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Location Australia, Western Australia
Central coordinates 119o 31.37' East  29o 11.94' South
IBA criteria A4i
Area 193,744 ha
Altitude 400 - 420m
Year of IBA assessment 2009

BirdLife Australia

Summary The IBA has supported one of the largest recorded breeding events of the congregatory Banded Stilt.

Site description The IBA consists of Lake Barlee and surrounding small satellite lakes in south-western Western Australia. Lake Barlee is a large ephemeral saline lake that is probably inundated about once every ten years following major rainfall events. The lake, which receives water from direct precipitation and periodic inflow from many short creeks, may retain water for six to nine months after major rainfall events. The bed of Lake Barlee is bare but features some exposed greenstone rocks and many hundreds of islands of variable size (microscale to macroscale) and height (less than one to more than 10 m) that support low samphire vegetation. The margin of Lake Barlee also supports low samphire vegetation. When Lake Barlee is inundated, at least five of the islands may support large numbers of breeding Banded Stilt.

Key Biodiversity At least 15 species of waterbird have been recorded at Lake Barlee. Six of the 15 species (Black Swan, Australian Shelduck, Pink-eared Duck, Black-winged Stilt, Banded Stilt and Red-capped Plover) are known to breed at Lake Barlee (Chapman & Lane 1997; DEWHA 2007).

Non-bird biodiversity: Eleven taxa of invertebrate were recorded at Lake Barlee during an inundation event in July 1992 with ostracods (Diacypis spp., Cypridae spp.), copepods (Calamoecia spp.) and brine shrimp (Parartemia spp.) found to be abundant at this time (Australian Wetlands Database 2001).

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Banded Stilt Cladorhynchus leucocephalus breeding  1980-1995  179,000 nests  A4i  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

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

Energy production and mining mining and quarrying likely in long term (beyond 4 years) some of area/population (10-49%) moderate to rapid deterioration medium
Invasive & other problematic species, genes & diseases invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - named species happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Mount Elvire (Proposed) Reserve 154,964 protected area overlaps with site 10,242  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Wetlands (inland) Saline lakes  100%

Land ownership Unallocated Crown land managed by the Western Australian Department for Planning and Infrastructure. Northern Uranium Limited are currently awaiting approval of an application to mine a 227 km² block of land that includes the part of the bed at the south-western end of Lake Barlee (Northern Uranium Limited 2006) and other mining companies are prospecting in the area.

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
not utilised 100%

Protection status The IBA overlaps with the proposed Mt Elvire Reserve.

Acknowledgements A. Chapman, J.A.K. Lane, G. Pearson and Roger Jaensch (of Wetlands International) kindly provided data and comments.

References Burbidge, A.A. and Fuller, P.J. (1982) Banded Stilt breeding at Lake Barlee, Western Australia. Emu 82: 212-216.

Chapman, A. and Lane, J.A.K. (1997) Waterfowl usage of wetlands in the south-east arid interior of Western Australia 1992-93. Emu 97: 51-59.

DEWHA (2007) A Directory of Important Wetlands in Australia. Lake Barlee - WA059. accessed on 1 November 2007.

Northern Uranium Limited (2006) Projects - Lake Barlee. accessed on 1 November 2007.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Lake Barlee. Downloaded from on 22/10/2016

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