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Location Australia, Queensland
Central coordinates 139o 33.86' East  24o 49.41' South
IBA criteria A1, A2, A3, A4i
Area 90,941 ha
Altitude 70 - 80m
Year of IBA assessment 2009

BirdLife Australia

Summary The IBA has supported over 300,000 waterbirds, including more than 1% of the global populations of Freckled Duck, Pink-eared Duck, Australian Pelican, Straw-necked Ibis, Royal Spoonbill, Little Black Cormorant, Red-necked Avocet and Sharp-tailed Sandpiper. It also supports the near threatened Australian Bustard and the restricted-range Grey Grasswren.

Site description The IBA consists of Lake Mipia, Lake Koolivoo, Lake Machattie and the surrounding Georgina River-Eyre Creek floodplains in western Queensland. The area is defined as the extent of the floodplain, which has supported large numbers of waterbirds and supports a population of Grey Grasswren. The IBA is located in the arid zone in a region that receives, on average, 168 mm of rainfall per year. The floodplains are seasonally inundated but contain several large freshwater waterholes, which persist well after floods have receded. Lake Mipia and Lake Koolivoo are seasonally inundated each year; Lake Mipia often retains water until the following flood season, but Lake Koolivoo is usually dry by early summer. Lake Machattie is inundated about once every three years. All three lakes are fresh when first inundated but become progressively more saline when close to drying out. The floodplains are marked by anastomosing channels and waterholes lined with open Coolibah woodland and surrounded by grasslands, forblands, samphire and lignum on the floodplains. Estimates of total numbers of waterbirds include over 300,000 in March 2001 (179,000 estimated from systematic transects, not including the lakes, another 150,000 for the pelican colony), over 163,000 in May 2002 (Mipia 33,000 and Koolivoo 42,000 from aerial surveys, and Machattie 53,000 in aerial survey but 88,000 in ground survey), 150,000 in April 2000 (not including the lakes, based on systematic transects).

Key Biodiversity A single large but sub-threshold count of 859 Australian Pratincole at Lake Machattie in September 2000 (Barter & Harris 2002). A maximum count of 152 of the near threatened Black-tailed Godwit in shallow marsh near Lake Mipia on 17 April; 2001 (Jaensch 2004). The near threatened Letter-winged Kite is rarely encountered in the IBA (Atlas of Australian Birds database). Large numbers of the congregatory Flock Bronzewing (e.g. thousands use the Tomydonka Waterhole area during droughts; R. Jaensch in litt. 2009) have been recorded at waterholes in the general area; this may qualify as an IBA species if numbers are better known.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Freckled Duck Stictonetta naevosa breeding  2001-2002  1,201 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Pink-eared Duck Malacorhynchus membranaceus breeding  2002  17,000 individuals  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Straw-necked Ibis Threskiornis spinicollis breeding  2000-2001  15,600 breeding pairs  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Royal Spoonbill Platalea regia breeding  2000-2001  1,500 breeding pairs  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Australian Pelican Pelecanus conspicillatus breeding  2001  75,000 nests  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Little Black Cormorant Phalacrocorax sulcirostris breeding  2001  5,600 breeding pairs  medium  A4i  Least Concern 
Australian Bustard Ardeotis australis unknown  1998-2008  uncommon  A1  Least Concern 
Red-necked Avocet Recurvirostra novaehollandiae non-breeding  2001-2002  5,700 individuals  good  A4i  Least Concern 
Sharp-tailed Sandpiper Calidris acuminata non-breeding  2000  2,517 individuals  unknown  A4i  Least Concern 
Grey Grasswren Amytornis barbatus resident  1982-2008  frequent  A2, A3  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

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

Natural system modifications dams & water management/use - abstraction of surface water (commercial use) likely in long term (beyond 4 years) whole area/population (>90%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Natural system modifications fire & fire suppression - increase in fire frequency/intensity happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest Acacia forests & woodlands; Eucalypt woodlands  minor
Shrubland Chenopod shrubs, samphire shrubs and forblands; Other shrublands  major
Wetlands (inland) Ephemeral; Freshwater lakes & pools; Riverine floodplains; Rivers & streams  major

Land ownership Leasehold.

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
rangeland/pastureland 100%

Access/Land-Owner requests Permission to enter must be obtained from station owners.

Acknowledgements Roger Jaensch kindly provided much of the waterbird and ecological data for this IBA.

References 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.

Costelloe, J.F., Hudson, P.J., Pritchard, J.C., Puckridge, J.T. and Reid, J.R.W. (2004) ARIDFLO Scientific Report: Environmental Flow Requirements of Arid Zone Rivers with Particular Reference to the Lake Eyre Drainage Basin. School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Adelaide, Adelaide. Final Report to South Australian Department of Water, Land and Biodiversity Conservation and Commonwealth Department of Environment and Heritage.

DEWHA (2007) Directory of Important Wetlands in Australia. Lake Mipia Area- QLD034. Downloaded from on 10 October 2007.

Joseph, L. (1982) A further population of the Grey Grasswren. Sunbird 12: 51-53. Schodde, R. and Christidis, L. (1987) Genetic differentiation and subspeciation in the Grey Grasswren Amytornis barbatus (Maluridae). Emu 87: 188-192.

Jaensch, R. and McFarland, D. (2002) A population of Grey Grasswren Amytornis barbatus in the Diamantina Channel Country, Queensland. Sunbird 32:56-61.

Jaensch R.P. (2004) Little Curlew and other migratory shorebirds on floodplains of the Channel Country, arid inland Australia, 1999-2004. The Stilt 46: 15-18.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Lake Machattie Area. Downloaded from on 23/10/2016

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