Goyder Lagoon

Country/territory: Australia

IBA Criteria met: A1, A2, A3, A4i (2009)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 268,419 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 Goyder Lagoon, which is part of the Diamantina floodplain, and it is situated beside the Birdsville Track in South Australia, close to the border with Queensland. Goyder Lagoon is a large ephemeral swamp or intermittent internal delta on the Diamantina River system; especially large floods in the Georgina-Mulligan River system (such as occurred in 2001) may contribute water to the north-western side of Goyder Lagoon via Eyre Creek. The topography is flat, except for some deeply incised and often disconnected anastomosing channel reaches, which feature high banks and levees (sometimes associated with south-east to north-east trending dunes); most of the lagoon proper is dominated by shallow braided micro-channels. The median annual rainfall is 100-150 mm and average summer maximum temperatures are 36-39 Celsius. The IBA includes the floodplain south to the Warbuton Crossing to capture most of the South Australian population of Grey Grasswren. In times of major flood there are waterbirds over the entire wetland system; the largest aggregations are found near the southern side of the lagoon. There are important colonial waterbird breeding sites known from around Goyder Lagoon waterhole and west of Koonchera waterhole. The IBA could be extended to include adjacent sand-dunes which run into the floodplain and support Eyrean Grasswrens. The floodplain receives some water in most years from the Diamantina River, which is less affected by water retention in upstream lakes and swamps than the other Channel Country river systems. The entire IBA is located within the huge Clifton Hills cattle grazing property. A total of 170,000 waterbirds was estimated from aerial surveys in 2002.

Key biodiversity
Goyder Lagoon is the only site in South Australia at which Yellow Chat are known to occur. High counts of waterbirds include an estimated 7714 Little Black Cormorant in 1999 (Kingsford et al. 2000) and 5480 Gull-billed Tern in 1991 (second-highest count 1310 in 1997; Kingsford & Porter 2006). Australian Painted Snipe was seen in 1981 and 2001 near Koonchera waterhole (J. Reid in litt. 2008; A. Black in litt. 2009) and thought to have bred near Koonchera Waterhole in 2002 (Costelloe et al. 2004). In 2000/01, the southern part of the lagoon supported two mixed species breeding colony of waterbirds, the largest such colonies in the South Australian Channel Country, and a smaller colony of Straw-necked Ibis. Estimated numbers of nests/pairs at the Koonchera colony in 2000/01 included 4000 Straw-necked Ibis, 3000 Little Black Cormorant, 1000 Nankeen Night-Heron, 800 Glossy Ibis and smaller numbers of Little Pied, Pied and Great Cormorants, Great and Intermediate Egrets, Australian White Ibis, Australasian Darter, Australian Pelican and White-necked Heron (J. Reid in litt. 2008). The western part of the lagoon tends to be barer and in 2001 during a major flood (i.e. water flowing in from Eyre Creek) this area held hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of migratory shorebirds, primarily smaller species such as sandpipers, but also including Little Curlew. There is a small population of Yellow Chat near Koonchera Waterhole (Black et al. 1983).

Non-bird biodiversity: The nationally vulnerable Kowari occurs at Goyder Lagoon.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2019) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Goyder Lagoon. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 21/05/2019.