Franklin Sound Islands

Country/territory: Australia

IBA Criteria met: A1, A4i, A4ii (2009)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 1,725 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
This IBA consists of the important islands in Franklin Sound, between Flinders Island, and Cape Barren Island off north-east Tasmania. These include Woody (=Anderson), Tin Kettle and Vansittart, which are important for Cape Barren Goose, and some smaller intervening islands which support large numbers of Short-tailed Shearwater (Little Dog Island, Great Dog Island, Little Green Island, Puncheon Island, Pelican Island), White-faced Storm-Petrel (South-east Great Dog Islet and Spences Reefs) and/or Pacific Gull (Neds, Oyster Rocks, Mid Woody Islet, Briggs Islet, Ram Island). Woody (=Anderson) Island is 166 ha of Crown Land with little value for bird species other than Cape Barren Goose. It is joined at low tide to Little Anderson Island, which is 13 ha of Crown Land. Mid Woody Islet is a 0.7 ha low grass and herb covered island of Crown Land. Tin Kettle is 176 ha of Crown Land with introduced pasture grasses and scrub and which is leased as a farm. Oyster Rocks is a 5 ha rocky Conservation Area. Neds Reef is 3 ha of granite islets on Crown Land. Little Dog is a 83 ha Game Reserve leased for harvesting of shearwater, dominated by ungrazed Poa poiformis grassland. Great Dog is a 354 ha privately owned grazing island with forest remnants amongst grassland. Briggs Islet is a 3.4 ha grassy Conservation Area. Little Green island is a 87 ha Conservation Area with a private lease for farming and shearwater harvesting. Spences Reefs is 0.65 ha of Crown Land. Ram Island is a 1 ha grassy private property. Puncheon Island is a 18 ha private property used for grazing. Pelican Island and Pelican Reef are collectively 7 ha of grassy and rocky Crown Land. Vansittart Island is a 807 ha private and leasehold island used for cattle grazing and has some scrub and forest remnants. Cape Barren Geese use these islands as they have short grassland herbage suitable for grazing, not dense tussocks which cover many other nearby islands. In the non-breeding season, most geese move to agricultural land on Flinders Island where a total of 5000-10,000 geese can be found in the Australian summer. The geese are distributed unpredictably across Flinders Island depending on the distribution of agricultural crops suitable for grazing. Licences to shoot small numbers of birds are issued in January/February to move remove birds from sensitive crops; these fields have not been designated as an IBA. Great Dog is a developing Indigenous Protected Area project.

Key biodiversity
Fairy Terns have been recorded on Long Island and Briggs Island in 1986 (Skira & Brothers 1987; Brothers et al. 2001) and 50 pairs of White-fronted Terns bred unsuccessfully on Briggs Islet in 2002 (Britton and Skira 2004). 50 pairs of White-fronted Tern reported at Briggs Islet in 2002 and 21 pairs in 1986 are regionally significant (although numbers at this location are normally much lower). The IBA also supports large numbers of Little Penguin: Neds Reef (50 pairs), Oyster Rocks (40 pairs), Anderson Island (100 to 150 pairs), Little Anderson Island (30 pairs), Mid Woody Islet (>30 burrows), Tin Kettle Island (100 pairs), Little Dog Island (up to 100 pairs), Briggs Islet (397 pairs), Little Green Island (50 pairs), Spences Reefs (100 pairs), Ram Island (30 pairs), Vansittart Island (160 pairs); and Pied Oystercatcher: Anderson Island (several nests and many feeding on tidal mudflats), Little Anderson Island (one pair), Tin Kettle Island (one nest), Little Dog Island (two pairs and one non-breeding individual), Great Dog Island (six pairs), Little Green Island (recorded), Spences Reefs (one pair), Pelican Island (five individuals), Vansittart Island (seven pairs) (Brothers et al. 2001). Terrestrial species recorded in the island group include the Australian cool/temperate biome-restricted Striated Fieldwren (Atlas of Australian Birds database).

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Franklin Sound Islands. Downloaded from on 13/04/2021.