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Location Australia, South Australia
Central coordinates 139o 23.43' East  29o 3.70' South
IBA criteria A2, A3, A4i
Area 234,155 ha
Altitude 0 - 20m
Year of IBA assessment 2009

BirdLife Australia



Summary The IBA has supported significant numbers of eight waterbird species. It also supports populations of one restricted-range (endemic) and four biome-restricted species.

Site description The Strzelecki Desert Lakes IBA is comprised of a chain of lakes on lower Cooper Creek and Strzelecki Creek in north-east South Australia. The IBA is defined here as the maximum extent of the ephemerally flooded Cooper Creek floodplain from Lakes Hope (or Pando) and Appadare to Lakes Killalpaninna, Kooperamanna and Killamperpunna, and also Lake Gregory, Lake Blanche and Lake Callabonna. The creek systems flood irregularly but water persists in these lakes for several years (e.g. after a flood in 2000, Lake Hope remained wet until 2004). The lakes vary in their salinity. Cooper Creek is probably the longest and most important dryland river in Australia and one of the largest endorheic catchments in the world. Kingsford et al. (1999) estimated a total of 100,000 waterbirds in the Lower Cooper system in 1990-91 in addition to 50,000 unidentified small waders on Lake Blanche. The IBA partially overlaps with Strzelecki Regional Reserve.

Key Biodiversity There was an unverified report of three Night Parrots at Lake Walpayapeninna in 1986 (Badman 1989). The region supports small numbers of the near threatened Letter-winged Kite (rare to uncommon; Cox and Pedler 1977; Badman 1989), Grey Falcon (rare; Badman 1989; Barrett et al. 2003), Australian Bustard (generally uncommon; Badman 1989) and Bush Stone-curlew (rare to uncommon; Badman & May 1983; Badman 1989; Atlas of Australian Birds database). The Pied Cormorant is moderately common to common and was observed in flocks of 1000+ at Lake Hope, 500-600 at Lakes Kopperamanna and Killalpaninna and in smaller numbers at other lakes in 1978 (Badman 1989) and 2006, on the Lower Cooper in 1991 (Kingsford et al. 1999). The Black Swan is abundant when conditions are favourable, such as 3410 estimated at Lake Blanche in 1991 (Kingsford et al. 1999) and 1000 at Lake Kopperamanna in 1985 (Badman 1989) and 3774 on the Lower Cooper in 1990 (Kingsford et al. 1999). Counts of Australian Wood Duck include 2869 on the Lower Cooper and 2805 on Lake Blanche in 1991 (Kingsford et al. 1999), and 1489 at Lake Hope in 1990 (Badman 1989; Kingsford & Porter 1992). A count of 1840 Chestnut Teal at Lake Walpayapeninna in 1992 (Kingsford unpubl. data). The Black-tailed Native-hen is moderately common to abundant and occurs in large numbers after flooding, such as many thousands at Lake Killamperpunna in 1977 (Badman 1979) and 3635 on the Lower Cooper in 1990 (Kingsford et al. 1999). 45,728 Eurasian Coots were counted in 1990 (Kingsford et al. 1999). The Black-fronted Dotterel is common and widespread, with 100+ birds observed at the lower end of Cooper Creek in 1977 (Badman 1979, 1989; Badman and May 1983). The Sharp-tailed Sandpiper is moderately common when conditions are favourable and can occur in large numbers on lakes and floodwaters, such as 1000 at Lake Killamperpunna in 1977 (Badman 1979), 500 at Lake Appadare in 1979, hundreds at Lake Hope in 1980 (Badman and May 1983) and up to 500 at Lake Kopperamanna in 1985 (Badman 1989).

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Freckled Duck Stictonetta naevosa unknown  1983-2005  1,998 individuals  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Pink-eared Duck Malacorhynchus membranaceus unknown  1983-2005  81,306 individuals  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Grey Teal Anas gracilis unknown  1983-2005  46,207 individuals  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Hardhead Aythya australis unknown  1983-2005  29,575 individuals  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Australian Pelican Pelecanus conspicillatus unknown  1983-2005  10,000 individuals  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Banded Stilt Cladorhynchus leucocephalus unknown  1983-2005  14,861 individuals  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Red-necked Avocet Recurvirostra novaehollandiae unknown  1983-2005  10,000 individuals  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Caspian Tern Hydroprogne caspia unknown  1983-2005  6,095 individuals  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Eyrean Grasswren Amytornis goyderi resident  1998-2008  frequent  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Black Honeyeater Certhionyx niger unknown  1998-2008  uncommon  A3  Least Concern 
Banded Whiteface Aphelocephala nigricincta resident  1998-2008  uncommon  A3  Least Concern 
Chirruping Wedgebill Psophodes cristatus resident  1998-2008  frequent  A3  Least Concern 
Cinnamon Quail-thrush Cinclosoma cinnamomeum resident  1998-2008  common  A3  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

