|Location||Australia, Western Australia|
|Central coordinates||126o 27.45' East 17o 19.50' South|
|IBA criteria||A1, A2, A3|
|Altitude||200 - 706m|
|Year of IBA assessment||2009|
Summary The Mornington Wildlife Sanctuary IBA supports significant populations of the threatened Red Goshawk and Gouldian Finch, five near threatened species, two more restricted-range species, 12 more tropical savanna biome-restricted species and two arid biome-restricted species.
Site description Mornington Wildlife Sanctuary IBA follows the boundaries of the station, now a Wildlife Sanctuary, in the Pentecost subregion of the Central Kimberley bioregion of north-west Australia. The IBA is identical to the property as it is managed for biodiversity conservation, specifically Gouldian Finches. The adjacent Marion Downs station has recently been acquired for conservation and may be added to the IBA if the new management enables it to support significant numbers of the key birds. The landscape is dominated by massive sandstone mesas and heavily folded sandstone ranges, but also includes low escarpments, volcanic plains, glacial rock pavements, and valleys with deep alluvia. The annual rainfall is about 700 mm per year. Several permanent waterways run through the property, most notably the major tributaries and the upper reaches of the Fitzroy River. The dominant vegetation types on Mornington are various types of tropical savanna - using the Beard classification system, the National Land and Water Resources Audit identified 12 different savanna-based Vegetation Associations on the property. Other ecosystems are embedded within the savanna, including fire-sensitive systems such as riparian systems and Livistona gullies, herb fields on sandstone pavements, Callitris intratropica communities, and sandy seepage areas at the base of sandstone ranges. All of these ecosystems are considered 'at risk' by the NLWR Audit. The bird fauna is a mix of semi-arid rangeland and tropical savanna species.
Key Biodiversity Thus bird diversity is high, with over 195 species recorded here to date. Mornington also has significant numbers of several bird species of conservation significance at state and/or federal level including Square-tailed Kite, Peregrine Falcon and Pictorella Mannikin. The riparian areas have high numbers of raptors, especially Barking Owl, Southern Boobook, Brown Falcon, Grey Goshawk, and Collared Sparrowhawk. Diurnal raptor diversity is high in general, with 20 species recorded out of the 24 listed for Australia. Because Mornington lies between the wetter areas of the north Kimberley, and the drier deserts to the south, some unusual species turn up in reasonable numbers seasonally, including Black Honeyeater, Shining Flycatcher, Hooded Robin and Yellow Chat. The sanctuary also supports small numbers of the near threatened Star Finch and Blue-billed Duck.
Non-bird biodiversity: Mornington Wildlife Sanctuary contains 20 species of frog, 65 species of reptile, and at least 29 species of mammal (including 20 non-volant species). These totals grow as more fauna surveys are undertaken. Species of conservation significance include Crocodylus johnstoni (Specially Protected Fauna under WA legislation), Petropseudes dahli and Hydromys chrysogaster (both Priority Fauna under WA legislation), and Dasyurus hallucatus (Endangered under EPBC Act). The list of plant species is continually growing, but currently stands at over 600, including several listed as Priority Flora under WA State legislation, and one plant that is federally listed as vulnerable - Eucalyptus mooreana.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Grey Falcon Falco hypoleucos||unknown||2004||2-6 individuals||medium||A1, A3||Vulnerable|
|Red Goshawk Erythrotriorchis radiatus||resident||2004||10-20 individuals||medium||A1||Near Threatened|
|Australian Bustard Ardeotis australis||resident||2006||250-500 individuals||good||A1||Least Concern|
|Chestnut-backed Buttonquail Turnix castanotus||resident||2006||100-200 individuals||medium||A1, A2, A3||Least Concern|
|Bush Thick-knee Burhinus grallarius||resident||2006||250-500 individuals||medium||A1||Least Concern|
|White-quilled Rock-pigeon Petrophassa albipennis||resident||2006||800-1,200 individuals||medium||A2, A3||Least Concern|
|Varied Lorikeet Psitteuteles versicolor||non-breeding||2006||5,000-8,000 individuals||medium||A3||Least Concern|
|Northern Rosella Platycercus venustus||resident||2006||800-1,200 individuals||good||A3||Least Concern|
|Purple-crowned Fairywren Malurus coronatus||resident||2006||250-350 individuals||good||A3||Least Concern|
|White-gaped Honeyeater Lichenostomus unicolor||resident||2006||4,000-7,000 individuals||medium||A3||Least Concern|
|Yellow-tinted Honeyeater Lichenostomus flavescens||resident||2006||8,000-12,000 individuals||medium||A3||Least Concern|
|Silver-crowned Friarbird Philemon argenticeps||resident||2006||4,000-6,000 individuals||medium||A3||Least Concern|
|Bar-breasted Honeyeater Ramsayornis fasciatus||resident||2006||6,000-10,000 individuals||medium||A3||Least Concern|
|Banded Honeyeater Certhionyx pectoralis||resident||2006||8,000-12,000 individuals||medium||A3||Least Concern|
|Sandstone Shrike-thrush Colluricincla woodwardi||resident||2006||150-300 individuals||medium||A3||Least Concern|
|Buff-sided Robin Poecilodryas cerviniventris||resident||2006||22-40 individuals||good||A3||Least Concern|
|Spinifexbird Eremiornis carteri||resident||2006||100-200 individuals||medium||A3||Least Concern|
|Gouldian Finch Erythrura gouldiae||resident||2006||800-1,200 individuals||good||A1, A3||Near Threatened|
|Painted Finch Emblema pictum||resident||2006||5,000-10,000 individuals||medium||A3||Least Concern|
|Masked Finch Poephila personata||resident||2006||100-200 individuals||medium||A3||Least Concern|
|Long-tailed Finch Poephila acuticauda||resident||2006||10,000-15,000 individuals||medium||A3||Least Concern|
|2008||high||not assessed||not assessed|
|Good - based on reliable and complete / representative data|
|Invasive and other problematic species and genes||invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - named species||happening now||majority/most of area/population (50-90%)||slow but significant deterioration||high|
|Natural system modifications||fire & fire suppression - trend unknown/unrecorded||happening now||majority/most of area/population (50-90%)||slow but significant deterioration||high|
|Protected area||Designation||Area (ha)||Relationship with IBA||Overlap with IBA (ha)|
|Mornington||Other Conservation Area||320,668||is identical to site||320,668|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Forest||Eucalypt low open forests; Eucalypt woodlands; Rainforest & vine thickets||65%|
|Grassland||Hummock grasslands; Tussock grasslands||30%|
|Rocky areas||Scree & boulders||5%|
Land ownership Mornington Wildlife Sanctuary is privately owned and managed by Australian Wildlife Conservancy for conservation purposes.
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
|nature conservation and research||100%|
Protection status The IBA is identical to Mornington Wildlife Sanctuary.
Access/Land-Owner requests A small visitor facility enables the public to visit the property, experience its wildlife and wilderness values, and be exposed (through an Interpretation Program) to the threats facing Australia's tropical savanna.
Acknowledgements Sarah Legge wrote the nomination and has helped advise on IBAs across the northern savanna.
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2015) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Mornington Sanctuary. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 06/05/2015
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