Little Desert

Country/territory: Australia

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

Area: 135,593 ha

Protection status:

BirdLife Australia
Most recent IBA monitoring assessment
Year of assessment Threat score (pressure) Condition score (state) Action score (response)
2014 high not assessed not assessed
For more information about IBA monitoring please click here

Site description
The IBA is nearly identical to Little Desert National Park, which is situated 375 km north-west of Melbourne. The IBA also includes a contiguous area of uncleared native vegetation outside of the park, east of the Wimmera River. The park is one of three IBAs in western Victoria (the others being Wyperfeld, Big Desert & Ngarkat, and Murray-Sunset, which lie farther north), which are designed to capture large areas of contiguous and comparatively undisturbed mallee habitat. The park is situated on sandy soils of low natural fertility (named Lowan Sands), which support a range of vegetation associations including heathlands, mallee woodlands and shrublands (including mallee-broombush communities), Yellow Gum communities, Black Box and Desert Stringybark woodlands, and open forest. Little Desert NP experiences a warm, dry climate; at the nearby township of Nhill, mean maximum temperatures range from 13.7 Celsius in July to 29.7 Celsius in January and mean annual rainfall is about 410 mm.

Key biodiversity
At least 229 species of bird have been recorded in Little Desert National Park. This includes small numbers of the following IBA species: Bush Stone-curlew, Flame Robin, Purple-gaped Honeyeater, Painted Honeyeater and Black Honeyeater, which are not believed to occur in significant numbers. It also supports the following subspecies listed as threatened by Garnett and Crowley (2000): Brown Treecreeper (Climacteris picumnus victoriae), Pied Currawong (Strepera graculina ashbyi), Black-chinned Honeyeater (Melithreptus gularis gularis), Slender-billed Thornbill (Acanthiza iredalei hedleyi), Hooded Robin (Melanodryas cucullata cucullate), Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus banksii graptogyne) and Barking Owl (Ninox connivens connivens). The park also supports regionally significant populations of Rufous Fieldwren, Shy Heathwren, Southern Scrub-robin and Gilbert's Whistler. The near threatened Australian Bustard is another regionally significant species, which has occasionally been recorded in the IBA (Little Desert NP lies at the southern limit of the bustard's documented range).

Non-bird biodiversity: More than 280 native fauna species have been recorded in Little Desert National Park. Notable mammals include Silky Mouse, Western Pygmy Possum and Fat-tailed Dunnart. Little Desert NP represents the south-eastern limit of the Western Bluetongue (Tiliqua occipitalis) and Bardick (Echiopsis curda), and supports an isolated population of Delicate Skink (Lampropholis delicata).

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2019) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Little Desert. Downloaded from on 20/05/2019.