Fog Bay and Finniss River Floodplains

Country/territory: Australia

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

Area: 78,868 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 includes the intertidal areas of Fog Bay, from Point Jenny to Stingray Head, and the whole floodplain system of the Finniss River. The Finniss River floodplain is mostly seasonally inundated paperbark and sedge swamps. The Wagait section has significant numbers of Magpie Geese (Parks & Wildlife 2007). Three waterbird colonies are listed in Chatto (2000a) as refs W019, 20, 22, 24. Fog Bay is dominated by sand/mudflats or reefs, a mangrove or grassy sand dune shoreline and, in places, open saline flats and samphire areas and mangrove-lined channels. Chatto (2000b) suggested that the area of significance for shorebirds extends north past Dundee Downs to a chain of islands (Dum in Mirrie, Beer Eetar and Grose) but the data are inadequate to support IBA nomination of this area.

Key biodiversity
The intertidal mudflats of Fog Bay have supported up to 1700 near threatened Black-tailed Godwit (Chatto 2000b, 2003). Maximum counts at colony W019 in paperbarks on the Finniss River floodplain near Hatter Hill included 1500 egrets, 1400 Little Pied Cormorants, 1400 Little Black Cormorants and 400 Royal Spoonbills in 1995. Maximum counts at colony W020 in paperbarks on the Finniss River floodplain north-east of Mt Johns included 5800 Little Black Cormorants, 2600 Little Pied Cormorants, 1600 Darters, 1200 Great Egrets and 700 Intermediate Egrets in 1999 and 1500 egrets, 1000 Pied Herons and 600 Australian White Ibis in 1995. Maximum counts at colony W022 in paperbarks on the Ord River channel of the Finniss River included 700 Royal Spoonbills in 1995. Maximum counts at colony W024 in mangroves just south of the Finniss River mouth included 1000 Great Egrets (1993), 900 Pied Herons (1999), 600 Intermediate Egrets (1999) and 600 Little Pied Cormorants (1993, 1999). The highest count of mixed waterbirds was 22,000 in July 1996. These wetlands also support 1000s of Magpie Goose, Plumed Whistling-Duck, Wandering Whistling-Duck, Pacific Black Duck, Grey Teal, Pied Heron, egrets, Glossy Ibis, Australian White and Straw-necked Ibis and Brolga. Many of these species are likely to exceed the % thresholds, notably Straw-necked Ibis which occur in 'very large numbers' in the dry season and Pied Heron and Brolga. The Directory of Important Wetlands in Australia recorded at least five regular waterbird breeding rookeries involving more than 20,000 adult birds, and up to 12,000 whistling-ducks. The highest count of waterbirds for the whole Fog Bay and adjacent wetlands was >38,000 in October 1995 (Chatto 2003) including 35,000 shorebirds (Chatto 2000b). Although Chatto (2000b, 2003) does not detail many individual counts, these include an estimated 1800 Greater Sand Plovers in 1998, 905 Terek Sandpipers in 1992 and 615 Grey Plover, 390 Lesser Sand Plover plus 2000 sand plover species in 1998, and 269 Eastern Curlew in 1993.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Fog Bay and Finniss River Floodplains. Downloaded from on 29/05/2020.