|Location||Australia, South Australia|
|Central coordinates||137o 18.79' East 28o 35.92' South|
|Year of IBA assessment||2008|
Summary When flooded, Lake Eyre supports major breeding events of the congregatory Banded Stilt and Australian Pelican, and more than 1% of the global populations of the congregatory Silver Gull, Red-necked Avocet, Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, Red-necked Stint and Caspian Tern.
Site description The IBA is identical to Lake Eyre, which is located in central South Australia. The boundary of the IBA excludes dryland areas of Lake Eyre National Park and Elliott Price Conservation Park. Lake Eyre is both the largest saltlake and, at 15 m below sea level, the lowest point in Australia. It is a terminal catchment for various river systems in the arid region of central Australia, which are usually dry but occasionally flood. Lake Eyre floods from strong rainfall in the Queensland catchments (usually in La Niña years), or from local rain. It is flooded on average about once every eight years, but has been filled to capacity on only three occasions in the past 150 years. When flooding begins, the waters of Lake Eyre are almost fresh and can support freshwater fish carried to the lake by associated rivers. The salinity of the waters then increases as the salt crust dissolves, and brine shrimps hatch and breed unless depredated by fish from inflowing rivers. When over 4 m deep the lake is less salty than the sea but the salinity increases as the water evaporates. Many of the colonial birds nest on low, sparsely vegetated islands in the lake.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Australian Pelican Pelecanus conspicillatus||breeding||1984-2000||104,000 individuals||medium||A4i||Least Concern|
|Banded Stilt Cladorhynchus leucocephalus||breeding||1984-2000||78,874 individuals||medium||A4i||Least Concern|
|Red-necked Avocet Recurvirostra novaehollandiae||breeding||1977-2004||95,600 individuals||medium||A4i||Least Concern|
|Red-necked Stint Calidris ruficollis||non-breeding||1974-1984||12,000 individuals||poor||A4i||Least Concern|
|Sharp-tailed Sandpiper Calidris acuminata||non-breeding||1970-1990||7,000 individuals||poor||A4i||Least Concern|
|Larus novaehollandiae||breeding||1974-2000||25,000 breeding pairs||poor||A4i||Not Recognised|
|Caspian Tern Hydroprogne caspia||breeding||1976-1990||9,000 individuals||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|Protected area||Designation||Area (ha)||Relationship with IBA||Overlap with IBA (ha)|
|Elliot Price||Conservation Park||63,450||protected area overlaps with site||43,830|
|Lake Eyre||National Park||1,348,840||protected area contains site||874,660|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Wetlands (inland)||Ephemeral; Saline lakes||major|
Land ownership South Australian Government with management the responsibility of the Department for Environment and Heritage.
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
|nature conservation and research||100%|
Other biodiversity The entire population of the Lake Eyre Dragon is concentrated around Lake Eyre and nearby saltlakes.
Protection status The IBA covers large sections of Lake Eyre National Park and the Elliot Price Conservation Area.
Access/Land-Owner requests There are no public access tracks into Elliott Price Conservation Park.
References Badman, F.J. (1979) Birds of the southern and western Lake Eyre drainage. South Australian Ornithologist 28: 29-55, 57-81.
Baxter, C.I. (2003) Banded Stilt Cladorhynchus leucocephalus breeding at Lake Eyre North in year 2000. South Australian Ornithologist 34: 33-56.
Blakers, M., Davies, S.J.J.F. and Reilly, P.N. (1984). The Atlas of Australian Birds. Melbourne University Press: Melbourne.
Braithwaite, L.W., Maher, M.T. and Parker, B.S. (1985) An aerial survey of of wetland bird fauna in eastern Australia. October 1984. CSIRO Division of Wildlife and Rangelands Technical Memorandum 23.
Glover, C.J.M. (1989) Aquatic fauna. Pp. 94-96. In: Bonython, C.W. and Fraser, A.S. (eds) The Great Filling of Lake Eyre in 1974. Royal Geographical Society of Australasia: Adelaide.
Kingsford, R.T. and Porter, J.L. (1993) Waterbirds of Lake Eyre, Australia. Biological Conservation 65: 141-151.
Kingsford, R.T. and Porter, J.L. (2006) Eastern Australian aerial survey database. Accessed 2006.
Kingsford, R.T., Porter, J.L., Smith, J.D.B. and Lawler, W. (1990) An aerial survey of wetland birds in eastern Australia - October 1989. New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service Occasional Paper 9.
Lane, B.A. (1987) Shorebirds in Australia. Nelson: Melbourne.
Serventy, V. (1985) The Desert Sea: the Miracle of Lake Eyre in Flood. MacMillan: Melbourne.
Waterman, M.H. and Read, J.L. (1992) Breeding success of the Australian Pelican (Pelecanus conspicillatus) on Lake Eyre South in 1990. Corella 16: 123-126.
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Lake Eyre. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 21/08/2014
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