Kangaroo Island, the third largest island off Australia, is 12 km south of the Fleurieu Peninsula, south of Adelaide. The whole of Kangaroo Island and some very small inshore islands are taken as an IBA because the main bird values, the strong populations of Hooded Plovers and Bush Stone-curlews, are partly dependent on the island's isolation from foxes and other mainland threats. The island has poor soils and only about half is cleared for farmland, which is mostly grazed and suitable for stone-curlews, and 46% has tree or shrub cover (Ball & Carruthers 1998), which is mostly suitable for the strong population of Purple-gaped Honeyeaters. Other IBA bird species are scattered across the island in coastal mallee, inland lagoons and along the coast. The island is mainly elevated ironstone plateau with a limestone coastal belt and stunted mallee woodland growing on impoverished soils. The island has a Mediterranean climate, with most of the mean annual rainfall of 500-900 mm falling in the winter. About half of the island has been cleared for grazing, with small areas under other agriculture or residential and tourism development. The island has 28 terrestrial protected areas covering over 116,000 ha (25% of the island) and additional marine protected areas.
The extinct Kangaroo Island Emu was endemic to the island. There is an isolated population of a few hundred Glossy Black-Cockatoos and a number of other species which have become rare on the South Australian mainland (e.g. Osprey, White-bellied Sea-Eagle, Painted Button-quail, Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo, Southern Emu-wren, Beautiful Firetail and Bassian Thrush).
Non-bird biodiversity: The Kangaroo Island Dunnart is endemic. The island supports important populations of Tammar Wallaby, Australian Sea-lion and New Zealand Fur-seal. 45 of the 1179 plant species recorded from the island are endemic.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Feral cats need to be controlled, especially around Fairy Tern colonies and Western Whipbird sites. Human access, especially vehicles, needs to be controlled on Hooded Plover and Fairy Tern beaches. Sub-divisions need to be regulated especially along the coast and in natural bushland. Fire management must consider impacts on threatened birds.