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Location Australia, Northern Territory,Western Australia
Central coordinates 129o 4.91' East  15o 58.30' South
IBA criteria A1, A2, A3
Area 98,257 ha
Altitude 150 - 210m
Year of IBA assessment 2008

BirdLife Australia



Summary The IBA supports a significant population of the endangered Gouldian Finch as well as populations of four near threatened, one restricted-range and 10 biome-restricted species.

Site description This IBA is an area of the upper Keep River straddling the Western Australia - Northern Territory border about 400 km south-west of Darwin. The IBA is defined by the area known to support Gouldian Finches but much of the area is poorly surveyed and further fieldwork is needed to better define the boundaries. The area is dominated by open savanna woodland with an understorey of native grasses on sandstone, and areas of open grassland. The area is highly monsoonal, with rain falling mostly from December to March, averaging 873 mm annually at Newry Station. The hills are drained by a network of ephemeral creeks, and the larger rivers retain pools of water through the dry season. The key features supporting the Gouldian Finches are the low grazing pressure and history of few extensive hot fires, which allow grasses to seed, persistent waterholes for drinking and hollow-bearing trees for nesting. The 400 ha Newry Station Gouldian Finch site is on the Register of the National Estate and about half of the IBA is in the Keep River National Park. The Northern Territory portion of the IBA, and additional land immediately to the north of the IBA, is classified as a site of conservation significance by the Northern Territory Government (Ward and Harrison 2009).

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Bush Thick-knee Burhinus grallarius resident  1998-2008  uncommon  A1  Least Concern 
White-quilled Rock-pigeon Petrophassa albipennis resident  1998-2008  uncommon  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Varied Lorikeet Psitteuteles versicolor unknown  1998-2008  uncommon  A3  Least Concern 
Northern Rosella Platycercus venustus resident  1998-2008  frequent  A3  Least Concern 
White-gaped Honeyeater Lichenostomus unicolor resident  1998-2008  frequent  A3  Least Concern 
Yellow-tinted Honeyeater Lichenostomus flavescens resident  1998-2008  common  A3  Least Concern 
Silver-crowned Friarbird Philemon argenticeps resident  1998-2008  frequent  A3  Least Concern 
Bar-breasted Honeyeater Ramsayornis fasciatus resident  1998-2008  uncommon  A3  Least Concern 
Banded Honeyeater Certhionyx pectoralis unknown  1998-2008  frequent  A3  Least Concern 
Sandstone Shrike-thrush Colluricincla woodwardi resident  1998-2008  uncommon  A3  Least Concern 
Gouldian Finch Erythrura gouldiae resident  1998-2008  50-880 individuals  medium  A1, A3  Near Threatened 
Star Finch Neochmia ruficauda resident  1998-2008  uncommon  A1  Least Concern 
Masked Finch Poephila personata resident  1998-2008  624 individuals  good  A3  Least Concern 
Long-tailed Finch Poephila acuticauda resident  1998-2008  254 individuals  good  A3  Least Concern 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Keep River National Park 26,200 protected area overlaps with site 22,943  

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Grassland Hummock grasslands  major

Land ownership Mostly Newry pastoral lease and Keep River National Park; other leases in Western Australia. The national park is the responsibility of NT Natural Resources, Environment and the Arts.

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research major
rangeland/pastureland major
Notes: Newry Station

Protection status The IBA overlaps the Keep River National Park.

Access/Land-Owner requests Off-road access requires permission from the relevant station managers.

Acknowledgements Louise Harrison of NRETA provided draft accounts and advice on the site.

References Harrison, L., McGuire, L., Ward, S. Fisher, A., Pavey, C., Fegan, M. and Lynch, B. (2009) An inventory of sites of international and national significance for biodiversity values in the Northern Territory. Department of Natural Resources, Environment, the Arts & Sport, Darwin, NT. NRETA (2007) Northern Territory Fauna Atlas & Flora Databases. Department of Natural Resources, Environment & the Arts, Palmerston NT http://www.nt.gov.au/nreta/wildlife/animals/requests.html (accessed December 2007). O’Malley, C. (2006) National Recovery Plan for the Gouldian Finch (Erythrura gouldiae). WWF-Australia, Sydney and Parks and Wildlife NT, Department of Natural Resources, Environment and the Arts, NT Government, Palmerston. Ward, S. and Harrison, L. (2009) Recognising Sites of Conservation Significance for Biodiversity Values in the Northern Territory. Department of Natural Resources, Environment, the Arts & Sport, Darwin, NT. Woinarski, J.C.Z. and Tidemann, S.C. (1992) Survivorship and some population parameters for the enadangered Gouldian Finch Erythrura gouldiae and two other finch species at sites in tropical northern Australia. Emu 92: 33-38.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Keep River. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 20/09/2014

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