2008 medium not assessed not assessed
unset
Medium - based upon reliable but incomplete / partially representative data

Agricultural expansion and intensification livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - agro-industry grazing, ranching or farmin happening now some of area/population (10-49%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Invasive and other problematic species and genes invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - named species happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Natural system modifications dams & water management/use - small dams likely in long term (beyond 4 years) majority/most of area/population (50-90%) slow but significant deterioration medium

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Strzelecki Regional Reserve 810,422 protected area overlaps with site 57,892  

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Rocky areas Scree & boulders  minor
Shrubland Chenopod shrubs, samphire shrubs and forblands  minor
Wetlands (inland) Ephemeral; Saline lakes  major

Land ownership Strzelecki Regional Reserve is managed by the Department for Environment and Heritage. The remaining land is under pastoral lease.

Land use

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

Protection status The IBA overlaps with the Strzelecki Regional Reserve.

Acknowledgements Richard Kingsford provided access to unpublished data.

References Badman, F.J. (1979) Birds of the southern and western Lake Eyre drainage. South Australian Ornithologist 28: 29-55, 57-81.

Badman, F.J. (1989) The birds of middle and lower Cooper Creek in South Australia. Adelaide: Nature Conservation Society of South Australia.

Badman, F.J. and May, I.A. (1983) Waders in northern South Australia. South Australian Ornithologist 29: 29-39.

Barrett, G, Silcocks, A., Barry, S., Cunningham, R. and Poulter, R. (2003) The new atlas of Australian birds. Melbourne: Birds Australia.

Barter, M.A. and Harris, K. (2002) Occasional count no.6 Shorebird counts in the NE South Australia - SW Queensland region in September-October 2000. Stilt 41: 44-47.

Cox, J.B. and Pedler, L.P. (1977) Birds recorded during three visits to the far north-east of South Australia. South Australian Ornithologist 27: 231-250.

Kingsford, R. and Porter, J. (2006) Eastern Australian aerial survey database. Accessed 2006.

Kingsford, R.T., & Porter, J.L. (1992). Section 2. Distribution and abundance of waterbirds in the Lake Eyre-Cooper Creek Basin of north eastern South Australia August 1990-February 1991. In G. Drewien and L. Best, eds. A survey of the waterbirds in northeast South Australia 1990-1991. Adelaide: South Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service.

Kingsford, R.T., Curtin, A.L. and Porter, J.L. (1999) Water flows on Cooper Creek in arid Australia determine boom and bust periods for waterbirds. Biological Conservation 88: 231-248.

Kingsford, R.T., Porter, J.L., Smith, J.D.B. and Lawler, R. (1990) An aerial survey of wetland birds in eastern Australia - October 1989. New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service Occasional Paper 9.

Kingsford, R.T., Porter, J.L. and Ahern, A.D. (2003) Aerial surveys of wetland birds in eastern Australia - October 2000-2002. New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service Occasional Paper 33.

May, I.A. (1986) Appendix V. Birds of Innamincka Station. Pp. 123-137 in Rangeland Assessment Manual, Innamincka Station. Adelaide: South Australian Department of Land.

McGilp, J. and Morgan, A.M. (1931) The nesting of the Banded Stilt. South Australian Ornithologist 11: 37-53.

Parker, S.A. (1980) Birds and conservation parks in the north-east of South Australia. South Australian Parks and Conservation 3: 11-18.

Porter, J.L., Kingsford, R.T. and Hunter, S.J. (2006) Aerial surveys of wetland birds in eastern Australia - October 2003-2005. New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service Occasional Paper 37.

Reid, J.R.W. (1984) Appendix S. A checklist of birds of the north-east of South Australia, with annotations on general status and abundance and comments on occurrence or the possibility of occurrence in 8.4.4. Pp. S1-S41 in F.H. Mollenmans, J.R.W. Reid, M.B. Thompson, L. Alexander and L.P. Pedler, eds. Biological survey of the Cooper Creek Environmental Association (8.4.4.), north eastern South Australia. Adelaide: South Australian Department of Environment and Planning.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Strzelecki Desert Lakes. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 27/12/2014

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