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Location Australia, Northern Territory
Central coordinates 132o 7.85' East  14o 5.50' South
IBA criteria A1, A2, A3
Area 104,951 ha
Altitude 150 - 210m
Year of IBA assessment 2008

BirdLife Australia



Summary The hills support populations of the endangered Gouldian Finch, the near threatened Chestnut-backed Button-quail, the restricted-range Hooded Parrot, and another seven species restricted to the Australian tropical savannas biome.

Site description This IBA is an area of hills 45 km north of Katherine in the southern Top End of the Northern Territory. The IBA is defined as the area known to support a breeding population of Gouldian Finches, bounded by Nitmiluk National Park and the Arnhem Plateau in the east. It is a series of rolling hills of skeletal sandy loams overlaid by angular cobbles. Mean annual precipitation is about 1000 mm, falling mostly from December to March. The hills are drained by a network of ephemeral creeks, which retain water through the dry season in scattered small pools. The rocky wooded hills are dominated by smooth-barked gums with an understorey of annual and perennial native grasses. The key features supporting the Gouldian Finches are the lack of grazing and few extensive hot fires, which enables native grasses to seed, persistent waterholes and springs for drinking, hollow-bearing trees for nesting, and perennial grasses on adjacent lowlands for feeding in the wet season. The site has been used by Traditional Owners and more recently for gold mine exploration.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Chestnut-backed Buttonquail Turnix castanotus resident  1986-1987  uncommon [units unknown]  A1, A2, A3  Least Concern 
Bush Thick-knee Burhinus grallarius unknown  1998-2008  uncommon [units unknown]  A1  Least Concern 
Varied Lorikeet Psitteuteles versicolor unknown  1986-2008  uncommon [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Northern Rosella Platycercus venustus resident  1986-2008  uncommon [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Hooded Parrot Psephotus dissimilis resident  1986-2008  uncommon [units unknown]  A2, A3  Least Concern 
White-gaped Honeyeater Lichenostomus unicolor unknown  1998-2008  frequent [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Yellow-tinted Honeyeater Lichenostomus flavescens unknown  1986-2008  frequent [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Silver-crowned Friarbird Philemon argenticeps resident  1986-2008  uncommon [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Bar-breasted Honeyeater Ramsayornis fasciatus unknown  1998-2008  uncommon [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Banded Honeyeater Certhionyx pectoralis unknown  1986-2008  abundant [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Gouldian Finch Erythrura gouldiae resident  1986-2006  150-250 individuals  medium  A1, A3  Near Threatened 
Masked Finch Poephila personata resident  1986-2008  frequent [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Long-tailed Finch Poephila acuticauda resident  1986-2008  frequent [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Nitmiluk (Katherine Gorge) National Park (Aboriginal) 180,190 protected area overlaps with site 8,529  

Habitats

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

Land ownership Predominantly Aboriginal freehold land (Wagiman Aboriginal Land Trust and Barnjarn Aboriginal Corporation). West of the Stuart Highway there are some parcels of privately owned freehold land and a small area of Nitmiluk National Park.

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
other major
Notes: Traditional use. Gold mine exploration.

Protection status IBA includes a small area of Nitmiluk National Park.

Access/Land-Owner requests Access off the roads requires permission from the Traditional Owners.

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 and the Arts, NT Government, Palmerston. O’Malley, C. (2006) National Recovery Plan for the Gouldian Finch (Erythrura gouldiae). 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. WWF-Australia, Sydney and Parks and Wildlife NT, Department of Natural Resources, Environment and the Arts, NT Government, Palmerston. Woinarski, J.C.Z. and Tidemann, S.C. (1991) The bird fauna of a deciduous woodland in the wet-dry tropics of northern Australia. Wildlife Research 18: 479-500. 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: Yinberrie Hills. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 21/04/2014

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