|Location||Australia, Northern Territory|
|Central coordinates||134o 55.21' East 18o 19.94' South|
|Altitude||200 - 220m|
|Year of IBA assessment||2008|
Summary The IBA is an ephemeral wetland system that is estimated to have supported more than 200,000 waterbirds when extensively inundated. The system has periodically supported more than 1% of the global populations of Australian Pelican and Straw-necked Ibis. The inland breeding colonies of Australian Pelican and Straw-necked Ibis observed in the IBA are among the largest recorded for tropical Australia.
Site description The IBA is comprised of Tarrabool Lake and an unnamed swamp to the north-west of Tarrabool Lake on Eva Downs Station (unofficially titled Eva Downs Swamp). In wetter years, these two water bodies become broadly connected to form a single massive freshwater wetland of up to 275,000 ha. Tarrabool Lake and Eva Downs Swamp are seasonally inundated, but may retain water for 12 consecutive months (or more in the case of Tarrabool Lake) after major flood events. Tarrabool Lake is dominated by low sparse to open Coolibah woodland, with extensive open Lignum shrubland (often under Coolibah woodland) in the centre-east, large areas devoid of trees in the centre-north and centre-south, and smaller open areas elsewhere, and some patches of open Northern Bluebush shrubland. The heart of Eva Downs Swamp is dominated by open Belalie woodland, mostly in association with open Lignum shrubland, and is surrounded by open Northern Bluebush shrubland; and there is tall tussock grassland to the south-east, with some open Coolibah woodland on the southern margin. Ground-cover plants such as Schoenoplectus dissachanthus can grow prolifically on drying or marshy areas of the system, and Nardoo is common (DEWHA 2007; R. Jaensch pers. comm. 2007).
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Straw-necked Ibis Threskiornis spinicollis||breeding||1995||12,300 individuals||medium||A4i||Least Concern|
|Australian Pelican Pelecanus conspicillatus||breeding||1993||5,000 breeding pairs||medium||A4i||Least Concern|
|Himantopus leucocephalus||breeding||1995||3,250 individuals||medium||A4i||Not Recognised|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
Land ownership Four pastoral leasehold properties (Anthony Lagoon, Rockhampton Downs, Brunchilly and Eva Downs) managed by companies including Australian Agricultural Company and Heytesbury Beef.
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
Other biodiversity At least seven faunal species recorded in the Tarabool Lake-Eva Downs region are listed under international conventions or bilateral agreements protecting migratory animals .
Protection status None.
Access/Land-Owner requests The IBA is located on privately-owned land with public access at the discretion of landholders.
Acknowledgements Roger Jaensch of Wetlands International provided unpublished data, comments and interpretation on the habitat and waterbird information.
References Barkly Landcare and Conservation Association (2006) Environment NT grant: Tarabool Lake project - treating Parkinsonia. Paddock Notes 1(1): 10. DEWHA (2007) A Directory of Important Wetlands in Australia. http://www.environment.gov.au/water/publications/environmental/wetlands/database/ accessed 2 October 2007. 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. Jaensch, R. (2003a) Recent records and breeding of Painted Snipe Rostratula benghalensis in the Mitchell Grass Downs and Sturt Plateau, Northern Territory. Northern Territory Naturalist 17: 31-37. Jaensch, R. (2003b) Breeding by Freckled Duck Stictonetta naevosa, and a review of recent records, in the Barkly wetlands, Northern Territory. Northern Territory Naturalist 17: 38-42. Jaensch, R. and Bellchambers, K. (1997) Waterbird conservation values of ephemeral wetlands of the Barkly Tableland, Northern Territory. Unpublished report to Australian Heritage Commission and Parks & Wildlife Commission of the Northern Territory. NRETA (2005) Draft Northern Territory parks and conservation masterplan. Darwin: Department of Natural Resources, Environment and the Arts. 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.
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Tarrabool Lake-Eva Downs Swamp System. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 21/10/2014
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