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Location Australia, Queensland
Central coordinates 149o 5.44' East  21o 3.49' South
IBA criteria A1, A2, A4i
Area 13,388 ha
Altitude 0 - 10m
Year of IBA assessment 2009

BirdLife Australia

Summary The IBA regularly supports more than 1% of the global populations of Eastern Curlew, Great Knot, Grey-tailed Tattler and Pied Oystercatcher, and significant numbers of the near-threatened Beach Stone-curlew and the restricted-range Mangrove Honeyeater.

Site description This IBA consists of a series of beaches from Repulse Bay south through Mackay to Ince Bay in central Queensland. It is defined as all of the coastal habitat known by Queensland Wader Study Group to support significant numbers of feeding or roosting shorebirds, including the following: Proserpine River Sand Spit, Deadmans Creek New Beach and O’Connel River mouth in Repulse Bay, then excludes less suitable habitat past Midge Point to the bay north of St Helens Beach, then including from this bay past Stone Island North, Port Newry and Finlaysons Point to Seaforth Beach and Creek, then excluding the rocky coast around Cape Hillsborough, then including Sand Bay to Shoal Point (including Williamson's Beach, Belmunda Beach south, Habana Wharf and Nells Beach), Sunset Bay and Blacks Beach / Slade Bay, then excluding rocky coast from Slade Point to Mackay Harbour , then including Pioneer River mouth, Town Beach, Far Beach, Shellgrit Creek, Baker's Creek, McEwan's Beach, Dunrock South Arm and Alligator Creek to Dudgeon Point, then excluding less suitable habitat to Freshwater Point near Sarina, then including Ince Bay, including Armstrong Beach, Llewellyn Bay and Hogans Camp to Rocky Island at Cape Palmerston. Most of the IBA is intertidal mudflats and estuaries, with some sandy areas and backing mangroves. The IBA also includes the following islands which support roosting shorebirds: Temple Island, Rocky Island at Cape Palmerston (also know as Deadman’s Island), Irving Island, Cullen Island, Taffy Island, Victor Island, Round Top Island, Flat Top Island, Slade Island, Green Island, Wedge Island, South Red Cliff Island, Mausoleum Island, Acacia Island, Outer Newry Island, Newry Island, and Rabbit Island. The excluded areas are mostly exposed rocky or sandy coasts. The extent of shorebird movement between beaches and roosts is poorly known and some sections of this IBA, notably Ince Bay, may better be treated as separate IBAs.

Key Biodiversity The maximum number migratory waders recorded during a single survey was 23,140 in 2007. Actual numbers are likely to higher than counts indicate because surveys do not cover the entire area of the IBA. During the northward migration in April, Lesser Sand Plover (maximum count 2637 in 2006), Red-necked Stint (maximum 3692 in 2007), Grey-tailed Tattler and Whimbrel (maximum count 1960 in 2008) stage in the area. During the southward migration in October, Greater Sand Plover (maximum count 2732 in 2007), Grey-tailed Tattler, Pacific Golden Plover (maximum count 677 in 2008) and Whimbrel stage in the area. Other species recorded in the IBA include the near threatened Bush Stone-curlew (maximum count 12 in 2003). Surveys have targeted wader roosts and as such have excluded bushland habitat.) and Black-tailed Godwit (maximum count 331 in 2003), and the Bar-tailed Godwit (maximum count 4360 in 2003), Sharp-tailed Sandpiper (maximum count 1030 in 2003), Sooty Oystercatcher (maximum count 77 in 2008) and Red-capped Plover (maximum count 542 in 2008) (Queensland Wader Study Group database).

Non-bird biodiversity: The seas off the IBA are an important calving ground for migrating humpback whales. Significant numbers of dugongs are present. Flatback turtles nest on the mainland beaches, while flatback and green turtles nest on the offshore islands.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Beach Thick-knee Esacus magnirostris resident  2003-2008  18 individuals  medium  A1  Near Threatened 
Pied Oystercatcher Haematopus longirostris resident  2002-2008  302-662 individuals  good  A4i  Least Concern 
Grey-tailed Tattler Tringa brevipes non-breeding  2002-2008  358-1,312 individuals  good  A4i  Near Threatened 
Far Eastern Curlew Numenius madagascariensis non-breeding  2002-2008  294-1,324 individuals  good  A4i  Endangered 
Great Knot Calidris tenuirostris non-breeding  2002-2008  4,407-6,701 individuals  good  A4i  Endangered 
Mangrove Honeyeater Lichenostomus fasciogularis resident  2003-2007  frequent  A2  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

2008 low not assessed not assessed
Good - based on reliable and complete / representative data

Human intrusions and disturbance recreational activities happening now some of area/population (10-49%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Residential and commercial development housing and urban areas happening now some of area/population (10-49%) no or imperceptible deterioration low

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Bakers Creek Conservation Park 572 protected area contained by site 46  
Ball Bay - Sand Bay Dugong Protection Area (B) 7,461 protected area overlaps with site 1,801  
Bassett Basin Fish Habitat Area B 671 protected area overlaps with site 134  
Cape Palmerston Fish Habitat Area A 8,834 protected area overlaps with site 1,582  
Cape Palmerston National Park 7,200 protected area overlaps with site 53  
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park 34,440,000 protected area overlaps with site 8,009  
Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Site 34,870,000 protected area overlaps with site 11,112  
Ince Bay (Cape Palmerston - Allom Point) Dugong Protection Area (A) 6,985 protected area overlaps with site 1,553  
Llewellyn Bay Dugong Protection Area (B) 12,714 protected area overlaps with site 229  
Mackay / Capricorn Marine Park 3,400,190 protected area overlaps with site 8,145  
Repulse Fish Habitat Area A 69,755 protected area overlaps with site 1,965  
Sand Bay Fish Habitat Area A 11,482 protected area overlaps with site 3,278  
Sandringham Bay Conservation Park 534 protected area overlaps with site 162  
Skull Knob Conservation Park 28 protected area overlaps with site 11  
Stewart Peninsula - Newry Island - Ball Bay Dugong Protection Area (A) 16,294 protected area overlaps with site 1,197  
Townsville / Whitsunday Marine Park 767,027 protected area overlaps with site 1,510  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Coastline Estuarine waters; Intertidal mud, sand & salt flats; Mangrove wetlands; Salt marshes; Sand cays, islets & bars; Sea cliffs, rocky shores & rocky islets  100%

Land ownership Mackay City, Sarina and Whitsunday Shire Councils.

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
fisheries/aquaculture major
nature conservation and research major
tourism/recreation major

Protection status Several - see separate section.

Acknowledgements Dez Wells of Birds Australia Southern Queensland prepared the nomination with the help of the Queensland Wader Study Group who collected all of the data.

References Driscoll, P.V. (1996) The distribution of waders along the Queensland coastline. Report to the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage.

Harding, S. and Milton, D. (2003) Mackay Shorebird Project Final Report. Unpublished report. Queensland Wader Study Group.

Queensland Wader Study Group (2008) QWSG goes surveying in Mackay again. Queensland Wader 63: 7-9.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Repulse Bay to Ince Bay. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife