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Location Australia, Western Australia
Central coordinates 121o 49.70' East  33o 50.52' South
IBA criteria A1, A4i
Area 1,027 ha
Altitude 0 - 10m
Year of IBA assessment 2009

BirdLife Australia

Summary The IBA regularly supports more than 1% of the global population of Banded Stilt and usually supports significant numbers of the near threatened Hooded Plover.

Site description The IBA consists of Pink Lake, a coastal brine lake located approximately 6 km west of Esperance in south-western Western Australia. It is 1 km south-west of Lake Warden IBA. The Esperance region experience a temperate Mediterranean-type climate with warm, dry summers and cool, wet winters. Pink Lake is inundated by surface inflow and groundwater. The lake is near-permanent with infrequent periods of drying in autumn. The bed of the lake is formed of silt and clay above underlying siltstone, claystone and sandstone. The waters of the lake sustain high concentrations of the salt-tolerant algae Dunaliella salina, the presence of which renders the lake a pinkish colour, and the cyanobacterium Microcoleus vaginatus. The margins of the lake support samphire vegetation including at least one species of Halosarcia. A small commercial salt-field consisting of eight salt evaporation ponds is located in the north-eastern section of the lake and sometimes supports Hooded Plovers. A buffer of native vegetation more than 1 km wide occurs in south-west parts of the site, but narrower elsewhere; this vegetation has supported some restricted-range species.

Key Biodiversity At least 14 species of bird waterbird occur at Pink Lake (Atlas of Australian Birds Database).

Non-bird biodiversity: A single invertebrate species, a protozoan in the genus Cladostricha, has been recorded at the lake (Handley 1991).

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Banded Stilt Cladorhynchus leucocephalus unknown  1997-2006  12-12,000 individuals  unknown  A4i  Least Concern 
Hooded Plover Thinornis cucullatus resident  1995-2005  5-68 individuals  A1  Vulnerable 

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%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Human intrusions and disturbance recreational activities happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Artificial - aquatic Other artificial wetlands  4%
Wetlands (inland) Saline lakes  96%

Land ownership Crown Land managed by state government (Department of Environment and Conservation and Department for Planning and Infrastructure) and local government; and private (leasehold) land managed by WA Salt Supply.

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
energy production and mining minor
Notes: Commercial salt harvesting.
nature conservation and research major
not utilised major

Protection status None.

Access/Land-Owner requests No access to commercial salt works.

Acknowledgements Stuart Halse kindly provided details of his 2006 surveys, and Ken Read commented on the nomination.

References Bureau of Meteorology (2007) Climate of Esperance. Downloaded from in November 2007.

DEWHA (2008) A Directory of Important Wetlands in Australia. Pink Lake - WA029. Downloaded from in November 2007.

Esperance Visitor Centre (2007) Natural Attractions. Downloaded from in November 2007.

Handley, M.A. (1991) The Biota of Inland Salt Lakes of the Kambalda Region and Coastal Salt Lakes of Esperance, Western Australia - a Comparative Study. Dissertation for Bachelor of Applied Science, Curtin University of Technology.

Newbey, B.J. (1996) Report on Hooded Plover Project June 1994 to March 1996 RAOU (WA Group). Supplement to Western Australian Bird Notes 79.

Singor, M. (1999) Hooded Plover Report No. 2 1996-1999. Supplement to Western Australian Bird Notes 90.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Pink Lake (Esperance). Downloaded from on 26/10/2016

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