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Location Australia, South Australia
Central coordinates 138o 15.30' East  34o 26.62' South
IBA criteria A1, A4i
Area 25,557 ha
Altitude 0 - 10m
Year of IBA assessment 2009

BirdLife Australia

Summary This IBA regularly supports more than 1% of the world populations of Black-faced Cormorant, Red-necked Stint, Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, Banded Stilt, Red-capped Plover, Sooty Oystercatcher, Pied Oystercatcher and Silver Gull. The IBA also supports populations of the endangered Australasian Bittern and vulnerable Fairy Tern.

Site description This IBA consists of the continuous mudflats along the north and east of Gulf of St Vincent north of Adelaide. It extends from Ardrossan in the north-west, past the Price saltworks to the mouth of the Port River and Outer Harbour at Adelaide. The main habitats are two large salt works used by salt-tolerant shorebirds and as high-tide roosts for other shorebirds, intertidal mudflats and mangroves, and some other small coastal wetlands. Much of the IBA abuts residential and industrial development, especially to the north of Adelaide. Key sites within the IBA are Price saltworks (has supported threshold numbers of eight species), Clifton Conservation Park (six species), Parham (two species), Port Prime (one species), Dry Creek (=ICI, St Kilda, Penrice) saltfields, Salisbury wetlands especially Greenfields, Barker Inlet wetlands, Bolivar sewage works and Buckland Park Lake (seven species), Port River mouth (one species), Torrens island complex (one species) and Outer Harbour (two species). Many birds move between these sites and the area is best treated as a single IBA. Management of the IBA varies from unmanaged access to off-road vehicles in parts of Pt Gawler CP to well-managed access in the defence land south of Port Wakefield. Greenfields Wetlands and most of the freshwater part of Barker Inlet Wetlands are artificial wetlands created in the last 30 years; these have high bird conservation values but support different species to the natural habitats. The number of shorebirds using this IBA has declined since the 1970s and 1980s, and it no longer supports threshold numbers of several species.

Key Biodiversity A single high count of 200 Blue-billed Duck at Bolivar Sewage Ponds in 2001 (Atlas of Australian Birds database); this species may be regular in significant numbers but data are lacking. A single high count of 15,000 Whiskered Tern in 1993 at Dry Creek Saltfields, where thousands in 1985 (Carpenter et al. 2003). Other high counts in 2000 include 805 Greenshank, 743 Bar-tailed Godwit, 2019 Red Knot, 702 Great Knot and 1796 Curlew Sandpiper (Wilson 2000). Counts of 1300 Banded Lapwing in Clinton CP in 1985 and 500 in 1983 (Carpenter et al. 2003). One record of critically endangered Orange-bellied Parrot in October 2006 (Orange-bellied Parrot Winter Count and Re-sights Database). Several records of the vulnerable Australian Painted Snipe (C. Rogers in litt. 2007; Atlas of Australian Birds database) and at least one record of Australian Little Bittern (Atlas of Australian Birds database). Slender-billed Thornbill breeds in some saltmarsh areas and Rock Parrot was frequently reported in Atlas of Australian Birds surveys undertaken from 1998 to 2008 (Atlas of Australian Birds database).

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Australasian Bittern Botaurus poiciloptilus unknown  2008  1-2 individuals  medium  A1  Endangered 
Black-faced Cormorant Phalacrocorax fuscescens resident  1966-1993  2,000 nests  A4i  Least Concern 
Pied Oystercatcher Haematopus longirostris unknown  1979-2008  21-130 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Sooty Oystercatcher Haematopus fuliginosus unknown  1979-2008  119-146 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Banded Stilt Cladorhynchus leucocephalus non-breeding  1979-2008  12,592-13,936 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Red-capped Plover Charadrius ruficapillus unknown  1979-2008  1,731-3,810 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Red-necked Stint Calidris ruficollis non-breeding  1979-2008  18,382-28,912 individuals  A4i  Near Threatened 
Sharp-tailed Sandpiper Calidris acuminata non-breeding  1979-2008  4,864-16,864 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Larus novaehollandiae resident  1987  80,000 individuals  A4i  Not Recognised 
Fairy Tern Sternula nereis unknown  1998-2008  200 individuals  A1, A4i  Vulnerable 

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 (unknown use) likely in long term (beyond 4 years) some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Residential and commercial development housing and urban areas likely in long term (beyond 4 years) small area/few individuals (<10%) very rapid to severe deterioration low

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Barker Inlet-St. Kilda Aquatic Reserve 2,669 protected area overlaps with site 61  
Clinton Conservation Park 1,915 protected area contained by site 1,922  
Port Gawler Conservation Park 418 protected area contained by site 419  
St. Kilda-Chapman Creek Aquatic Reserve 1,270 protected area overlaps with site 574  
Torrens Island Conservation Park 604 protected area contained by site 80  
Wills Creek Conservation Park 2,298 protected area overlaps with site 1,661  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Shrubland Chenopod shrubs, samphire shrubs and forblands; Other shrublands  minor
Coastline Intertidal mud, sand & salt flats; Mangrove wetlands; Salt marshes  major

Land ownership Commonwealth/Federal (Department of Defence); South Australian state government (Department for Environment and Heritage); private (salt works).

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
fisheries/aquaculture minor
Notes: Commercial and recreational fishing.
nature conservation and research minor
urban/industrial/transport minor
Notes: Salt works; residential and industrial development abuts IBA.
not utilised major

Protection status Several - see separate section.

Access/Land-Owner requests Public access is prohibited on Department of Defence land at Proof Range.

Acknowledgements David Close, John Cox and Rodney Attwood commented on the nomination.

References Birds SA (2008) Shorebirds and saltfields. Wingspan 18: 12-15. Carpenter, G., Black, A., Harper, D. and Horton, P. (2003) Bird Report 1982-1999. South Australian Ornithologist 34: 93-151.

Close, D.H. (2008) Changes in wader numbers in the Gulf St Vincent, South Australia, 1979-2008. The Stilt 54: 24-27.

Copley, P.B. (1995) The status of seabirds in South Australia. Pp.139-180 in Ross, G.J.B., Weaver, K. and Greig, J.C. (eds) The status of Australia's seabirds. Canberra: Environment Australia.

Waterman, M. (1968) The Black-faced Cormorant breeding at Outer Harbor. South Australian Ornithologist 25: 23.

Wilson, J.R. (2000) South Australia wader surveys. January and February 2000. Unpublished report. Melbourne: Australian Wader Studies Group.

City of Salisbury (2008) Salisbury City Plan 2020: Sustainable Futures. Downloaded from in November 2008.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Gulf St Vincent. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016

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