Gawler Ranges

Year of compilation: 2008

Site description (baseline)
The IBA is identical to Gawler Ranges National Park, which is located approximately 350 km north-west of Adelaide and 300 km west of Port Augusta in South Australia. The climate is mild to hot in summer and cool to cold in winter with low, unreliable rainfall of 200 to 300 mm per annum. The IBA is situated among the volcanic hills and valleys of the southern Gawler Ranges. The hills and ranges to the north of the park support hummock grassland, open shrubland and low open woodland. Associated rises and elevated plains are dominated by chenopod shrublands with areas of low or open woodland. To the south of the park are sand dunes and sand plains clothed in mallee woodland. The park features several ephemeral waterways, a number of semi-permanent waterbodies, and some artificial dams and watering points. Drainage lines are fringed by woodland, with samphire growing in small depressions and on the fringes of salt lakes. The IBA is defined primarily as a protected population of Short-tailed Grasswrens, which also occur in neighbouring private pastoral properties but not adjacent protected areas; two other IBAs have been defined for this species in the Flinders Ranges.

Key biodiversity
The IBA provides habitat for at least 75 species of birds. Of these, 16 are listed as threatened at national, state and/or regional level: Slender-billed Thornbill, Chestnut-rumped Thornbill, Southern Whiteface, Major Mitchell's Cockatoo, White-winged Chough, Southern Scrub-robin, Peregrine Falcon, Malleefowl, Purple-gaped Honeyeater (subspecies occidentalis), Grey-fronted Honeyeater, Variegated Fairy-wren, White-winged Fairy-wren, Splendid Fairy-wren, Restless Flycatcher, Gilbert's Whistler and Grey Currawong. The IBA supports an outlying breeding population of Elegant Parrot (Chapple and Lewis 1991). The Atlas of Australian Birds has a single record of the biome-restricted Black Honeyeater and Pied Honeyeater for the period 1998 to 2008 (Atlas of Australian Birds database).

Non-bird biodiversity: The IBA supports 976 species of plants and 164 species of animals. Of the 976 species of plants, approximately 53 species are considered to be threatened at national, state and/or regional levels. Of the 164 species of animals, at least 20 species are listed as threatened at national, state and/or regional levels (Department for Environment and Heritage 2006, 2008).

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Control or eradicate pest species. Develop and implement agreed fire management practices.

Protected areas
Gawler Ranges National Park is the IBA.

Land ownership
South Australian State government with management the responsibility of the Department for Environment and Heritage.

Graham Carpenter provided information on the grasswrens. Andrew Black and Keith Bellchambers provided comments on the nomination.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Gawler Ranges. Downloaded from on 08/06/2023.