Lake Gregory/Paraku

Country/territory: Australia

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

Area: 198,714 ha

Protection status:

BirdLife Australia
Most recent IBA monitoring assessment
Year of assessment Threat score (pressure) Condition score (state) Action score (response)
2018 medium near favourable low
For more information about IBA monitoring please click here

Site description
The IBA consists of Lake Gregory, part of the Paraku Indigenous Protected Area on the border of the Tanami and the Great Sandy Desert south of Halls Creek in northern Western Australia. The boundary is the same as the proposed Ramsar site, including Mulan Lake (= Lake Gregory), Lera Plain (= Lera Waterhole), Bulbi Plain, Yuinby Plain (= Yeunbi Plain), Guda Plain (= Kurdu Plain), Rilya Plain (= Rillyi Rillyi Plain) and Delivery Camp Plain (= Gillung Plain); also interconnecting channels and lower reaches of Sturt, Sesbania, Goondy Goondy, Salt Pan and Djaluwon Creeks. This maximum extent of flood is about 1300 km2 (in 1993), whereas normal floods cover about 380 km2. Water inflow is from the south-east Kimberley along the Sturt Creek and is dependent on the intensity of the monsoon. Median annual rainfall close to the catchment is 514 mm, with average daily maximum temperatures of 27 Celsius in the middle dry season (July) to 38 Celsius in the early wet season (Nov/Dec). The lake floods most years and ranges from fresh to brackish depending on water level. Numbers of waterbirds depend on the water level and especially the amount of rain elsewhere - the maximum count of 650,000 waterbirds was in 1988 when the monsoon failed across much of northern Australia, and 240,000 in a normal rainfall year in 1986. The estimated waterbird population in 1988, when the lake appeared to act as a drought-refuge, was 650 000 birds. The whole of the IBA is included within the Paraku Indigenous Protected Area (IPA). The surrounding land, in the rest of the Paraku IPA, includes undulating red sand plains, salt pans and occasional dunes with stunted eucalyptus, dotted with acacias and spinifex, floodplains with swathes of short grasses and low shrubs, and alluvial plains and sand rises.

Key biodiversity
During the last 20 years, 73 waterbird species have been recorded at the lake, 21 of them breeding. Regionally significant numbers include Plumed Whistling-Duck (max 20,128 in 2000, 13,150 in 1986 and 7575 in 1991), Black Swan (7887 in 1998 and 5775 in 1986), Australian Wood Duck (7500 in 1998), Great Crested Grebe (842 counted), Australasian Darter (5000 estimated in 1998 and 2857 counted in 1998), Little Pied Cormorant (3379 in 2000), Pied Cormorant (1000 pairs breeding in August 1986 and 3052 in 1998), Australian Pelican (12,627 in 1998), Great Egret (659 in 1998), Nankeen Night-Heron (369), Eurasian Coot (100,000 estimated in 1998, 89,852 counted in 2004 and 74,258 counted in 1986), Marsh Sandpiper (788 in 1989), Black-winged Stilt (1300 in 1995), Masked Lapwing (10,000 estimated in 1988), Red-capped Plover (2200 in 1980, 1000 in 2002, 515 in 1986 and 210 in 1991), Whiskered Tern (2000) and Caspian Tern (1000 pairs breeding in 1983, 500 pairs in 1988 and 889 birds counted in 1991). The lake may be important for the Australian Painted Snipe: one was seen in 1995. Yellow Chats are often recorded.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Lake Gregory/Paraku. Downloaded from on 19/09/2020.