Buckley River

Country/territory: Australia

IBA Criteria met: A1, A2, A3 (2009)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 479,029 ha

Protection status:

BirdLife Australia
Most recent IBA monitoring assessment
Year of assessment Threat score (pressure) Condition score (state) Action score (response)
2008 high not assessed not assessed
For more information about IBA monitoring please click here

Site description
The Buckley River IBA occurs in the Mount Isa and Camooweal area. The IBA boundary is defined by cadastral boundaries of existing grazing leases that contain known locations at which Carpentarian Grasswrens have been recorded. The Buckley River runs through central parts of the IBA and has its source within the IBA and is a major tributary of the Georgina River system that forms part of the Lake Eyre Basin. About 95% of the IBA is leased from the State for grazing, and about 80% has mineral exploration leases, although the extent of exploration is highly variable over time. There are also several small active mining leases covering about 5% of the IBA. The landform includes gently undulating plains, low rises and some low hills. Undulating plains, valley bottoms and plateau surfaces generally favoured by Carpentarian Grasswren occur throughout the IBA, but dominate the southern and western parts. These areas have lateritic red earths, skeletal soils and shallow loams and clays. The vegetation is generally open with scattered trees of Eucalyptus leucophylla, E. leucophloia, Corymbia terminalis and scattered shrubs with a prominant ground layer of large hummocks of Triodia spp. with bare ground between. Patches of gidgee Acacia cambagei are scattered throughout. Low hills in eastern parts of the IBA are composed of eroded siliceous sedimentary metamorphic pre-Cambrian rocks with skeletal soils and some red earths. On these rises and hills the vegetation is dominated by Eucalyptus leucophloia with a sparse Triodia spp. or tussock grass understorey. Scattered low mesas in the north of the IBA have skeletal soils and carry low open woodland of Acacia shirleyi and Eucalyptus leucophloia. A number of seasonal streams have fringing vegetation of Eucalyptus camaldulensis with Lophostemon grandiflorus and narrow frontage of Eucalyptus pruinosa, E. leucophylla and Corymbia aparrerinja. In southern parts of the IBA there are small areas of Dichanthium fecundum and Astrebla spp. tussock grassland on clay plains.

Key biodiversity
The IBA is one of the most visited sites in Australia for viewing the Carpentarian Grasswren. This bird watching activity is generally restricted to one popular site although the bird has been seen in a number of other locations throughout the IBA (R. Forsyth pers. comm.). The presence of the bird in the IBA was first reported by Harris (1992). At a later date, Beruldsen (1992) found the birds at the now popular viewing site. Regionally important species which utilise or are likely to utilise the IBA include Grey Falcon, Square-tailed Kite, Black-chinned Honeyeater, Pied Honeyeater and Pictorella Mannikin.

Non-bird biodiversity: The flora and fauna of the IBA is very poorly documented. Regional ecosystem mapping at a scale of 1:100,000 has been completed for the southern half of the IBA, with the remainder expected to be completed by the end of 2006. Significant flora is likely to include the rare tree Brachychiton collinus on rocky hill crests, the shrub Cajanus lanuginosus and forbs Ipomoea antonschmidii and Ptilotus maconochiei which are all listed as Rare under the (Queensland) Nature Conservation Act (1992). The IBA is within the Mount Isa region, a noted area of overlap between more southerly arid zone fauna species such as Varanus giganteus and Moloch horridus and northern tropical species such as Liasis olivaeus. Steep rocky outcrops support populations of Petrogale purpureicollis, listed as Vulnerable under the (Queensland) Nature Conservation Act (1992). Also listed as Vulnerable and likely to be present roosting in isolated caves and mineshafts is Macroderma gigas, a bat whose range includes northwestern Queensland.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Buckley River. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 07/07/2020.