A1  Least Concern 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Curtain Fig National Park 195 protected area contained by site 195  
Danbulla Forest Reserve 17 protected area overlaps with site 9  
Hallorans Hill Conservation Park 25 protected area contained by site 25  
Hasties Swamp National Park 57 protected area contained by site 57  
Malanda Falls Conservation Park 19 protected area contained by site 19  
Nasser's Nature Reserve 34 protected area contained by site 34  
Yungaburra National Park 5 protected area contained by site 5  

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Artificial - terrestrial Arable land; Improved grassland & pasture; Other urban & industrial areas  79%
Forest Rainforest & vine thickets  minor
Wetlands (inland) Freshwater lakes & pools  major

Land ownership State government (including Environmental Protection Agency/Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service), local government and private.

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture major
rangeland/pastureland major
urban/industrial/transport minor
water management major
Notes: Major storage Lake Tinaroo

Other biodiversity Platypus are common at Lake Tinaroo.

Protection status Several small national parks and conservation areas.

Acknowledgements Thanks to Graham Harrington and Elinor Scambler as compilers.

References Bravery, J.A. (1970) The Birds of Atherton Shire, Queensland. Emu 70: 49-63.

Bureau of Meteorology (2007) Climate statistics for Atherton Post Office. Downloaded from http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/averages/tables/cw_031002.shtml on 21 November 2007.

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

Scambler, E. (in litt. 2008). Site Results Birds Australia North Queensland Group Crane Counts 1997 - 2007.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Atherton Tablelands. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 16/09/2014

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