Montebello Islands

Country/territory: Australia

IBA Criteria met: A1, A4i (2009)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 2,200 ha

Protection status:

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

Site description
The IBA consists of all approximately 180 islands, islets and rocks of the Montebello Islands archipelago, which lies approximately 125 km west-north-west of Dampier off the coast of the Pilbara region of Western Australia. All land bodies in the archipelago are included in the IBA because Sooty Oystercatcher nest throughout the archipelago. The Montebello Islands archipelago experiences a hot and arid climate with an average of about 320 mm of rainfall per year. The islands of the archipelago are composed of limestone and sand. The limestone areas are dominated by Triodia hummock grassland with scattered low shrubs, while the sandy areas support grasses, sedges and low (mainly Acacia) shrubs. Small patches of mangrove grow in sheltered bays of the archipelago with larger areas of mangrove in Stephenson Channel at Hermite Island. Three nuclear weapons were tested at the archipelago in 1952 and 1956, causing extensive damage to islands. The largest islands are Hermit Island (1022 ha) and Trimouille Island (522 ha).

Key biodiversity
Crested Terns breed irregularly and have once exceeded the 1% threshold: 8500-9500 pairs in 1994. Other marine species known to breed in the Montebello Islands are Osprey, White-bellied Sea-Eagle, Pied Oystercatcher, Caspian Tern and Bridled Tern. The islands also support 12-15 breeding pairs of Beach Stone-curlew (Burbidge et al. 2000). The Atlas of Australian Birds records a single count of 30 Australian Yellow White-eye at Trimouille Island in 2000.

Non-bird biodiversity: Populations of Rufous Hare-wallaby and Djoongari have been translocated to the Montebello Islands as part of recovery efforts for these species.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2019) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Montebello Islands. Downloaded from on 14/10/2019.